Vocal manifestations of internal multiplicity: Mary's voices


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Abstract

According to the assimilation model, personality may be considered as a community of internal voices representing traces of previous experiences. This study addressed the hypothesis that a person's internal voices sound different from each other. First, following an intensive qualitative procedure, four clinically sophisticated raters identified six internal voices in a 45-minute interview with Mary, a graduate student in psychology. They characterized the voices by (a) distinctive names, (b) descriptions of vocal and personality characteristics, and (c) sets of excerpted passages. Next, using the voice names and descriptions, additional raters independently sorted the passages into groups. Sortings based on transcript plus audio agreed with the sophisticated raters on 68.9% of the passages, as compared with 37.2% for sortings based on transcript only, while chance agreement expected for both was 16.7%. These findings support a literal view of internal multiplicity, consistent with a modular organization of experiential information within personality.

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