TSchizophrenia wainhe Economist had an article in its September 28, 2006 issue that featured a California psychiatry professor who used the Internet to demonstrate the inner experience of schizophrenia:

“Peter Yellowlees, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Davis, has been teaching about schizophrenia for 20 years, but says that he was never really able to explain to his students just how their patients suffer. So he went online, downloaded some free software and entered Second Life

Mr. Yellowlees created hallucinations. A resident might walk through a virtual hospital ward, and a picture on the wall would suddenly flash the word “shitface”. The floor might fall away, leaving the person to walk on stepping stones above the clouds. An in-world television set would change from showing an actual speech by Bob Hawke, Australia’s former prime minister, into Mr Hawke shouting, “Go and kill yourself, you wretch!” A reflection in a mirror might have bleeding eyes and die.”

Experiences like this one can help quash preconceptions of schizophrenia as due to “split personality,” and assist in creating a sense of empathy for the daily dilemmas faced by many people with schizophrenia.


For insights into the strengths of individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, see my book The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain (published in hardcover as Neurodiversity).

This article was brought to you by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. and www.institute4learning.com.

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2 Responses
  1. Meshelle Lesner

    I am gradute student in counseling, and I am preparing a presenation for my peers on schizophrenia. Would you be willing to let me us your Second Life demonstration of schizophrenia? The class presentation is scheduled for April 1st 2013.

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