Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics

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                      Is Suicide Contagious?
                   A Case Study in Applied

                         Paul Marsden
                    Visiting Research Fellow
            Graduate Research Centre in the Social Sciences
                     University of Sussex

       1 - Introduction
       2 - Memetics and Social Contagion: Two Sides of the Same
       3 - Suicide Contagion - Infected by a Suicide Meme
       4 - Priming your Mind with Suicide
       5 - Testing the Model - Is Suicide Contagious?
          5.1 - Research Objectives
          5.2 - Materials and Method
          5.3 - Participants and Recruitment
          5.4 - Results
          5.5 - Discussion
       6 - But is this Memetics?
       7 - Conclusion


       The phenomenon of suicide contagion is demonstrated
       experimentally. An interpretation of the results is proposed
       using an understanding of memetics as contagion psychology
       informed by selectionist thinking. Using the term `meme' to
       denote an object of contagion and `contagion' to denote a
       process of spread by exposure, a selectionist explanation of
       why certain people might be susceptible to a contagion of
       suicide is provided. Specifically, it is suggested that people
       who have become socially isolated and culturally
       disenfranchised, i.e. those with reduced residual cultural
       fitness (compromised access to the means of cultural
       reproduction), might be at particular risk from suicide
       contagion. Finally, public health policy implications of this
       memetic understanding of suicide are briefly outlined.

    Available at:


    --J. R.

    Useless hypotheses:
     consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
    analog computing, cultural relativism

         Everything that can happen has already happened, not just once,
         but an infinite number of times, and will continue to do so forever.
         (Everything that can happen = more than anyone can imagine.)

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