Tweets, texts, emails, posts. New research says the Internet can make us lonely and depressed—and may even create more extreme forms of mental illness, Tony Dokoupil reports…
The Gold brothers—Joel, a psychiatrist at New York University, and Ian (Gold), a philosopher and psychiatrist at McGill University—are investigating technology’s potential to sever people’s ties with reality, fueling hallucinations, delusions, and genuine psychosis, much as it seemed to do in the case of Jason Russell, the filmmaker behind “Kony 2012.”
The idea is that online life is akin to life in the biggest city, stitched and sutured together by cables and modems, but no less mentally real—and taxing—than New York or Hong Kong.
“The data clearly support the view that someone who lives in a big city is at higher risk of psychosis than someone in a small town,” Ian Gold writes via email. “If the Internet is a kind of imaginary city,” he continues. “It might have some of the same psychological impact.”