A key hypothesis tested in this course is that all psychological behaviors are entailed by neurological processes. In the case of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), in which the host self breaks into one or more distinct alters, is it the trauma of early abuse and resultant stress that ultimately modifies the brain’s structure, or are there also psychological processes at work? Why don’t all traumatized children develop DID? These are the kinds of questions Sean’s detailed and complex hypothesis aims to investigate.

It is clear from the first pages of his paper that Sean is most persuaded by the neurobiological evidence. He has read the journal articles closely, so his summaries are focused, logical, and detailed. He can draw his own convincing conclusions from the research in support of the analysis he is conducting. I especially like the clarity of his scientific prose. He defines key terms quickly and exactly and describes essential processes in immediately accessible language so that he never loses his reader.

Early versions of this paper developed the possible role of the Orbital Frontal Cortex in the expression of typical DID behavior, but those drafts lacked a trigger to show how and why the dissociation occurred. It was Sean’s discovery of the more psychological attachment theory that made all the pieces fall together. Sean’s logical organization of the paper creates a sense of continuous discovery, of having many of the questions posed by the biology very closely answered by the psychology. This combination of deep research and original speculation make the paper a real pleasure to read again half a year later.