INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
EVALUATION
A case of Multiple Personality (1954)
Thigpen, H.C and Cleckley, H. Journal of Abnormal and
Social Psychology, 49, 135-151
Content Page
Research:
1. Method
2. Sample
3. Data Collection
4. Reliability
5. Validity
6. Debates
7. Issues
8. Suggested Changes
SLIDES
Why did Thigpen and Cleckley decide that Eve did
not have Schizophrenia?
1. Method: Case study
What is a case study?
Why is this study a case study?
1. Method: Case Study
Advantages

DisAdvantages

Broad
Contextualised
Case studies are particularly
useful in revealing the origins of
abnormal behaviour. Through
building up a long and detailed
case history.
Thigpen and Cleckley also
involved Eve's relatives to help
verify certain recollections, and
to add information, and in this
way throw light on the case.
1. Method: Longitudinal
What is a longitudinal study?
Why was this study longitudinal?
1. Method: Longitudinal
Broad
Advantages

DisAdvantages

Contextualised
Asked independent experts to
give a variety of tests including
an EEG test, psychometric tests
and projective tests.
1. Method: Self-Report
What is Self-Report
Why is this study Self-Report?
1. Method: Self-Report
Broad
Advantages

DisAdvantages

Contextualised
1. Method: Observation
What is an observation?
Why is this study observational?
1. Method: Observation
Broad
Advantages

DisAdvantages

Contextualised
2. Sample
How do we define a sample?
What is the sample in this study?
2. Sample
Broad
Strength

Limitations

Contextualised
In depth study, with rich data
Study only Eve enabled
researchers to build up and
detailed and thorough
investigation into the causes of
MPD.
Generalising beyond the
research setting
As there was only one
participant, the results are not
representative of a MPD
population. Therefore we
cannot generalise these
findings.
3. Data collection
What is data?
Why do psychologists need to collect data?
3. Data: Qualitative
The data was mainly qualitative data
Broad
Contextualised
Advantages

Data from interviews and
hypnosis provides in-depth
picture producing rich
qualitative data (e.g. the
interviews and hypnosis).
and also lots of quantitative
data such as the results from
the psychometric tests.
DisAdvantages

The data couldn’t be put
in a chart or analysed so
easily
Due to the large amount of
information collected in
interviews it is difficult to
reduce the data to provide an
explanation for Eves disorder.
3. Data: Quantitative
What data was quantitative?
Broad
Advantages

DisAdvantages

Contextualised
4. Reliability
1.
This refers to whether
the findings are
consistent over time
and within scores
2.
3.
Is this the case or was
Eve just a skilled
actress?
What aspects of the
study were reliable?
How could we make
the study more
reliable in future?
4. Reliability
Are findings consistent over
time?

Test-retest method:
Are findings consistent over
scores?

Use of more than one rater

Use split-half method
5. Validity
Validity refers to whether a study is
testing what it set out to test
Internal Validity
External Validity/Ecological
6. Suggested Changes
If you were doing the study now are there any
changes that you would make and why?
6. Debates
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.
f.
Determinism Vs Free Will
Reductionism Vs Holism
Nature-Nurture
Ethnocentrism
Psychology as a science
The usefulness of Psychological Research
6c. Nature versus nurture
Is Eve’s situation a result of nature or nurture?

Nature:

Nurture:
6d. Ethnocentric bias
Diagnosis of MPD is more prevalent in USA than anywhere else.
Why do you think this might be?
6f. Individual versus situational approach


Is Eve living up to the expectancies of the situation?
Are the researchers putting ideas of different personalities in
her mind?
6g. Usefulness of the research
-
What institutions in society would benefit from this information?
-
Can the study be generalised beyond the research setting?
-
Is the study robust, scientific, representative?
6g. Usefulness of the research
-
-
-
Findings showed support for the origins of MPD being the result
of traumatic childhood experiences and therefore increased
understanding of both this disorder and the effects of negative
physical and emotional experiences.
However, both BPS and the Royal College of Physicians warn
that therapists can easily encourage false memories of
childhood abuse and that the memories of patients with
dissociation may be unreliable.
Diagnosis has been used successfully as a legal defence, on
occasions. However, the used of MPD as a legal defence
remains an controversial issue.
7. Issues
a.
Ethics
b.
Ecological Validity
c.
Longitudinal-Snapshot
d.
Qualitative & Quantitative Data
7a. Ethical Issues
What does ethics refer to?
Why do we need ethical guidelines for psychological research?
•
•




Protection of participants
Withdrawal – Eve Black didn’t want to take part
in Thigpen and Cleckley’s investigation but was
bribed to if she wanted more time “out”.
Consent
It is not known if either Eve White or Eve Black
gave consent to widely publicize her case study
Giving Advice
Thigpen and Cleckley’s solution to Eve’s multiple
personality disorder was to encourage another
character Jane to take over, this might not have
been the correct decision.
7a. Ethical issues in this study
Contextualised
Strength

Limitations

7b. Ecological Validity
7c. Longitudinal-Snapshot
7d. Qualitative & Quantitative Data
8. Suggested Changes
If you were doing the study now are there any
changes that you would make and why?
What do you want to improve? (PECC)
Why?
What?
External
Validity
• More realistic
• Improve
generalisability
How
• Ecological > setting, task, method, data,
location
• Population > size, gender, age, SES, ethnicity
Internal
Validity
More scientific to
establish C&E
Controls, procedure, data collection
Reliability
More consistent
Easier to replicate
• Design features
Ethics
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Thigpen and Cleckely Evaluation Slides