All Quotes tagged Amazing Science Lessons(2)

In dissociative identity disorder, each alternate personality may be experienced as if it has a distinct personal history, self-image, and identity, including a separate name. Brenda, for example, experiences more than 29 personalities. Christina, age 34, ‘wears glasses, has short curly, auburn hair and greenish eyes.’ She "talks in a low voice, is very serious, and does not smile." Her purpose in Brenda's psychological makeup is to deal ‘with anger by expressing feelings verbally.’ 

 Janice, age 16, has ‘shoulder length auburn hair, green eyes, slim build and dresses casually.’ She ‘speaks with a strong foreign accent from the years Brenda lived overseas and laughs about the destruction she causes.’ She is an alcoholic with an attraction for bars and casual sex. Her purpose is to express ‘anger by misbehaving and emotionally hurting others.’ 

 Cindy is 19, attractive, thin, with shoulder length brown hair. She is ‘quiet, somewhat shy, and talks in a near whisper.’ She is ‘still coming to grips with being a teenager because she has recently grown from 11 to 19 with the help of a therapist.’ Her purpose is to deal with intimacy problems. 

 Brenda also has childlike personalities. Liza, three and a half, is short and heavy with freckles and long pigtails. She ‘speaks in a child-like voice, slurring her words, talking slowly.’ Her purpose is to ‘act like a normal child.’ Penny, age 6, has long, blond, curly hair. She has ‘dyslexia, which causes her to print backwards.’ Her purpose is to bear the pain when Brenda is being harmed. 

Different alternate personalities can hold down different jobs until they start interfering with one another. In Brenda's case, ‘Marion was working as a home renovator when Ronald emerged one day and put a holy through the drywall with a hammer.’ In addition to Marion having been a home renovator, Gillian had been a gourmet chef in a hotel, Christina has been a commercial artist, and Margaret and Mary had real estate licenses and has been successful real estate agents. The income from these jobs has been ‘**deposited in bank accounts in the name of the personality who held the job, so that Brenda did not know she had saved this money or where to find it**.’ 

The process by which control of the body passes from one personality to another is called switching and usually occurs in one or two seconds. Switching can be voluntary or involuntary and can occur in response to a person's physiological or psychological condition or environment. Switching can happen at inopportune times. Brenda has found herself ‘in a strange place with a strange man’ after Janice had picked him up. In another case, ‘during surgery in a London hospital, a frightened personality emerged wide awake on an operating room table while the host was under anesthesia.’ 

Physiological changes can accompany switching between personalities with apparent insensitivity to anesthesia being among the most dramatic.

Whether or not we can create psychological effects as a result of working with imagery, it appears that sometimes our thoughts can have effects on our immune systems as found in a field of investigation that has come to be known as psychoneuroimmunology (O'Regan, 1983). 

In one study, rats were given a novel-tasting drink 30 minutes before being injected with a drug that suppresses the immune system. Subsequently, these same animals, when given the novel-tasting drink alone, had suppressed immune functioning even though they were no longer receiving any immunosuppressive drugs (Ader & Cohen, 1975). In other words, an association had been formed between the way something tasted and the activity of the immune system. 

In a different study, it was concluded that a specific type of white blood cell could conform to imagined changes (Schneider et al., 1990). If the immune system can be affected by guided imagery in healthy people, this raises the question of the scope of power of the mind to create physiological and psychological changes also in the cases of illness. For example, an effort has sometimes been made to use guided imagery in the treatment of cancer. 

As it stands, the results of research in psychoneuroimmunology suggest that there is a more intimate connection between the physiological, cognitive, and experiential aspects of our nature than we might suppose.