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Pseudologia fantastica is one of several terms applied by psychiatrists to the behaviour of habitual or compulsive lying. It was first described in the medical literature in 1891. The characteristics of pseudologia fantastica are: (1) the stories are not entirely improbable and often have some element of truth; (2) the stories are long lasting; (3) the stories are told for internal psychological reasons rather than external gain, and tend towards presenting the person in a good light (for example, as being fantastically brave, knowing or being related to many famous people); and (4) they are not delusional (that is, upon confrontation, the person can acknowledge them to be untrue). Pseudologia fantastica is part of a spectrum of factious disorders, and may be associated with Munchhausen syndrome, imposture, and peregrination (that is, frequently moving town or even country; presumably to avoid detection of the lies). Pseudologia fantastica does not currently feature in the DSM, but retains an informal usage.
References and Links
King, B. H. and Ford, C. V. (1988). Pseudologia fantastica. Acta Psychiatr. Scand. 77, 1-6.
Hardy, T. J. and Reed, A. (1998). Pseudologia fantastica, factitious disorder and impostership: a deception syndrome. Med. Sci. Law 38, 198-201.
Newmark, N., Adityanjee and Kay, J. (1998). Pseudologia fantastica and factitious disorder: review of the literature and a case report. Compr. Psychiatry. 40, 89-95.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=PubMed&cmd=search&term=pseudologia+fantastica -accessed 18th November 2006.
Korff, K. (2007). CriticalThinkers.org. Pseudologia fantastica. http://www.kalkorff.com/
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