Memory transfer for emotionally valenced words between identities in dissociative identity disorder.

R.J.C. Huntjens, M.L. Peters, L. Woertman, O. van der Hart, A. Postma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study aimed to determine interidentity retrieval of emotionally valenced words in dissociative identity disorder (DID). Twenty-two DID patients participated together with 25 normal controls and 25 controls instructed to simulate DID. Two wordlists A and B were constructed including neutral, positive and negative material. List A was shown to one identity, while list B was shown to another identity claiming total amnesia for the words learned by the first identity. The identity claiming amnesia was tested for intrusions from list A words into the recall of words from list B and recognition of the words learned by both identities. Test results indicated no evidence of total interidentity amnesia for emotionally valenced material in DID. It is argued that dissociative amnesia in DID may more adequately be described as a disturbance in meta-memory functioning instead of an actual retrieval inability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-789
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

Cite this