Various studies report that patients with dense amnesia experience difficulties in simulating future events. It is argued that this resembles an inability to remember past episodes in that both indicate a deficit in mental scene construction. Such findings, however, rely upon quantitative content-based analyses of participants' verbal reports. Here, samples of verbal reports produced by participants with hippocampal lesions are subjected to a qualitative, discourse analysis of how participants and researchers negotiated the status of these reports. This shows that failure in mental scene construction can be viewed as an interactional achievement rather than the mere reporting of mental events. A multidisciplinary perspective which combines qualitative analysis with other forms of analytic technique may explain subtle differences between participants with hippocampal lesions and control participants.