Effectiveness of a neuropsychological treatment for confabulations after brain injury: A clinical trial with theoretical implications
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AutorTriviño-Mosquera, Mónica; Ródenas, Estrella; Lupiáñez Castillo, Juan; Arnedo-Montoro, María Luisa
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
MemoryNeuropsychologyNeuropsychological testingMagnetic resonance imagingIschemic strokeRecall (memory)Computed axial tomographyLearning
Triviño-Mosquera, M.; et al. Effectiveness of a neuropsychological treatment for confabulations after brain injury: A clinical trial with theoretical implications. Plos One, 12(3): e0173166 (2017). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/46568]
PatrocinadorThis research was carried out in San Rafael University Hospital in Granada, Spain, and was supported by the research grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Education to Juan Lupiáñez (PSI2011-22416 and PSI2014-52764-P) and to María Jesús Funes (PSI2012-34158), the research grant from the Regional Government of Andalusia to María Jesús Funes (SEJ-6351), and the research grant from the Progress and Health Foundation of the Regional Government of Andalusia to Mónica Triviño (PI-0361-2014).
Confabulators consistently generate false memories without intention to deceive and with great feelings of rightness. However, to our knowledge, there is currently no known effective treatment for them. In order to fill this gap, our aim was to design a neuropsychological treatment based on current theoretical models and test it experimentally in 20 confabulators sequentially allocated to two groups: an experimental and a control group. The experimental group received nine sessions of treatment for three weeks (three sessions per week). The sessions consisted of some brief material that participants had to learn and recall at both immediate and delayed time points. After this, patients were given feedback about their performance (errors and correct responses). Pre- and post-treatment measurements were recorded. Confabulators in the control group were included in a waiting list for three weeks, performed the pre- and post- measurements without treatment, and only then received the treatment, after which a post-treatment measurement was recorded. This applied to only half of the participants; the other half quit the study prematurely. Results showed a significant decrease in confabulations and a significant increase in correct responses in the experimental group; by contrast, patients in the control group did not improve during the waiting list period. Only control group patients who subsequently received the treatment after serving as controls improved. The effects of the treatment were generalized to patients’ everyday lives, as reported by relatives, and persisted over time. This treatment seems to be effective and easy to implement and consequently of clinical interest. Moreover, it also has theoretical implications regarding the processes related to the genesis and/or maintenance of confabulations. In particular, results point to a deficit in early stages of memory retrieval with the preservation of later strategic monitoring processes. Specifically, some of the processes involved may include selective attention or early conflict detection deficits. Future research should test these hypotheses.