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

Rita Carter, Author . Little, Brown $24.99 (265p) ISBN 978-0-316-11538-4

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.)

Reviewed on: 01/28/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 263 pages - 978-0-316-73088-4
Paperback - 357 pages - 978-84-7245-689-1
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