The article "Was 'Sybil' a case of mistaken identity?" written by Jess Stricker was in the Star Tribune today about Sybil (Shirley Mason), a Minnesotan woman who claimed to have and was reported to have 16 different personalities. The case involves the dissociative identity disorder (DID), characterized as the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that take control of a person's behavior (Lilienfeld 614). This article related to what we have learned in class in the fact that Stricker explained that hypnosis and "mind-bending drugs" were used during the therapy sessions studying Sybil. As seen in the Paul Ingram Case, hypnosis can create new thoughts and feelings because it provides people with suggestions for alterations in their perceptions (181). This makes science troubling in that it does rely on humans and credibility is not always easy to test. Sybil's psychiatrist, Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, was said to hypnotize Sybil and suggest things that might have happened. Sybil had even said she experienced an incident in which her friend was killed right in front of her. This was later found to be a false memory for Sybil because while her friend did die, it happened 10 years later from the time Sybil stated and she was not there. Was this due to suggestions or because Sybil's different personalities interrupted her memories? Sybil died in 1998 and it is not certain whether or not she experienced these many different personalities but it is interesting on how memory can change so drastically and how misinformation can create fictitious memories.
Star Tribune Newspaper. Print. 27 Oct 2011
Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding