Toward an etiology of dissociative identity disorder: A neurodevelopmental approach

Consciousness and Cognition 10 (3):259-293 (2001)
Abstract
This article elaborates on Putnam's ''discrete behavioral states'' model of dissociative identity disorder (Putnam, 1997) by proposing the involvement of the orbitalfrontal cortex in the development of DID and suggesting a potential neurodevelopmental mechanism responsible for the development of multiple representations of self. The proposed ''orbitalfrontal'' model integrates and elaborates on theory and research from four domains: the neurobiology of the orbitalfrontal cortex and its protective inhibitory role in the temporal organization of behavior, the development of emotion regulation, the development of the self, and experience-dependent reorganizing neocortical processes. The hypothesis being proposed is that the experience-dependent maturation of the orbitalfrontal cortex in early abusive environments, characterized by discontinuity in dyadic socioaffective interactions between the infant and the caregiver, may be responsible for a pattern of lateral inhibition between conflicting subsets of self-representations which are normally integrated into a unified self. The basic idea is that the discontinuity in the early caretaking environment is manifested in the discontinuity in the organization of the developing child's self.
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