Delusion and confabulation: Mistakes of perceiving, remembering and believing

Robyn Langdon*, Tim Bayne

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper adopts an inclusive approach to the relationship between delusion and confabulation, according to which some symptoms might qualify as both delusional and confabulatory. Our initial focus is on the cardinal signs of delusions: incomprehensibility, incorrigibility, and subjective conviction. Setting aside post hoc (or secondary) confabulations-plausible rationalisations that might be generated by nonpathological belief formation processes-we focus on spontaneous memory-based confabulations which, we suggest, conform to the characterisation of delusions. After considering current accounts of the role of experience in delusion formation, we propose that spontaneous confabulations are located at (or towards) the received end of a received-reflective spectrum of delusions: the spontaneous confabulator simply receives and endorses as genuine the content of an apparent-yet implausible-memory experience. Underlying both spontaneous confabulations and other received delusions, we propose, is an inability to inhibit the prepotent tendency to upload and maintain experiential content (mnemonic or perceptual) into belief.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319-345
    Number of pages27
    JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    Dive into the research topics of 'Delusion and confabulation: Mistakes of perceiving, remembering and believing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this