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Can You Have More Than One Personality?

August 26, 2019


Hey there and welcome to Life Noggin. The human brain is an incredibly complex organ,
it makes you who you are! But sometimes, according to psychologists,
your brain can take that sense of self — your personality — into pieces — making you seem
like you’re more than one person. This is called Dissociative Identity Disorder,
it used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder, but not anymore. Two out of every 100 people experience a feeling
of having more than one personality, at least once in their lives; usually it’s not serious. Very few people show up into at psychologist’s
offices because multiple personalities (called alters) are causing problems. To get this disorder you’d have to have “two
or more” identities that can take control of your behavior, and they have to have different
memories and feelings of self. There are only a few people who’ve actually
been documented with this psychological condition, but you’ve probably heard of it thanks to
movies and television! In the movies, character’s multiple personalities
can talk to each other, but in real life, only the single personality can talk. Think of D.I.D. as multiple people trying
to share a single phone. Only one can talk at a time, and when one
has the phone, the others can’t hear anything. This is why psychologists often find people
with D.I.D. have gaps in their memory, when the alters are in charge of the body, they
don’t remember anything! No one really knows exactly why someone’s
personality would fragment like this. But it’s a hot debate in the mental health
field! The manual for psychologists, called the DSM,
says it could be caused by trauma during childhood, but some psychiatrists think D.I.D. doesn’t
exist at all. Instead, they think it’s a product of the
stories we read and see. In the 1950s, a best-selling book had a character
with multiple personalities, and psychologists saw many patients believing they had them
too. It happens again and again, with the last
personality fad popping up in the 1990s as Hollywood released dozens of movies with dissociative
identities in them. On the other hand, studies have scanned the
brains of patients, and measured their skin’s ability to conduct electricity — and found
they might change depending on the alter in control. So, the jury is still out. The reason psychologists call them alters
and not personalities, is because the patients don’t really have two or three or five separate
personalities inside of one head, instead it’s a single personality broken into pieces,
like fragments of dish that’s been broken. Each alter has a part of the single personality. Meaning each alter might have a different
mood, age, level of education, name or even gender. Picture a man named Jared who has Dissociative
Identity Disorder. Jared could have one alter that is a woman
who needs glasses, a second who is an old British man, and a third who is a toddler
that cries all the time! Jared might experience all these fragments
in his head at the same time, or not, he could hear their voices or not, he might even have
amnesia if one of the other alters took over! Psychologists like to think of the alters
as fragments because they’re not complete individual personalities, instead the alters
are parts of a single personality. Just like how on some days you’re happy and
other’s you’re sad… these alters are having trouble working together to make a whole person. But each alone has their own experiences,
memories and mannerisms. Unfortunately for patients with D.I.D., just
like a broken bowl, there’s always one big piece. The biggest personality, the main person,
would probably feel very depressed and sad, would have memory loss from when the fragments
took over, and could carry a lot of guilt and stress because of it. In the end, psychologists will keep an eye
out for patients who have more than one personality (one woman claimed to have 162), but for most
of us, we’ll have to be satisfied with the one we’ve got. This video was written by our good friend
Trace Dominguez. He just made a series on Fake News, which
you should totally check out. Make sure you come back every Monday for a
brand new video. As always, I’m Blocko and this has been
Life Noggin. Don’t forget to keep on thinking!

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