Because It's Still Cool To Blog

The Psychology of Fabrication

I realize that I’m the type of person who dots their i’s and crosses their t’s ad nauseam, and I thus never fail to stand amazed when I hear about the uncovering of major lies, such as those by Herman Rosenblat, who fabricated part of his Holocaust survival story in a memoir that was endorsed by Oprah, and also inspired a children’s book.

I assume that these grand-scale lies are at least partly attributable to the Hollywood-like desire to create a better, more marketable story, but as a former psychologist, I also wonder whether this fabrication isn’t so surprising in the context of major tragedy and post-traumatic stress. At some level, people often want to (and do, in the regaling…) improve the circumstances around their personal history (who you first slept with, how the engagement really happened, whether you really were the hero in a given scenario, etc.). Perhaps Rosenblat’s fabrication is an example of this on a grander scale, reflective of his fervent desire and need for a prettier, more romantic meeting amidst a period of hell.

I’m not excusing the falsification (maybe it does just boil down to a calculated, fame-grubbing ploy), but I’m sympathetic to the potential psychological underpinnings.

Image credit + story lead: Associated Press via Yahoo News