Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self

Overview

MULTIPLICITY presents an entirely new view of our selves. Instead of seeing each person as a single personality, Carter argues that we all consist of multiple characters, each one with its own viewpoint, emotions and ambitions. The mother who feeds breakfast to her children, for example, has quite different concerns and opinions from the woman taking part in a boardroom discussion two hours later, and from the woman she will be with her husband that night. Yet all three may ...

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Overview

MULTIPLICITY presents an entirely new view of our selves. Instead of seeing each person as a single personality, Carter argues that we all consist of multiple characters, each one with its own viewpoint, emotions and ambitions. The mother who feeds breakfast to her children, for example, has quite different concerns and opinions from the woman taking part in a boardroom discussion two hours later, and from the woman she will be with her husband that night. Yet all three may share the same body, and none is any more "authentic" than another.


Personality changes in a person are conventionally frowned upon, but Carter shows that in today's world our ability to switch from one personality to another according to what is demanded of us is a huge strength, providing one's personalities work together as a team rather than against each other. In addition to its groundbreaking scientific thesis, MULTIPLICITY contains extensive exercises designed to help readers achieve this harmony.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this interpretation of the many selves within the human mind, science and medical writer Carter (Mapping the Mind) offers a unique definition of multiple personalities in a functioning person, without the usual discussion of phobias or other psychological disorder. Carter sees personality as a cluster of related traits; for instance, ambition and related traits like drive and impatience could be one personality that would coexist with other personalities in one individual. She describes, for instance, a passive mother of two transforming into a powerful attorney in a high-powered firm; this "mental shape-shifting" leads the mother to display contradictory character traits at home, at work and at play. Contrasting what the author calls minor and major personality traits in thought and behavior, Carter explains: "Our inner landscape is constantly changing. Various personalities form, change, fade away, reform, merge, shrink and grow." She adds intriguing diagrams of memory and recall patterns illustrating how people "behave differently in different situations." Exercises provided in the second part of the book encourage the reader's family and work personalities to interact and communicate positively with each other. Carter is pushing the envelope on personality, and her book should spark debate on the flexibility of the human mind. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316115384
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 3/27/2008
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,493,346
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Rita Carter is an award-winning science and medical writer. She contributes to New Scientist and a wide range of other British magazines and newspapers. Before specializing in science Rita worked for six years as a TV news presenter and radio host and producer. She continues to appear and be heard regularly on TV and radio as a medical and science commentator, and gives frequent talks and lectures throughout Europe and the US.

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Table of Contents

Preface     xi
Part I
A Brief History of Our Selves     3
Priests, possession and Mesmer's plural pianist
Pierre Janet and the vanishing furniture
Multiple Personality Disorder-the first wave
Ego-states and hidden observers
Modern MPD-a manufactured madness?
So what is a personality, anyway?
The Landscape of Mind     22
Majors, minors and micros
The big "I am"-developing the sense of self
The children in the child
How situations create personalities
Searching for the essential self
The trouble with personality tests
Sharing the stage
Mechanisms of Mind     45
Memory, experience and I-memories
State-dependent recall
How memories fit together-the brain-wide web
The brain as building site
Dissociation
Adaptive dissociation
Defending the self
The dissociative spectrum
Sliding into disorder
Changing Times, Changing Selves     74
The rise of the pick 'n' mix culture
How multiplicity can protect your health
Problem families
The early riser and the alarm-clock saboteur
Renegades
Taking responsibility
Intruders and gate-crashers
The People You Are     91
Inner parents
Inner children
Roles and stereotypes
Opposites, shadows and renegades
Identikits and celebrities-personalities from pieces
Virtual personalities
Part II
Introduction     115
How Multiple Are You?     121
Where are you on the spectrum?
The Personality Wheel
Reading the Personality Wheel
SingleMajor
Double Major
Major-Minor
Major-Minors
Multiple Minors
How do your minors relate?
Meet the Family     160
Defenders
Controllers
Punishers
Role players
Relics
Creatives
Working Together     212
Visualizing your selves
Know your triggers
Taking stock
Building the team
Let sleeping dogs lie
Making conversation
Putting agreements into practice
The empty chair
Drawing up an agenda
A helping hand
Making a minor
Saying goodbye
Acknowledgments     247
Notes     249
Resources     255
Index     259
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2008

    ┬┐Multiple Personalities in All┬┐

    I love the Amy Grant song, ¿Hats¿. It is about a woman who changes from being a mother, worker, and a lover throughout the day. Multiplicity explains this, but it does so with much more science. The introduction about the history of possession and Multiple Personality Disorder was interesting. I was also curious about her explanation of the fallible nature of personality tests. Other than that, I think Multiplicity is not for the average reader. Only those interested in psychology would truly benefit from this book. This would make great required reading for upper level psychology classes. Topics from disassociation to psychophysiology of trauma are explained.

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