DID offers us a rare insight into what's possible. When all your life you saw nothing but hills, the concept of a mountain is hard to wrap your mind around. Imagine your brain being able to shut down your pancreas. Then another part (personality) comes forward and your pancreas is suddenly fine. One minute you're diabetic, the other you're fine. This is an example of a mountain we have a hard time accepting.
Source: my father, a clinical psychologist
Some nice descriptions of BPD are in "Meeting the Challenge, Making a Difference": http://www.emergenceplus.org.uk/news-from-emergence/507-meet...
I agree that DID is either unlikely or fantastically rare.
In the mild or moderate cases a person with unstable sense of self presents as someone who doesn't know what they want in life. In extreme cases, where the patient's view of themselves frequently changes, it would look a lot like DID.
I agree it's not the typical presentation of BPD.
A serial killer who killed prostitutes. He was described as dumb as a box of rocks, but his other personality, who allegedly committed the crimes, was left-handed. It's extremely difficult to fake it, even if you have high IQ. The handwritings experts agreed they are handwritings of "two different persons". There were many other facts I can't remember right now, but even the prosecutor agreed this guy probably has DID. And that's rare...
However, the point of the article is that data is accumulating that shows that DID can manifest in ways we can measure on brain scans. It's not just that this woman says she can't see, the brain scans confirm her visual cortex is not active in some of her personalities.
That is strong evidence that the popular opinion about psychologists, that you mention, may be wrong.
All that said, is there really that much difference between a person who genuinely believes and acts like they have DID and someone who "really" has DID? If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, etc... I suppose the evidence that would really win me over would be someone designing a novel therapy or medication which helps people with DID, but is not effective on people with borderline personality disorder or similar conditions. Because at that point the label actually becomes useful.
In addition, the fact that brain scans confirm the psychological/hysterical blindness actually happens at a neurological level as well, proves this isn't a case of malingering or of a high-level psychological disorder. This is happening at the lowest brain level we are aware of.
Even with that evidence, I suppose one can still ask "but are they 'really' separate personalities"? And I think you're right that if it quacks like a duck and so forth, we might as well call it a duck. Another perspective: if we saw those personalities on different physical people - very distinct, both psychologically and neurologically - we would have no problem accepting them as different people. The only challenge here is that they occur in the same physical person. Perhaps that's not reason enough to dismiss them as separate.
Even if we accept DID as a legitimate condition, that doesn't mean these separate personalities are real entities in their own right. On of the patients personalities is a 13 year old boy, with all the memories of a 13 year old boy. But these memories are completely false: they did not actually occur. People with DID don't have multiple selves, they have no self at all: their personality is shattered and stitched together by a patchwork of delusions and artificial personality traits.
We are saying the same thing. Some of the personalities are neurologically (not just psychologically) blind, some are not. That's a fascinating result, and certainly suggests that the different personalities are distinct not just psychologically but also at a far deeper level.
> People with DID don't have multiple selves, they have no self at all
It's not clear that your description and the article's are not the same, except for a preference for calling the same state "multiple selves" vs "no self." Both descriptions agree that
something "shattered", and both agree that neurologically the split shards/personalities are remarkably distinct, on every level. I don't think there is a disagreement here.
See Somatization disorder and Conversion disorder.
We have tales of yogis and other "adepts" who could supposedly live much longer than the average life span for their times or who could self-cure disease, etc. While I don't take these stories at their miraculous face value, I do wonder if there might not be some kernel of truth in there somewhere -- perhaps certain patterns of thought can and do have an effect on aging, the immune system, etc. We do know that people who are happy or feel socially accepted by friends and loved ones have statistically significant increased odds of surviving deadly cancers and other serious diseases.
For years I've felt like I've casually observed a converse effect-- people who adopt a curmudgeonly "old" point of view in life often seem to have failing health. I have wondered which comes first. Could an "old" (in the negative sense) mentality actually age you?
But I wonder what the aging effect of our obsession with control is. In other words, would playful thoughts motivated by a desire for control still net those results? (if indeed you can even be playful and controlling at the same time)
Based on what I know about psychology, I doubt it. Motivations matter, and letting go and accepting things as they are is one of the most psychologically healthy things we are capable of doing. I doubt if any of those yogis who achieved long life (if indeed they did) did so intentionally for the purpose of achieving a long life. Instead, it was likely a by-product - as so many of the best things are.
>A convent of nuns began to meow like cats and others followed until all would meow together at a certain time for several hours together. This continued until the surrounding village called soldiers to threaten the nuns to stop their singing.
There's little that can be said about this particular case, because so few details are included - other than that it's no surprise that it co-occurred with DID, for discrete mental illnesses rarely exist in the wild. They almost always come in bunches.
Predisposing factors for somataform include alexithymia and childhood trauma (1b) and it often co-occurs with anxiety and/or depression. Alexithymia (a little known condition involving a severe deficit in awareness of emotion and the body, and a focus on the external world) is usually a key factor in the etiology of the disease.
"Individuals with alexithymia tend to demonstrate an impoverished fantasy life and limited imagination, a diminished capacity for empathy, a penchant for impulsive behavior, and a propensity to experience emotions somatically" (2). The deficit in emotional processing is usually (at least originally) the result of a conscious effort to suppress/distract from unpleasant emotions (like this lady's trauma), which then express themselves in the body. Indeed, alexithymia-like symptoms are a common feature in a number of common mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and panic disorder (3), and the more alexithyia-like characteristics these patients have, the worse their somatic symptoms (4).
Treatment of the disease is difficult because despite its psychological etiology, patients usually present well and emphatically deny that their psychology has anything to do with their symptoms (5). Interestingly, emerging findings on it tend to revolve around some of Freud's original ideas (6).
(1b) http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/early/2014/03/07/jnnp-2013-30720... and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022399913...
(3) http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11126-012-9246-y and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810009...
(4) https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Robert_Schoevers/public... and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010440X14...
(6) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744921/ and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4396134/ and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763415...
Put another way, is our personality a part of our identity, or is it merely an extension of us, in the same way an arm or leg is a part of us? If we cut off an arm, we are no less ourselves. If B.T. lost a few personalities, we would agree that B.T. is no less herself. If we lost our own personality, our "ego", would we be no less ourselves? Eastern philosophy says yes. I see the logic, but I'm having trouble accepting it.
Well, that's easy. Your preference for the color blue is the real you. Your preference for big boobs is not you. The preference for big boobs is your gene's preference, not your personality's preference. Your short temper-ness, your aggressiveness, that's your genes, it's NOT the real you. Your liking computers, that's the real you. Your curiosity about computers and wanting-ness of the computer, that's your genes, not you. You wanting to do something great with a computer. That's your genes. The greatness that you created with a computer. That's the embodiment of you. Your preference for fighting people. That's your genes. Your niceness. That's the real you, the real personality of you, the you that is not controlled by the genes.
So you see, it's pretty easy to tell which part of you is controlled by the genes, and which part of you is the real you.
What? What do you mean it's hard to tell the difference? What do you mean you need me to explain it more? LOL.
It was a plot point in one of the "Band Of Brothers" episodes.
I wonder if there were earlier reports of this kind of thing?
"At first, B.T.’s renewed sight was restricted to recognizing whole words in that one identity. If asked, she couldn’t even see the individual letters that made up the words, just the words themselves. But it gradually expanded, first to higher-order visual processes (like reading), then to lower-level ones (like recognizing patterns) until most of her personalities were able to see most of the time."
It takes some training and there are somebooks that exploit this to make you a fast reader.
What's interesting to me is that this high-level processing can make it into conscious awareness before the lower-level features involved (not letters, but at least shapes and colors - which came after reading in this case).
The mind is really an amazing thing and this combination could bring to light discoveries about how both vision and various mental disorders affect the brain.
'Murder by telephone', only then without a device, just a text.
If you hear your voice, AND other voices that do NOT belong to you, in your head, BUT, they can NOT control your body, then it's called Schizophrenia.
And if you hear your voice, and hear other voices that do NOT belong to you, and these voices can sometimes take control your body from you, then it's called Multiple Personalities Disorder.
This begs the question. Doctors keep saying the voices that Schizophrenia hear are not real. Yet, they themselves know that the voices they hear are real. As real as their own voice in their head. As real as the voice you and I hear in our head. The only thing is, the voices they hear, they know does not belong to them.
In other word, Schizo has some kind of brain defects where instead of the brain creating only a single voice, a single entity, the brain creates multiple voices. So those voices Schizo hear are not hallucinations, but rather, real voices like your voice in your head right now. Only problem is, those voices has no control over the body, unlike your voice.
However, if a defect happen, where the voices can temporary take over the body, then maybe that's what Multiple Personality Disorder is.
This also make sense why she becomes blind. She takes control of her body, but they take control of her vision.
I have no doubts at all that one can be truly blind for a variety of non-physical or partially physical reasons, I do not doubt that this woman experienced blindness. But this personality/identity stuff is very questionable indeed.
I don't know anything about the reliability of PsyCh Journal so it's hard to know if we can take this at face value or not.
(At least, I think. Maybe this isn't the updated one?)
Then I was very sceptical.
It's still trying out different paths, hence the different personalities. A new vision-related path is in the works, but not ready for production right now.
His ears can hear his lips speak
All the time the needles flick and rock.
No machine can give the kind of stimulation,
Needed to remove his inner block.
Suppose you're attempting to build up a mental(/scientific) model of how the human brain works. You're trying to come up with a set of abstractions and rules for how those abstractions interact, with which you can intuit, without performing a full simulation, the answers to experimental questions. That is, your model should produce concrete predictions: if I prod the brain at A, B will happen; invisible effect C is correlated with visible effect D; nebulous phenomena E and F are well-defined instances of type G. A good model is more like a type system than a simulation; it gives you names and concepts that match (with some loss of fidelity) those used by reality. It lets you write valid programs (explanations) that match programs (physics) that are being executed by reality.
The report that a person had multiple personalities and some of them were blind, leads to the logical 'program':
(this person has a brain structure that was so bizarre it isn't related to the rest of the species' brains) [assume this is false]
(it is possible for humans to contain multiple personalities which are not equally able to interact with sensory organs)
(it is possible for human brains to contain multiple personalities)
(sensory organs are wired into personalities)
(personalities can lose their wiring to sensory organs without physical damage to the organs)
That is, a single report cuts out a huge swathe of model-space. With a single example we are obliged to include in EVERY model concepts of personalities (or something, er, homomorphic to them), and a concept of a wiring to the sensory organs, and the ability to express that this wiring can become broken.
A perfect model must explain every example (or leave a place for as-yet-undiscovered mechanisms to explain them). New examples put new burdens on every existing explanation. They cut model-space down by, presumably, percentage chunks ("excise the subspace of model-space that doesn't model personalities and wiring personalities to sensory organs"). If you imagine that there are something like 2^N possible models at a given granularity, then, the cuts are approximately reducing us to 2^(N-1) each time. Our models with N degrees of freedom that has to explain E experiments has more like N-E degrees of freedom (disregarded 'covariance' between experimental results). What this means is that a random model is overwhelmingly likely to be wrong with each successive experiment. (In practice our models have large dark spots where we leave many degrees of freedom open - but even still, it's likely that any explicit modeling choice we make ends up being incorrect, and quickly.)
(This math is pretty made-up. We could do better with something akin to Kolgomorov complexity rather than degrees of freedom, since type systems should be discounted by how complex they are so that systems more complex than reality actually is end up contributing nothing to the total.)
Summary: I enjoy stories about weird neuroscience because they defy my mental model of "how brains work" almost every time, even if I keep revising it.
> One explanation, that B.T. was “malingering,” or lying about her disability, was disproved by an EEG test. When B.T. was in her two blind states, her brain showed none of the electrical responses to visual stimuli that sighted people would display — even though B.T.’s eyes were open and she was looking right at them.