Computer factory spirit possession occurs in the very sterile computer factory environments in Malaysia. Young women scream and yell while having a mini seizure, after a while they calm down and the factory recommence work. It is a very good example of a Culturally specific syndrome.
When computer factory spirit possession occurs in these factories it gives a break to the other workers who put down their micro-labour tasks and enjoy the break while calming their workmate down. This is not to say that it is not accepted as true spirit possession, it is. It is thought to possibly be a combination of the pressure of working in such an environment, the background of the women working in these conditions and the manifestation of psychological distress expressed physically.
The women are working in a unmonitored trade zone in Malaysia and within recent history (parents or grandparents generation) they would have been farming their areas or raising crops, generally living a more agrarian lifestyle. Due to the exploitative nature of international labour arrangements the women now are forced to work in factories producing computers and computer parts. This work is done on a micro level and it is in generally in a highly sterile environment to prevent damage and dust affecting the equipment they are using and the parts they are building. It is monotonous and ill paid work. The attacks generally start with the person feeling unwell and being shaky or requiring more bathroom breaks. The situation they are in is harsh, with very long hours, hard work, extremely poor pay and rigid rules. Often-armed guards rigidly enforce even bathroom breaks. Eventually (in the case of Computer factory spirit possession) these women start acting in a hysterical manner. It lasts for up to 15 minutes to an hour and sufferers report a lack of memory of what happened, reportedly feeling calm and relieved when it is over. Is it caused by workplace stress? Are they really possessed?
Some anthropologists speculate that Anorexia Nervosa is a culturally specific syndrome as levels of Anorexia are being observed to be increasing in areas that are only recently becoming westernised such as young women in Fiji. It seems to make sense in some ways because Anorexia is endemic to the middle classes.