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Confabulation and improv

Our brains love to make connections, tell stories, etc. We all do it. Especially when sleeping, but also when awake. Here’s an interesting article about how creativity comes from this ability to confabulate:

While it only affects a tiny minority of those with brain damage, confabulation tells us something important: that spontaneous, fluid, even riotous creativity is a natural part of the design of the mind. The damage associated with confabulation—usually to the frontal lobes—adds nothing to the brain’s makeup. Instead it releases a capacity for fiction that lies dormant inside all of us. Anyone who has seen children at play knows that the desire to make up stories is deeply embedded in human nature.

via Tall Stories « idiolect.

The whole article is interesting. I’m particularly interested in how our ability to make connections between wildly different things, and our ability to filter those connections so that they have an element of justifiability, might mean that even the sanest of us, and the most rational, are really just the best story-tellers.

Confabulation is how we solve problems. We have a problem, and we let our brains explore potential scenarios until one of them passes all of our self-critiquing filters and presents itself as the best potential answer.

Confabulation is how we understand ourselves and the world. Without it, we’d have nothing but a pool of unconnected thoughts. No beliefs about how things should be, no visions of the future, no understanding of how each of our personalities and beings remain consistent from moment to moment.

We’re all making things up all the time.

Make it up and make it happen.

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