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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr;18(2):113-8. doi: 10.3109/10673221003683937.

Crime and hate in virtual worlds: a new playground for the ID?

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  • 1Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, 02113, USA.


Virtual worlds offer the potential for friendship, compassionate listening and support, and even love for 15 million users worldwide. But virtual analogs of crimes such as rape, murder, and pedophilia also exist within these worlds. The writings of Freud and Winnicott provide one model for understanding what may motivate these virtual crimes and how to think about them clinically. Psychiatric treatment can potentially benefit if therapists discuss virtual world use with patients as a way of understanding their inner lives.

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