The Truman Show

The Truman Show The Truman Show Delusion

In 2008, brothers Joel (a psychiatrist) and Ian Gold (a neurophilosopher) came up with the term "The Truman Show Delusion" to describe a specific delusion of grandeur in patients who believe that their entire lives are being filmed for a reality show. This is not a specific diagnosis as yet, but there have been nearly 40 reported cases of individuals suffering from this particular type of delusion.

In his article about The Truman Show Delusion in The New Yorker, Andrew Marantz describes the specific case of a college student who would spend late hours on the internet, believing that everything he read contained a coded message about his life. He would search every place he went for hidden cameras - behind thermostats, in the ceiling, even within a massive crowd at a rock concert. He felt like he could not trust anyone, but described his troubles as "hazards of being famous."

"The Truman Show Delusion" is most apparent in young people, who are the main consumers of reality television and frequent contributors to social media sites where they share every iota of their lives. "The human brain has evolved to a vigilant threat-detection system. If that system becomes oversensitive, however, the result is paranoia. A delusion of grandeur might represent a paranoid person's attempt to feel less vulnerable," Marantz writes. In a world where individuals can become rich and famous for doing nothing more than participating in a reality show (i.e. Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Kim Kardashian, and any participants in "The Bachelor," "The Bachelorette," or "Big Brother), it makes sense that a delusion of grandeur might take this form.