RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Apr 18 2001 - 13:49:13 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics
    Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 13:49:13 +0100
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    There's another reason for this apparent pattern you've not considered- that
    these events were entirely unrelated causally, but only related by the media
    running with a number of conincidental cases, presenting it as part of a
    trend, and over-stating their own involvement in the events.

    You have also to consider the social context in which certain events happen,
    and patterns of acceptable/unaccetable behaviour at any given time- rather
    like the taboos we've discussed. Television crime dramas never use the 'do
    not try this at home' line that some stunt programmes do (there's even a TV
    show here called 'Don't Try This At Home'), yet they are full of murder,
    violence and all sorts of crimes. Yet why don't people routinely copy such
    programmes? Is it because the media don't influence us to the extent some
    think? Or is at least partly to with tacitly acknowledged rules of
    behaviour which the vast majority of people follow- i.e. that crime is
    "bad", and copying it from TV is "bad". That's a product of the social
    system. That has a profound effect on the possibility that a "normal"
    well-adjusted person will witness a suicide, or murder on screen (or even in
    person, for that matter) and they commit that act themselves.


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