Thursday, March 26, 2009

Multiple personalities: fun facts claims that people with multiple personalities (disorder) (MPD) "may be aware of each other to some degree though only one will be in control at a given time" and that "transitions are typically sudden and precipitated by stress." The number of multiple personalities for any given "person" may vary from 10 to 100!!! As you might have expected, people with MPD exhibit behavioral and even physical characteristics of the respective personalities (changes in voice register, altered facial expressions, etc.)

For more on this you may want to read Richard M. Gottlieb's paper "Does the Mind Fall Apart in Multiple Personality Disorder? Some Proposals Based On a Psychoanalytic Case" and an earlier review of the phenomenology of some 100 cases of multiple personality disorder. For a literary take on the MPD phenomenon you may find this piece by Deacon Morgan on Toni Morrison's novel Paradise quite interesting. Hey, you can now even find meet-up groups with people with MPD happening at a place near you.


  1. In the article "Does the Mind Fall Apart in Multiple Personality Disorder?" it states "data of the case under study suggest, further, that certain of the details of these patients' histories of childhood sexual and physical abuse may be of great importance in explaining the extraordinary organizing power of their fantasies of being occupied and controlled"(Article "Does the Mind Fall Apart in Multiple Personality Disorder?"). This is similar to an example of when someone is suffering to the extreme that they fall unconscious. There seems to be an intent with the human body struggling to survive. Even when the person is unconscious there is an intentional aspect. This leading to the case that "Nonconscious intentional mental states [are] as suitably causally integrated"(BCC 479). The person suffers from this emotional mental state and falls unconscious to try and relieve the suffering that might lead to other health problems. The same is with MPD it is like the person is "unconscious" or not aware of who they really are to try and relieve his or her suffering.

  2. In response to Nicole's comment, it seems as though MPD could be an almost side-effect or 'safety-mechanism' the brain uses in attempt to repress certain memories. As the article "Does the Mind Fall Apart in Multiple Personality Disorder?" it seems as thought the mind does not fall apart but rather covers up any hurtful memories. In the article it discussed that MPD is sometimes used as a mechanistic response often when a person has experienced childhood abuse. Therefore the mind may not fall apart but rather cover up these memories. Is it possible for MPD to still reveal these repressed memories through these multiple personalities?

  3. I have not read Toni Morrison's "Paradise," though I now have every intention of doing so in the near future. It sounds like such an interesting novel. At one part during the review, it states that: "The Morgan twins, Deacon and Steward, epitomize unified authority; they share one memory, one purpose, and one belief until the murders that July day divide them." I think that it's so insane that one single traumatic event can trigger such a split. I feel as though the aforementioned statement suggests that Deacon, all along, had possessed the qualities of Stewart, yet they were repressed for whatever reason. Following the war and discovery of Haven forced the qualities out of Deacon, in the form of his 'twin' brother. That is absolutely fascinating. Unlike Meghan, I do not believe that MPD manifests itself in order to repress certain memories. I believe that MPD is a coping mechanism for people who are otherwise emotionally ill equipped to handle certain situations, or even just life, really. The fact that certain memories become repressed is merely a side effect of juggling two or more personalities.


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