Dissociation : Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 048-059 : Switching: Part I an investigation using experimental phenomenology
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Seven descriptions of externally precipitated switching from one personality to another were analyzed using experimental phenomenology. The results, cross-checked with nine other descriptions, indicate that switching occurs when reality events are proceeding toward a possible outcome of significance to a non-executive alter. As the outcome becomes more realizable, the non-executive alter becomes more energized and might influence the executive alter covertly to increase the likelihood of the outcome. When the outcome might really occur, intensity exceeds a threshold for the current executive alter and the non-executive alter takes control of the body. The process appears to be a loss of control for the prior alter and an assumption of control by the second. The results suggest that identity is a more significant factor in switching than state or emotion. Switching seems not solely a defense nor a mechanism to cope with intolerably negative states.