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.
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.