I only know of confabulation, which is a related but distinct process of bringing together fact with misremembered things.

Is there an accepted name for memories of which, for example, the person cannot tell if they happened in a dream or in reality?

  • Shall we check out cogsciSE?
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 9:15

2 Answers 2


I am unaware of a term for a memory that the rememberer is uncertain is genuine or not. The term false memories is used to represent memories that are not real (as it were). Wikipedia has an informative page on false memory syndrome, a "condition in which a person's identity and relationships are affected by memories which are factually incorrect but are strongly believed." The page also lists other types of memories of uncertain origin including planted memories and indoctrinated memories.

Hyperreality describes "an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality". Using this definition, the OP's uncertain memories could perhaps be called hyperreal memories.

Neuroscientists believe that memories are not stored and tagged as genuine or dream. In fact, it is suggested that memories are not stored discretely as, one might imagine, something akin to files. Instead, they are stored as interconnected chains of separate data with no differentiator for something that occurred in reality against something that was dreamt. In other words, dreams are stored just as experienced realities.


Lucid Dreams is referred to dreams that are so real.

  • 1
    Lucid dreams are those where the dreamer is aware that s/he is in a dream. The OP is looking for a word that represents a memory of uncertain origin (dream or reality). Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 12:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.