The Changing Nature of Delusions

From a new study, the changing 20th century nature of delusions in American psychiatric hospital. Fantastic stuff:

…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.


Cannon BJ, Kramer LM. Delusion content across the 20th century in an American psychiatric hospital. The International journal of social psychiatry. 2011. Available at: [Accessed March 31, 2011].