In the age of instant Internet fame, everyone can entertain dreams of becoming a celebrity — but some people think they’re actually trapped inside a reality show and can’t escape. A stunning new report details the stories of five patients who display signs of what a pair of scientists have dubbed the “The Truman Show delusion.”
In the study, which appeared in the journal Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Joel and Ian Gold shed more light on this bizarre 21st-century phenomenon. The mental illness takes its name from the 1998 film starring Jim Carrey in which his character reaches the painful realization that his entire life has been staged for television.
Joel Gold first became aware of “The Truman Show delusion” when he was working at Bellevue hospital in the early 2000s and saw a series of patients who believed their lives were staged for some kind of show. Many of them even mentioned “The Truman Show” by name. He and his brother Ian, a professor of philosophy and psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal, coined the term for the condition in 2008…
“The Truman Show delusion” is a new twist on old disorders, modified for an age of YouTube, live streaming and reality entertainment.