Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society


Confabulation in schizophrenia: A neuropsychological study


a1 Clinic University Hospital, Valencia, AVS and CIBERSAM, Spain

a2 Psychiatry Unit, Virgen de la Luz Hospital, Cuenca, Spain

a3 Basic Psychology, Clinic Psychology and Psychobiology Department, Jaume I University, Castellón, Spain

a4 Psychiatry Hospitalization Unit, Jerez de la Frontera Hospital, Cádiz (SAS), Spain

a5 Benito Menni CASM, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona and CIBERSAM, Spain


Confabulation has been documented in schizophrenia, but its neuropsychological correlates appear to be different from those of confabulation in neurological disease states. Forty-five schizophrenic patients and 37 controls were administered a task requiring them to recall fables. They also underwent testing with a range of memory and executive tasks. The patients with schizophrenia produced significantly more confabulations than the controls. After correcting for multiple comparisons, confabulation was not significantly associated with memory impairment, and was associated with impairment on only one of eight executive measures, the Brixton Test. Confabulation scores were also associated with impairment on two semantic memory tests. Confabulation was correlated with intrusion errors in recall, but not false positive errors in a recognition task. The findings suggest that confabulation in schizophrenia is unrelated to the episodic memory impairment seen in the disorder. However, the association with a circumscribed deficit in executive function could be consistent with a defective strategic retrieval account of confabulation similar to that of Moscovitch and co-workers, interacting with defective semantic memory. (JINS, 2010, 16, 1018–1026.)

(Received December 22 2009)

(Reviewed June 04 2010)

(Accepted June 04 2010)