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Old 11th-June-2010, 01:16 PM   Agent Intellect's time 11th-June-2010, 08:16 AM    #1
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Default Creating A Personality.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a mental disorder that causes someone to shift between two or more different personalities and usually results from childhood trauma. Someone with multiple personalities has different 'autobiographical selves' or "...one human brain to generate at least two distinct states of self-awareness, each with its own access to autobiographical trauma related memory..." (1). The fMRI study in the quoted article shows that people with DID use their brain differently when different personalities are 'present'.

My questions are, what could be the benefits of an otherwise healthy person creating alternate personalities? And would it be possible to do so?

My hypothesis about the second question is that it could be possible for an otherwise healthy person to create a second (or more) personality(s). New discoveries in neuroplasticity show that repeated practice, training, and even fooling our minds can cause changes in our brain and cognition (1) (2) (3) (4). If someone were to come up with a mind training regiment, it could be possible to create the neuroplastic changes to generate alternate personalities.

The benefits of this, obviously, would be creating personalities that can compensate for our shortcomings. Being a procrastinator and being socially inept, wouldn't it be great if I could make a second, ENTJ, personality that could "take over" at those times when being an INTP isn't optimal? Or, if I need to be in social/emotional situations, maybe create an ESFP personality that could "take over" at those times?

So, I pose these questions to anyone that still read all this tripe after seeing how many links I posted: what are the benefits/detriments to creating more personalities? What sort of training regiment could bring about the requisite changes to undertake such a feat? And, just for fun, what sorts of personalities would you create for yourself?
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Old 11th-June-2010, 09:39 PM   saffyangelis's time 11th-June-2010, 09:39 PM    #2
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agent Intellect View Post
My questions are, what could be the benefits of an otherwise healthy person creating alternate personalities? And would it be possible to do so?
?
Entirely off the top of my head, wouldn't the best benefit of having an alternate personality to be able to adapt faster to different situations? You mentioned this slightly, with the idea of an ENTJ to work, and an ESFP for social situations, but if you were able to, the best possible way would be to create a personality for each individual situation, to help you deal with it in the most efficient way.

As for the second part, I have no idea. I guess it would be possible, based on the idea that a personality is based on our experiences, but I'm not sure that it would be enough of a significant change to provide much benefit, or if you could develop a variety to change between at will.

I guess that by constantly forcing yourself into thinking in a different way could cause some change, (I'm picturing trying to force a pessimist into acting optimistic) but even then, there's still a chance of the original personality coming back. Not all aspects of human nature are flexible, so depending on what particular aspect of personality that you wanted to change, some parts of it may be possible, but I don't think a complete personality change would ever be possible.

I think that if you /did/ try and change your personality completely, it would just be a mask. You could ignore your personality, try and act completely different, force yourself to think in a different way, but I think that eventually this would fail, and you'd mess up and forget how to use the mask or something, since I can't work out how to carry on with that metaphor anyway (My idea is more of you letting the facade down, and not quite being able to hide your personality completely). If you did it slowly, part by part, then I think you would have a better chance at a permanent change.

(This is all entirely guesswork though, feel free to ignore me completely =P)

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The benefits of this, obviously, would be creating personalities that can compensate for our shortcomings. Being a procrastinator and being socially inept, wouldn't it be great if I could make a second, ENTJ, personality that could "take over" at those times when being an INTP isn't optimal? Or, if I need to be in social/emotional situations, maybe create an ESFP personality that could "take over" at those times?
I think that acting as an ESFP or an ENTJ would be just that, acting. I don't think that it would be possible to honestly change a personality fast enough to take advantage of those situations, but there's a better chance of managing to drag out enough aspects of those personalities to act as them for a while, which could be close enough to make a mask to let you act as one of them, but not exactly enough to honestly create a real personality. There's also the question of it you /could/ change between them fast enough, or notice the opportunities where one personality might be better than another, or which one to change to if you know that it's not working at the moment.

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Originally Posted by Agent Intellect View Post
So, I pose these questions to anyone that still read all this tripe after seeing how many links I posted: what are the benefits/detriments to creating more personalities? What sort of training regiment could bring about the requisite changes to undertake such a feat? And, just for fun, what sorts of personalities would you create for yourself?
Or, do what I did and skip the links =P(although I am hitting the point of sleepy-ness when I wouldn't be able to process what they said really, and I'm planning on reading them as soon as I've slept) Well, at the very least this rubbish post might persuade someone who did read the links to post something good. =P

I think that the benefit of being able to adapt faster to a situation speaks for itself, as I think this could be useful if it was possible and if you were able to adapt and change fast enough. However, I do think that the idea of my mind sort-of collapsing under the pressure of having to maintain two or more personalities would be a bit of a drawback. I'd rather have one fully-functioning personality, than a fragmented mind of several personalities.

If I wanted to attempt this, I'd start by creating a personality in my mind, almost like a character in a story, then force myself to act more and more like them, until that became the natural way of doing things. I'd also try to auto-correct my thoughts until they became closer and closer to the thoughts I would predict the alternate personality/character having, until they too became natural.

And if I did create a personality, I'd try to create one that doesn't get bored with talking about reality tv shows and clothes all the time. I think that would come in handy at school. Or one that can actually focus for more than ten seconds at a time.... or one that actually makes sense at any point, which would also be really useful, I think. =P

Alrighty, I'll shut up now. Someone else who actually knows what they're talking about can post now. =P
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Old 12th-June-2010, 12:25 AM   Agent Intellect's time 11th-June-2010, 07:25 PM    #3
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saffyangelis View Post
Entirely off the top of my head, wouldn't the best benefit of having an alternate personality to be able to adapt faster to different situations? You mentioned this slightly, with the idea of an ENTJ to work, and an ESFP for social situations, but if you were able to, the best possible way would be to create a personality for each individual situation, to help you deal with it in the most efficient way.

As for the second part, I have no idea. I guess it would be possible, based on the idea that a personality is based on our experiences, but I'm not sure that it would be enough of a significant change to provide much benefit, or if you could develop a variety to change between at will.

I guess that by constantly forcing yourself into thinking in a different way could cause some change, (I'm picturing trying to force a pessimist into acting optimistic) but even then, there's still a chance of the original personality coming back. Not all aspects of human nature are flexible, so depending on what particular aspect of personality that you wanted to change, some parts of it may be possible, but I don't think a complete personality change would ever be possible.

I think that if you /did/ try and change your personality completely, it would just be a mask. You could ignore your personality, try and act completely different, force yourself to think in a different way, but I think that eventually this would fail, and you'd mess up and forget how to use the mask or something, since I can't work out how to carry on with that metaphor anyway (My idea is more of you letting the facade down, and not quite being able to hide your personality completely). If you did it slowly, part by part, then I think you would have a better chance at a permanent change.

(This is all entirely guesswork though, feel free to ignore me completely =P)
Well, I didn't really have changing ones personality in mind, so much as adding new ones 'on top' of the existing one, the way that someone with DID has - although, for them, it's usually a coping mechanism brought on by childhood trauma.



Think Tyler Durden from Fight Club. Or even John Cusack from Identity.

This new personality would not really be "you" but another personality that could "take over" your body when it's needed.

I assume one detriment could be that the personality might have too much a mind of it's own (it might hate the real you, or want to permanently take over the body, or cause harm to you in some way) but I'm assuming that, if one is consciously generating a secondary personality, they can mold it to be what they want.

Quote:
I think that acting as an ESFP or an ENTJ would be just that, acting. I don't think that it would be possible to honestly change a personality fast enough to take advantage of those situations, but there's a better chance of managing to drag out enough aspects of those personalities to act as them for a while, which could be close enough to make a mask to let you act as one of them, but not exactly enough to honestly create a real personality. There's also the question of it you /could/ change between them fast enough, or notice the opportunities where one personality might be better than another, or which one to change to if you know that it's not working at the moment.
I would see it more like having the other personalities lying dormant until the real "you" triggers them to come out. With Dissociative Identity Disorder, the alternate personalities are tantamount to completely different people, with their own beliefs, memories, and mannerisms sharing the same brain. The article I linked to in the OP talks about how people with DID have different brain activity while different personalities are "in control".

Quote:
I think that the benefit of being able to adapt faster to a situation speaks for itself, as I think this could be useful if it was possible and if you were able to adapt and change fast enough. However, I do think that the idea of my mind sort-of collapsing under the pressure of having to maintain two or more personalities would be a bit of a drawback. I'd rather have one fully-functioning personality, than a fragmented mind of several personalities.
The thing about DID is that each personality would adapt in it's own way, depending on what it experienced while "in control", independent of the original you. I suppose the point of generating new personalities would be so that one would not have to adapt - the splitting of ones personality would be the adaptation, having 'different people' that could handle different situations in one body.

Quote:
If I wanted to attempt this, I'd start by creating a personality in my mind, almost like a character in a story, then force myself to act more and more like them, until that became the natural way of doing things. I'd also try to auto-correct my thoughts until they became closer and closer to the thoughts I would predict the alternate personality/character having, until they too became natural.
I partly agree. I think the first step would be creating a character, figuring out every aspect of them, giving them a back story etc. But, instead of acting like them, start talking to them as if they were a separate person. Have them sort of take on a life of their own. They would essentially be an imaginary friend, but you would have to attempt to relinquish control of them - there would have to be some 'give and take' in your discussions with them. They would have to be their own person.

After a while, you start letting them handle things for you the same way a real friend would, but they use your body as the medium. I think over time, if you were able to convince yourself that this character is real, and that it's them and not you that's using the body to interact with other people, over time this other personality would produce it's own neural pattern in your brain, and just like someone with DID, it may be possible to switch between patterns.

Quote:
And if I did create a personality, I'd try to create one that doesn't get bored with talking about reality tv shows and clothes all the time. I think that would come in handy at school. Or one that can actually focus for more than ten seconds at a time.... or one that actually makes sense at any point, which would also be really useful, I think. =P
This sort of makes me wonder how much different someone would want their creation to be from their original self. I'd want to retain some essence of my original personality in my alternates. Perhaps they have some of my same interests, but are able to go about it in different ways (different learning styles, more motivation to learn, more follow through or ability to apply things etc).

I think it would be interesting to have three other personalities, for a well rounded 'team' of minds. I'd go for the ENTJ and ESFP for the situations I mentioned in the OP. The third would maybe be INFP, but they would be female (it would be interesting).

The ENTJ-like one I would imagine being sort of like House: quick witted, capable of being a leader, and doesn't let people walk all over him. This alternate would be my business personality, the one that would take action when it's required. My original self is fine at absorbing and contemplating information, but this alt would apply it, using quick deductive reasoning and superior strategic abilities.

The ESFP-like one would be the alt that knows how to deal with people. When relatives guilt me into seeing them, or I have to give a speech or some such thing, this would be the one. The primary differences from the original me would be that this alt can partake in small talk, and it's charismatic (I can see my ENTJ-like alt repelling people the same way my original self does), able to make and interact with other people smoothly.

The third one I haven't thought about too much, but why limit myself to just one gender?
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Old 12th-June-2010, 01:32 AM   cheese's time 12th-June-2010, 11:32 AM    #4
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

It's an interesting idea. My biggest concern is controlling the switches. Would we actually be in charge of who comes out, and when? At the moment we're sort of assuming "we" would still own our bodies, and have priority over the other selves. But if that's the case I don't see how the other personalities could be fully formed, since there'd still be some amount of conscious control (to regulate entrances and exits you'd need an administrative role). And if there isn't, then we - the originators - are risking a great deal.

*edit
Reading the links now :S which might change my response somewhat.
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Old 12th-June-2010, 02:05 AM   cheese's time 12th-June-2010, 12:05 PM    #5
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

DID isn't even considered a valid disorder in certain psych communities. I think Snowqueen mentioned it's no longer diagnosed at all in England and is only valid in America.

All the links were about the brain remapping its representation and control of the body. I'm not sure how personality differs from the body, but considering the haziness surrounding DID I don't know if we can really draw any links between that sort of neuroplasticity and what you're suggesting.

I'll just go over those sites again to double-check - I skimmed the first time, although I've read a lot of similar articles before.
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Old 12th-June-2010, 04:07 AM   Da Blob's time 11th-June-2010, 10:07 PM    #6
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

Actually a talented sociopath does just that, create an artificial persona/personality for each social role. This can be done by observation and imitation, as well as a set of heuristics and algorithms. In fact, interviewing such can be a rather fascinating experience, as one watches the sociopath create a persona/personality to deal with a unique challenge - they first try on all of their faces to get the response that is their goal... When that doesn't work, they scramble to make a face that does... LOL, they never catch on to the fact that they are in the presence of another sociopath, playing in one his own artificial persona...

All one has to do, to create a persona is to find the means to achieve or meet all the expectations of a given role. Social roles are nothing more than a list of expectations associated with that role. If someone was proficient in the MBTI, it would not be that difficult to imitate other types. Learn how to be an "E' on demand. Learn how to be a "F" on demand, Learn how to be an "S" on demand, Learn how to be a "J" on demand. After all the MBTI is a list of preferences - not abilities. So you learn to do something distasteful.
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Old 12th-June-2010, 05:24 AM   Reluctantly's time 12th-June-2010, 12:24 AM    #7
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

I went through a "I might be a Sociopath phase". I'm very sure INTPs have a lot in common with projecting certain personalities around various groups and in various situations as a means of facilitating the best communication and getting whatever it is that we are hoping to achieve or obtain.

Although of course, everyone does this to some degree and I would be unsurprised to find out if others were able to honestly and objectively admit such a truth.

And Sociopaths are not really a reflective bunch and have very little concern for others, so I'm not in any way suggesting a strong correlation between INTP and Sociopath because there isn't. For some reason, I see the reflective bit in INTPs as the complete opposite to what a Sociopath would have, being an S type. I think this is because intuition is more about understanding and appreciating the reality we exist in in INTPs. A sociopath would have to be purely concerned with the self and what they can get and do for themselves, sensing type. Intuition seems to yearn to be more holistic in many ways, implying a desire to connect and consider others as well as the self.

But this is only a simple or suggestion. This isn't well-thought out and is just kind of my basic perception of things currently. So I'm sure I have missed many possibilities.
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Old 12th-June-2010, 06:30 AM   Enne's time 12th-June-2010, 06:30 AM    #8
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

How "deep" would you delve? In the practice of creation of these personas, even for the sociopath, it's probably going to be a very distinct sort of "global awareness" of your new "behavior patterns" and "mannerisms". Assuming (as brought up earlier) that the switches were yours to invoke and that you could switch, what way would there be to ensure that you were truly in autopilot with regards to your presentation? I think a more feasible way would be to learn a sense of global detachment ( a sort of meta-cognition?) that would be more akin to a PC user having different RPG characters with varying classes, as opposed to a stage actor with a book of lines and some convincing costumes.
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Old 12th-June-2010, 12:51 PM   Agent Intellect's time 12th-June-2010, 07:51 AM    #9
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

A lot of people seem to be missing the point of what I was attempting to get at in the OP? I'm not talking about persona's, or acting (no matter how convincingly) in a certain way. I'm talking about completely relinquishing control of my body to a personality - a character - that I have created in my mind, during which my own self-awareness would be in a fugue state, or at least a state of depersonalization.

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DID isn't even considered a valid disorder in certain psych communities. I think Snowqueen mentioned it's no longer diagnosed at all in England and is only valid in America.

All the links were about the brain remapping its representation and control of the body. I'm not sure how personality differs from the body, but considering the haziness surrounding DID I don't know if we can really draw any links between that sort of neuroplasticity and what you're suggesting.

I'll just go over those sites again to double-check - I skimmed the first time, although I've read a lot of similar articles before.
This article was about how the brain behaves differently depending which personality is 'present'. The point of the links relating to neuroplasticity were to show that the brain is able to "remap" itself (the area for function X is not permanent) and therefore it could be possible to train ones brain in a way that would cause the necessary alterations in it's mapping to generate one ore more additional personalities.

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How "deep" would you delve? In the practice of creation of these personas, even for the sociopath, it's probably going to be a very distinct sort of "global awareness" of your new "behavior patterns" and "mannerisms".
My suggested training doesn't involve taking on mannerisms so much as projecting them onto an imaginary character. I have a lot of characters that I've created in my head, but I've never taken the next step and began talking to them as if they are real people. I think, if one had a strong enough desire, they could, over time, convince themselves that their imaginary character is real by having discussions/debates with them - and eventually counting on this imaginary person to take action in the world, relinquishing ones own body as the medium for such action.

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Assuming (as brought up earlier) that the switches were yours to invoke and that you could switch, what way would there be to ensure that you were truly in autopilot with regards to your presentation?
I don't think it would be something that could just happen, but it would require a process. Once one had convincingly created a personality and observes this character interacting with the world, they would have to imagine themselves watching this person, using their body. This is certainly not something that would happen overnight.

I imagine that people who actually suffer DID must project certain emotions onto these other personalities, most likely during their childhood trauma. DID seems to inflict people that were subject to ongoing trauma, not just single instances of it, which suggests that the creation of these other personalities has to occur over long periods of time.

Quote:
I think a more feasible way would be to learn a sense of global detachment ( a sort of meta-cognition?) that would be more akin to a PC user having different RPG characters with varying classes, as opposed to a stage actor with a book of lines and some convincing costumes.
I wouldn't want convincing costumes, either. I'm thinking more along the lines of real neurophysiological changes that create "independent" personalities that can take full control of my body.

I'm not sure how possible it would be to have some sort of meta-cognition over these "other people" in ones head, so the fail-safe would have to be creating personalities that have the original "you" in their best interest - a cohesive team of personalities.
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Old 12th-June-2010, 12:59 PM   Anthile's time 12th-June-2010, 01:59 PM    #10
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

The most important drawback I could think of would be that you have several 'immature' personalities instead of one 'mature' one. Or that you wouldn't know any longer which is the 'real' you.

Not to mention that you would most likely end up in a mental health institute.
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Old 17th-June-2010, 02:02 PM   AlisaD's time 17th-June-2010, 03:02 PM    #11
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Default Re: Creating A Personality.

The problem I see with the original idea is that if I did it right, the people I created would be stealing first seconds, then minutes and hours, and later maybe entire days of my limited time on Earth. If I created them on purpose, and did it well, it would be a bit like suicide - choosing not to live parts of my life.

I have no issues with what they might do, it might be fun to let them run things for a while, even let them make a mess, or do something completely amazing, but the fact that in order to let them do that I would have to disappear completely, even for a short while, just makes me picture this over, and over, and over again. There is this little man in my head saying:
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time."
Call me selfish, but I ain't sharing.
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