Sunday, July 6, 2008

COPYCAT Tendency - a natural behaviour, but not good

The term 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. The term is used both for the act and for the person.

As per an article in Hindu The natural tendency to emulate what one watches is known as the “copy cat tendency” among adolescents and may have adverse consequences in the form of suicides and addiction. According to Delhi-based psychiatrist Samir Parikh the very act of observing a famous character or an eminent personality, be it in their peer group or a celebrity, and then beginning to put oneself in his shoes is called the copy-cat syndrome that is prevalent among adolescents worldwide.

Dr. Parikh says that indulgence in smoking, bunking classes, thievery and car-speeding are some of the common deeds that are the result of this syndrome. Without realising the consequences, the impressionable children blindly follow their peers, which supposedly gives them a boost.

A copycat (also copy-cat or copy cat) is a person or animal, or computer program that mimics or repeats the behavior of another. The expression may derive from kittens that learned by imitating the behaviors of their mothers. It has been in use since at least 1896, in Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Country of the Pointed Firs". The term is often derogatory, suggesting a lack of originality.

A copycat suicide is defined as a duplication or copycat of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about either from local knowledge or due to 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. Examples of celebrities whose suicides have inspired widespread copycat suicides include the American musician Kurt Cobain and the Japanese musician Hide. Sometimes this is known as a Werther effect, following the Werther novel of Goethe.

The copycat tendency may lead to some disaster because children with this syndrome can try anything they see on their surroundings. They may imitate the super heroes, or the visuals seen in the television. So we have to be very care full with our children to avoid such incidents. Parents can guide them so that they can get rid of this Copycat tendency.

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