21st century is age of paranoia, says scientists
Feeling a bit on edge this morning? You’re not the only one apparently, after British scientists claim the 21st century is the ‘age of paranoia’.
A growing combination of factors including the rise in numbers living in cities, the physical environment in which we live, the growing divide between the rich and poor and the rise and reporting of crime and terrorism are all attributed to the growing phenomena.
Clinical psychologist, Dr Daniel Freeman, stated: ‘We seem to have entered an age of paranoia. And the indications are that things may only get worse. These days, we daren’t let our children play outside. We’re suspicious of strangers. Security cameras are everywhere.’
Freeman has been researching paranoia for ten years and revealed that one in four people in the UK regularly experience paranoid thoughts.
According to his research, paranoia levels are twice as high in cities as they are in rural areas and for the first time ever the world’s urban population outnumbers the rural.
Freeman explains that social bonds are not so easily formed in cities, which can increase our paranoia. Meanwhile, in the countryside communities are ready-made and therefore trust between populations is greater.
‘Social isolation, a frequent drawback to urban life, is closely associated with paranoid thoughts. In the UK nearly four times as many people live alone than 50 years ago. Increasing paranoia is certainly one more challenge posed by galloping urbanisation,’ said Freeman.
The research also revealed that media coverage of crime stories is far higher that ‘real killers’ like cancer and heart disease, which also exacerbates a culture of paranoia.