Confabulation and the Criminal Justice System: A review for Forensic Professionals

Confabulation and the Criminal Justice System: A review for Forensic Professionals


1.5 Hours | 1.5 CEs (CEUs)

Program Description

This webinar on Confabulation and the Criminal Justice System: A review for Forensic Professionals is presented by Dr. Jerrod Brown.

Confabulation is one of the most problematic memory phenomenon impacting criminal justice, forensic, and legal systems. This phenomenon occurs when an individual creates or backfills a gap in their memory with a fictitious or imagined memory that may be partially based on real events, but taken out of chronological context (e.g., believing the memory occurred yesterday when in reality the memory took place many years prior). Confabulation is done without intent or motivation to deceive or lie. This can range from a slight distortion of an actual event to the nuanced generation of an intricate event.

The causal origins of confabulation are unclear, but the combination of cognitive impairments of several disorders (e.g., fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, schizophrenia, traumatic brain injury, and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome) and a predisposition to suggestion could be integral in eliciting this phenomenon. Confabulation can also occur among individuals with no known history of neurocognitive impairment, resulting from an investigative interview or cross-examination by a legal professional. This can be particularly dangerous in the criminal justice and legal system because information elicited (and possibly confabulated) during police interviews and interrogations may be used to prosecute and convict a defendant. As such, training and education related to the impact confabulation has on criminal justice, forensic, and legal populations is a priority.

The webinar clearly distinguishes confabulation from other potentially related constructs (e.g., suggestibility, delusions, and malingering), review important background information and warning signs for confabulation, and identify strategies and techniques to decrease the likelihood of confabulation during legal processes.

Intended Audience

This webinar is intended for professionals that want to enhance their understanding in threat assessment and risk management, including those working in criminal justice, security, health care, social service, education, and human resources settings. This webinar is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

Upon completion of this webinar, participants should be able to:

  • Describe different types of confabulation (i.e., spontaneous versus provoked) and distinguish these constructs from other important topics (e.g., suggestibility, delusions, and malingering) that can impact the validity of information acquired from suspects, witnesses, and defendants
  • Analyze risk factors and warning signs for confabulation in criminal justice and forensic settings
  • Describe a basic understanding of how to minimize the likelihood of confabulation during legal processes
  • Describe the latest empirical findings and discuss directions for future research on confabulation


About Dr. Jerrod Brown

Jerrod Brown, Ph.D., is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the lead developer of an online Master of Arts degree in Human Services with an emphasis in Forensic Behavioral Health from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota, the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today (FST) and the Journal of Special Populations (JSP). Jerrod has completed four separate master’s degree programs and holds graduate certificates in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Other Health Disabilities (OHD), and Traumatic-Brain Injuries (TBI). Jerrod is certified as a Youth Firesetter Prevention/Intervention Specialist, Thinking for a Change (T4C) Facilitator, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Trainer, and a Problem Gambling Treatment Provider.

Webinar Outline

  • Provide an overview of background information and warning signs for confabulation
  • Discuss the implications of confabulation during police interviews and interrogations
  • Clearly distinguish Confabulation from other potentially related constructs
  • Identify strategies and techniques to decrease the likelihood of confabulation during legal process


“Dr. Brown is extremely knowledgeable in confabulation and its relevance in the criminal justice system.”

“Dr. Brown provided great resources throughout the webinar and additional readings for further research!”

Continuing Education Credit

This Distance Learning Recorded Webinar is a Home Study Training Program. To earn CEs you are required to complete all course materials, quizzes, and the evaluation. No partial credit is available. A score of 70% is required to proceed; you will be able to re-take any quiz on which you score less than 70%. Participants will earn 1 CE hour upon completion of these requirements. Each participant will be able to download and print the CE certificate upon completion of the final evaluation.

Board Approvals: APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC. Click here for state and other regional board approvals.

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