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Neurocase. 2008;14(1):44-53. doi: 10.1080/13554790801992768.

Cross-examining dissociative identity disorder: neuroimaging and etiology on trial.

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  • 1King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Division of Psychological Medicine, London, UK.


Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is probably the most disputed of psychiatric diagnoses and of psychological forensic evaluations in the legal arena. The iatrogenic proponents assert that DID phenomena originate from psychotherapeutic treatment while traumagenic proponents state that DID develops after severe and chronic childhood trauma. In addition, DID that is simulated with malingering intentions, but not stimulated by psychotherapeutic treatment, may be called pseudogenic. With DID gaining more interest among the general public it can be expected that the number of pseudogenic cases will grow and the need to distinguish between traumagenic, iatrogenic or pseudogenic DID will increase accordingly. This paper discusses whether brain imaging studies can inform the judiciary and/or distinguish the etiology of DID.

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