Ian Gold


Ian Gold is Associate Professor of Philosophy & Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. His research focuses on the study of delusions, social neuroscience, and on reductionism in psychiatry and neuroscience. He is the author of research articles in the journals as Behavioral and Brain Sciences; Mind and Language; Consciousness and Cognition;

The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry; World Psychiatry; Transcultural Psychiatry; Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, and Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. His first book, Suspicious Minds (Free Press), co-written with his brother Joel Gold on the theory of delusions, appeared in 2014.

Suspicious Minds

How Culture Shapes Madness

What if you woke up with the alarming suspicion that you were being watched?

One day in 2003, a patient unlike any other that Dr. Joel Gold had seen before was admitted to his unit at Bellevue Hospital. This man claimed he was being filmed constantly and that his life was being broadcast around the world like The Truman Show—the 1998 film depicting a man who is unknowingly living out his life as the star of a popular soap opera. Over the next few years, Dr. Gold saw a number of patients suffering from what he and his brother, Dr. Ian Gold, began calling the "Truman Show delusion," launching them on a quest to understand the nature of this particular phenomenon, of delusions more generally, and of madness itself.

The current view of delusions is that they are the result of biology gone awry, of neurons in the brain misfiring. In contrast, the Golds argue that delusions are the result of the interaction between the brain and the social world. By exploring the major categories of delusion through fascinating case studies and marshaling the latest research in schizophrenia, the brothers reveal the role of culture and the social world in the development of psychosis—delusions in particular. Suspicious Minds presents a groundbreaking new vision of just how dramatically our surroundings can influence our brains.




The New Yorker

Inside the "Truman Show" Delusion

By Nate Lavey | Sept 9, 2013

Just as Times Square is a diversion for some people and a stressful place for others, the cyclopic camera above a laptop's screen might, for a certain type of person, become a source of corrosive unease.

New York Magazine

Psychiatry in the Age of Justifiable Paranoia

By Melissa Dahl | July 7, 2014

What happens when already-paranoid people live in an age in which their fears of being watched are at least somewhat justified?

The Daily Beast

You, Too, Could Be a Homicidal Zealot

By Joel Gold | July 7, 2014

How does it happen that a society or a culture suddenly decides that violence on the level doled out by ISIS is OK? What does it take to turn that corner? How and when can the human mind sanction torture and murder?

Simon & Schuster

The Real Life Truman Show

June 17, 2014

Combining extraordinary true stories with the latest research, Joel and Ian Gold take us on a wild journey through the delusional brain to explore the intersection of neuroscience, biology, and culture.