Would you imagine the content of people’s delusions would change with the changing times?

Well, according to Vaughan Bell writing over at Mind Hacks, they do. Research that analyzed the content of people’s delusions over the past few decades found that people’s delusions do indeed change.

They recorded the content of the delusions for every patient with psychosis and while they didn’t find that the level of delusions changed, they did find that they tended to relate to the social concerns of the time.

…more patients after 1950 believe they are being spied upon is consistent with the development of related technology and the advent of the Cold War.

Delusional content tended to reflect the culture at the time, with focus on syphilis in the early 1900s, on Germans during World War II, on Communists during the Cold War, and on technology in recent years.

Indeed, delusions now are being reported relating to computers, the internet and computer games.

People with delusions usually have either schizophrenia or a psychotic disorder. Such disorders are not very common, so it’s unlikely you know someone who suffers from one of these.

This is a reminder that mental disorders are very much social constructs, rooted in our changing society.

Read the full article at Mind Hacks: Psychosis keeps up with the times