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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Virtual Reality and Multiple Personalities

    To a certain extent people have always had multiple personalities or personas in so far as we adapt to contexts generally, the inability to adapt, at least sincerely and not as part of a game, is what characterises some disorders like sociopathy or obsessive compulsive disorders.

    However, if virtual reality and communicating or networking with others through computer interfaces becomes more the norm will it results in multiple personalities and a sort of psychological splitting becoming the norm?

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    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To a certain extent people have always had multiple personalities or personas in so far as we adapt to contexts generally, the inability to adapt, at least sincerely and not as part of a game, is what characterises some disorders like sociopathy or obsessive compulsive disorders.

    However, if virtual reality and communicating or networking with others through computer interfaces becomes more the norm will it results in multiple personalities and a sort of psychological splitting becoming the norm?
    It's like you say, there are those who can and those who can't differentiate between environments. It is likely that more people will become a victim of it as everyone gets confronted with interchangable environments, whereas in earlier times, those prone to develop such disorders wouldn't neccesarily fall victim because of constantly being in a stable unchangable environment as opposed to jumping from one environment into the next the way it is these days...

    But it will never become the norm, because most people can still differentiate and those with disorders will remain to be people with disorders.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

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    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To a certain extent people have always had multiple personalities or personas in so far as we adapt to contexts generally, the inability to adapt, at least sincerely and not as part of a game, is what characterises some disorders like sociopathy or obsessive compulsive disorders.
    ?
    I have OCD and I don't wear a mask nor do I have mutiple personality disorder.

    How are anxiety disorders and sociopathy related in terms of adaptability?

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guesswho View Post
    I have OCD and I don't wear a mask nor do I have mutiple personality disorder.

    How are anxiety disorders and sociopathy related in terms of adaptability?
    If you have OCD its something you experience whatever the context, like you dont have OCD at home but not work or on the bus or only when people are watching, the same can be said about sociopathy, although it can be characterised by "bluffing".

    I wasnt relating OCD to sociopathy, maybe you could try reading the post before responding? What do you think? Good idea?

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    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To a certain extent people have always had multiple personalities or personas in so far as we adapt to contexts generally, the inability to adapt, at least sincerely and not as part of a game, is what characterises some disorders like sociopathy or obsessive compulsive disorders.

    However, if virtual reality and communicating or networking with others through computer interfaces becomes more the norm will it results in multiple personalities and a sort of psychological splitting becoming the norm?
    I don't see that as a likely outcome, save for science fiction.
    Most people are grounded in reality at most times of the day, whatever they are doing. It takes drugs for most people to divorce themself's from reality to the extent you are suggesting.
    Plenty of people play violent video games, but are not violent outside of that environment. They seem to be able to sequester that state of mind consistently. the real question to me is, can technology advance to such a levelr that reality and the virtual world are so similar that the experiences, and therefore the state of mind for each, is undifferentiated, or difficult to separate.

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    Senior Member guesswho's Avatar
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    I think trauma is the leading candidate.

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    I’m not sure why interacting online would be so different than interacting in any new environment, much less produce an entirely different personality, or splitting of them. People, and their personalities, are multi-faceted. How would you differentiate between an as-yet-unseen aspect of a personality that has, by virtue of being in a new environment, manifested itself in this specific way for the first time, and a completely different personality altogether? Or, how would you know you weren’t “like that” all along, but were simply never in a place that called for it?

    If I were to move to a village somewhere that relied totally on fishing and farming for food, would it mean that because I’m not reading, using, and learning about technology anymore (a prior interest and large aspect of my personality) that I have a new personality?
    Unless I moved to that village and suddenly thought that I’m a 40-year-old balding accountant named Mike from Wisconsin, it wouldn’t be a manifestation of a new personality (in the sense of MPD) just utilization of different faculties I hadn’t, until then, knew I possessed or needed to call upon.

    Why is communicating with others online really that much different from anywhere else? Not only that, but it's a CHOICE, which alone reflects a part of an existing personality. You wouldn't be doing this, communicating online, if it wasn't something you wanted to do. If it were mandatory, I still don't think it'd be that different. Aside from perhaps laying waste to social skills for people who identified as adept at navigating, initiating, or participating in real world social situations, I don't think it'd change that drastically, nor create for those people a whole new personality. They would simply need to adapt those skills to a cyber social work instead of a real-people social world.

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    Reason vs Being ragashree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    To a certain extent people have always had multiple personalities or personas in so far as we adapt to contexts generally, the inability to adapt, at least sincerely and not as part of a game, is what characterises some disorders like sociopathy or obsessive compulsive disorders.

    However, if virtual reality and communicating or networking with others through computer interfaces becomes more the norm will it results in multiple personalities and a sort of psychological splitting becoming the norm?
    Right, important distinction that no-one seems to be making here, so I suppose it's time for another psychology lesson.

    To start with:

    Persona =/= Personality

    A personality is the sum, the integrated complex, of qualities that constitute an individual person as percieved on the one hand by themselves, and on the other hand by others.

    A persona is the social mask assumed by that person when they want to present themselves in a particular way to others. Many people posess several different personas to facillitate different kinds of social interaction. It's commonplace for instance, for someone to have differing work/home personas, priviate/public personas, etc. Their personality, as percieved by another, typically amounts to the integrated composition of the various personas they display to that person. The accuracy with which that composition reflects their subjective sense of self as their ego percieves it depends on the skill of the other at integrating the various elements they are able to percieve into a coherent framework.

    Multiple personas therefore =/= multiple personalities.

    If an individual's personas are percieved as distinct personalities by another, it most likely represents some kind of failure of communication or perception on one or both parts. A person may present their various personas without full awareness of how they are coming across, and the inconsistent impression of who they are that implants in the minds of others in consequence, or they may simply not care.

    Conversely, the other person may be unable to integrate the behavior they percieve into a coherent whole that adequately explains the underlying functioning that drives their apparently disparate behaviour (a failure to develop an effective theory of mind about that person) or be unable to percieve directly the deeper motivations that drive them (more of a failure of empathy) and therefore conclude, probably mistakenly, that they actually have distinct multiple personalities.

    ....

    Now, you're talking about people developing multiple personalities in response to the proliferation of new forms of social interactions brought on by electronic media, so I'm going to try to define what a multiple personality actually is in addition to my previous definition of what it isn't.

    Dissociative identity disorder (frequently still referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, but in light of present knowledge perhaps less accurately) is a rarely diagnosed conditon. It's characterised (in psychiatric, as opposed to behaviorual terms) by a markedly unstable sense of self, and consequent splitting of the underlying subjective self (so far as anyone is able to determine; we are not yet able to read minds to be certain of this diagnosis no matter what some people think) into several different subunits which are able to function with partial or total independence, and which appear to have limited or no communication with each other. It's a controversial topic, and one that I don't want to get too far into here, besides saying that as it is necessarily diagnosed symptomatically, because we do not have direct access to people's internal mental states, it is not easy to diagnose accurately. Hence the controversy and confusion that exists on the topic in the professional literature, never mind the popular press and media.

    One thing that is agreed upon, however, is that the condition is strongly associated with defense responses to extreme trauma, particularly when experienced at an early age (ie child sexual abuse - victims often dissociate from themselves in order to counteract the pain and helplessness they feel). It's likely that in many diagnosed cases the person does not percieve themselves as having truly distinct identities at all, but displays their various conflicting personas as a protective measure which is so strongly habituated that it's difficult for another person to make the distinction, and difficult or impossible for them themselves to modify their behaviour voluntarily.

    Rather than essaying a definitive conclusion here, I'll leave it to intelligent readers to decide for themselves how likely it is that online interactions will produce the kind of overwhelming psychic trauma that is usually associated with PTSD and childhood abuse, and the activation of the extreme coping mechanism that some resort to as a defense against this.
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    ^What he said.
    I think there are plenty of risks and problems associated with online interaction becoming dominant over face-2-face encounters, but turning into Sybil isn't one of them.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragashree View Post
    Rather than essaying a definitive conclusion here, I'll leave it to intelligent readers to decide for themselves how likely it is that online interactions will produce the kind of overwhelming psychic trauma that is usually associated with PTSD and childhood abuse, and the activation of the extreme coping mechanism that some resort to as a defense against this.
    I don't think there's a lot more to be said.

    I see confusion more liable in the Enneagram Three sense -- a person who has various personas and seems to lose track of who they actually are. But not true dissociation. Just potentially a confused Ego state, but still quite sane -- and this happens IRL in a society full of roles to fulfill, not just online.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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