Multiplicity (psychology)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Multiplicity is the use of multiple personality styles by a person. For example, a woman may adopt a kind, nurturing personality when dealing with her children but change to a more aggressive, forceful personality when going to work as a high-flying executive as her responsibilities change.

Rita Carter says evidence for multiplicity abounds and is found in history, and that when an individual states that they have been taken over by a spirit, soul, or ghost, they are saying that they are experiencing another personality. She says that feeling happy and carefree while in the company of your friends, but less so at home with family, is an example of multiple personality styles.

Jung proposed: "The many contains the unity of the one without losing the possibilities of the many."


Plato described people as having different personalities, calling them the rational self, the spirit, and the appetite. He said that different parts of the personality emerged according to environmental conditions. According to Carter, Shakespeare showed examples of this in his works of literature; characters like Hamlet and Macbeth had distinct personalities that differed throughout their respective works. Carter says that Freud supported the notion of different personalities when he came up with the Id, Ego, and Superego, arguing that there is a split in the conscious and unconscious mind.

Carter says that Italian psychologist Roberto Assagioli developed an approach to psychology called psychosynthesis, and thought many personalities that an individual is not consciously aware of may be present. American psychologist John G. Watkins used hypnosis to bring out different personalities, as a method to study those personalities.

See also

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