Copycat

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Copycat refers to the tendency of humans to duplicate the behavior of others, as expressed in the saying, "monkey see, monkey do." This notably happens in the case of suicide and murder.

Copycat suicides are defined as those duplications of suicides due to repeated accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media. The well-publicized suicide serves as a model, in the absence of protective factors, to the next suicide. They occasionally spread, like wildfire, through a school system, through a community, or in terms of a celebrity suicide wave, nationally.

In the book, Suicide Clusters (Boston/London: Faber and Faber, 1987), by Loren Coleman, many specific examples of copycat suicides are given.


See also Meme