Dissociative Identity Disorder: Extra Credit

Psychological thrillers are some of my favorite movies. I love the way they continuously keep me on edge and throw unexpected twists and turns. One of my favorite movies is called “Identity”. The movie focuses on a criminal who murdered 6 women, and his psychologist who tries to convince the judge that he has dissociative identity disorder. Dissociative identity disorder is a disorder that occurs when a person seems to have two or more distinct personalities within one body. The criminal doesn’t have any recollection of murdering the women; he refuses to believe that he did it. This is considered the “core” personality because he experiences blackouts when he performs actions. The movie tells the story of 10 people all with different backgrounds that somehow end up at the same motel. One by one, they start getting murdered by an unknown killer.

It turns out that these people getting “murdered” are the different identities of the criminal. The criminal’s multiple identities are being forced to confront each other to find the identity that murdered the 6 women. As the motel story is occurring inside the criminal’s mind, he changes how he talks and acts in front of the judge, jury, and psychologist. A journal is presented to the judge that has 10 different handwritings within the pages. Eventually one identity remains and the psychologist convinces the judge that this identity is the innocent one and that the murderer identity has been diminished.

Whenever dissociative identity disorder is talked about, I automatically think of this movie. I have never met anyone who has more than one personality but I think that this movie did an accurate portrayal of someone who does. I think 10 identities are a little extreme, but some personalities stood out more than others. Although the movie never explained how he developed this disorder, multiple reasons could be behind it. The psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, or biological approach could all attempt to explain the cause of this disorder.

2 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder: Extra Credit

  1. Stephen Jeffrey Lageman

    I definitely agree that psychological thrillers can be a really interesting genre. Something about them, for me at least, makes them feel more realistic compared to some crazy axe murderer in the woods. Perhaps it’s because they make the antagonist more relatable, like it isn’t really their fault. They were just a normal person that got unlucky. Or perhaps its because it makes you wonder if it could happen to anyone under the right circumstances. Regardless I find that when compared to a regular thriller, this genre does a lot better job making you think.

  2. Sarah M Hammond

    You did a great job explaining what a dissociative identity disorder looks like and the example you used is relatable to anyone who may have seen that movie or other movies in the same genre that have similar plots or characters. As a fan of the show Criminal Minds I have seen something close to what you described except the antagonist in this case only had three personalities. The show is worth a watch if that is truly something that interests you, although it doesn’t always focus on dissociative identity disorder and can be graphic at times.

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