Although dissociative identity disorder, a condition in which multiple individuals appear to inhabit a single body, is a recognized psychiatric disorder, patients may yet encounter health professionals who declare that they simply "do not believe in multiple personalities." This article explores the proposal that resistance to the disorder represents a failure to apply an appropriate paradigm from which the disorder should be interpreted. Trauma and sociocognitive explanations of dissociative identity disorder are contrasted. The trauma hypothesis is further differentiated into paradigms in which trauma affects a defense mechanism, and one in which trauma serves to inhibit the normal integration sequence of parallel processes of the self in childhood. This latter paradigm is shown to be broadly consistent with current models of cortical processing in another system, the cortical visual system.