Dissociation : Vol. 8, No. 3, p. 165-174 : Loss of "background": a perceptual theory of dissociation
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The present theory explains how specific dissociative reactions arise for the first time during a traumatic experience. During dissociation, according to this theory, the perceptual background associated with perception is lost or altered, creating "dysfunctional perceptual organization" (Fine, 1988). Dissociative symptomatology maps one to one with the background components of perceptual experience. The hypothesized psychological mechanism leading to the loss of or change in perception and, thus, to a change in background during trauma, is perception focused on the threat. Focused perception leading to changes in background can occur spontaneously or intentionally. Specific dissociative reactions hypothetically link to specific traumatic precipitants.