Meaning of COPYCAT EFFECT:
Also known as the contagion or imitation effect, this is the supposed power of the mass media to create a rash of imitative behaviour. If a popular TV soap shows someone committing suicide by piping exhaust fumes into her car, then suicides by that method go up in the weeks afterwards. Outside the artificial setting of an experiment, such effects are notoriously hard to prove. A practical difficulty is that much of the evidence comes from people who, in being forced to account for some deviant or criminal act, blame it on prior example. We are then unsure if we have a genuine example of imitation or someone opportunistically trying to evade responsibility.