Commentary: Paranoid? Let's blame the media

This editorial appeared in The Tri-City Herald.

Well, here's another one we can probably blame on the media.

It turns out, according to British researchers at King's College in London, that 40 percent of us are likely to have exaggerated thoughts about perfect strangers or others being "out to get us" at one time or another.

And those strangers are, it turns out, perfect.

Using virtual reality headsets, the King's College researchers led participants through computer-generated London subway setting, filled with imitation people programmed to be neutral.

The study's participants then reacted to these neutral avatars as they looked around the subway car.

Turns out 4 in 10 thought they saw something sinister in their fellow passengers.

"People walk around with odd thoughts all the time," David Penn, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, told The Associated Press.

"The question is if that translates into real behavior."

King's College says the study found that:

* More than 40 percent of people regularly worry that negative comments are being made about them.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Tri-City Herald.