Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fregoli Delusion: A possible reason why some believe in Crisis Actors?

Recently I read this VICE article about a person by the name of Ed Chiarini (whether that is his real name or not is unknown, but it doesn't really matter) whom is a conspiracy theorist whom believes that everyone you see in the media is actually an actor (even famous actors).

His latest target: Senator John McCain, whom he believes is actually Henry Winkler (and no, I'm not kidding, he really does believe that the Maverick is actually the Fonz).

And apparently he also believes that Eugene Levy is the acting president of Egypt.

When I first read this article I honestly believed that this person was a poe due to the sheer fact that the conspiracy theories he was creating and promoting were so ridicules that it bordered on satire...

Sadly, it wasn't satire. He really does believe what he is saying. I figured that out when I saw his posts about the Sandy Hook massacre and that everyone seen in photos and videos being "crisis actors". Even a well constructed poe would not cross that line.

After seeing that this person clearly believed what he was saying it became very clear that this person most likely has major mental health issues.

Many people who were commenting on the article were saying that he probably has schizophrenia, which is very probable he does have, but I was told by a fellow skeptic that he may have a rare mental disorder called Fregoli delusion.

Fregoli delusion, also known as the "delusion of doubles", is a mental disorder that is sometimes the result of a brain injury and can leave a person to believe that two or more people are actually one person.

Besides believing that two different people are in fact the same person, other behaviors that can go along with Fregoli delusion includes the following:

  • Impaired self monitoring, mental flexibility, and social reasoning, including passive acceptance of inaccurate conclusions.
  • A tendency to select salient associations rather than a relevant one.
  • Mnemonic association of routine thoughts.
  • Unable to come up with an alternative hypothesis.

Sound familiar?

To me it reads just like the type of behavior a conspiracy theorist who thinks that crisis actors are real and that two different people are one in the same often times displays. Because of this people like Ed might not be able to control their behavior (at least not without some serious mental health intervention) and can lead them promoting some pretty disturbing and disgusting conspiracy theories and not even be aware of the harm they are causing.

While Fregoli delusion is considered a delusional disorder, it is not considered to be a type of schizophrenia, but is in fact a type of Delusional Misidentification Syndrome, which is an umbrella term that encompasses delusional disorders in which a person believes that the identity of a person, place, or thing has been altered.

I don't know if Ed, or anyone for that matter who believes that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked and that what you saw was crisis actors are mentally ill (although it seems very unlikely that they are not) or that if they are that they have Fregoli delusion (they could have something else entirely, or have a different type of mental disorder and Fregoli delusion as well), but Fregoli delusion does seem a likely cause because not only can it cause a person to believe that two different people is the same person, it also causes people to be paranoid and believe that they are being persecuted. Combined this along with impaired self-monitoring and social reasoning as a result of a brain injury that can cause Fregoli delusion, you might get someone who is unable to control their actions, especially over a medium such as the internet, but also unable to understand that their actions are harmful to others and possibly even themselves, thus you have a situation like what happened after the Sandy Hook massacre where some conspiracy theorists were harassing family members of the slain children and some of the heros of that day, accusing them of being crisis actors and even going so far as to threatening them.

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