Thursday, August 21, 2008

Confabulation 14/8/2008

Recently read a quiz question in the Herald Sun Newspaper asking, “Colloquially, for which word is ‘confab’ an abbreviation?” Well although I thought I knew the common meaning of confab, I had never even suspected that it was a shortened form of another word. Thus had no clue what the answer was or what it meant in its more technically form.

So being intrigued I checked it out on an on line dictionary and learnt that confabulation was Word of the Day on April 20, 2000, according to “ Word of the Day”.

I also discovered that my common understanding was in fact correct and it does mean or refer to “an informal conversation”. However I was also intrigued to find that it has another more technical meaning in psychiatry. That of, as “a plausible but imagined memory that fills in gaps in what is remembered.” it also explained my recent “remembrance” of an incident that the rest of the family remember differently to me. (I told that story in “Architects & “Hey Dad!” So I won’t repeat it here.) So in that story, I was not only telling an apocryphal* yarn, but also a confabulation. A case where my memory was not as good as I thought it was and so it involuntarily filled in the missing gap with a plausible but not true recollection.

The worrying thing now is to wonder how many of my other recollections of the past are in fact true recollections and how many are confabulations? What about you? How true, really are your memories? Or do you to have a few confabulations in there, like me? Again I have no answers, just curious.

*Apocryphal means either = Counterfeit, disputed, doubtful, dubious, fabricated, false, fictitious, sham, unauthentic, unreal, untrue.

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