Browse Definitions:

data confabulation

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Data confabulation is a business intelligence term for the selective and possibly misleading use of data to support a decision that has already been made.

Within the volumes of big data there are often a lot of small bits of evidence that are contradictory to even clearly data-supported facts. Generally, this data noise can be seen as such and, in the context of the body of data, it is clearly outweighed. When data is selectively chosen from vast sources, however, a picture can often be created to support a desired view, decision or argument that would not be supported by a more rigorously controlled method.

Data confabulation can be used both intentionally and unintentionally to promote the user’s viewpoint. When a decision is made before data is examined, there is a danger of falling prey to confirmation bias even when people are trying to be honest. The term confabulation comes from the field of psychology, where it refers to the tendency of humans to selectively remember, misinterpret or create memories to support a decision, belief or sentiment.

This was last updated in April 2015

Continue Reading About data confabulation

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.


File Extensions and File Formats


  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...


  • federated identity management (FIM)

    Federated identity management (FIM) is an arrangement that can be made among multiple enterprises to let subscribers use the same...

  • cross-site scripting (XSS)

    Cross-site scripting (XSS) is a type of injection security attack in which an attacker injects data, such as a malicious script, ...

  • firewall

    In computing, a firewall is software or firmware that enforces a set of rules about what data packets will be allowed to enter or...



  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...


  • volume manager

    A volume manager is software within an operating system (OS) that controls capacity allocation for storage arrays.

  • external storage device

    An external storage device, also referred to as auxiliary storage and secondary storage, is a device that contains all the ...

  • NetApp SolidFire

    NetApp SolidFire is a business division of NetApp Inc. that specializes in all-flash storage systems.


  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.