Individual Differences Approcah

I will discuss the individual differences approach as a whole as well as looking at the individual studies in detail.


Individual differences approach

Assumptions: This focuses on the way people differ e.g. in the Griffiths study, it focuses on the way Regular gamblers and non-regular gamblers differ. AND. Assumes what makes us individuals makes us behave as individuals e.g. In the Thigpen and Clckley study Eve had a mental disorder which made her behave the way she did.

Strengths: Individual Differences are an important element of ppls behaviour which is often ignored by other approaches e.g. in the Griffiths study it focuses on how gambling affects a person's behaviour. AND. We can then make generalisations or we can focus on individual case studies e.g. in the Thigpen and Cleckley study we could either generalise from the findings of Eve or we could focus on her alone.

Weaknesses: Cannot make generalisations about ppl from case studies alone e.g. the Thigpen and Cleckley study is only about Eve so we can't generalise. AND. may be used to emphasise differences which can lead to discrimination e.g. the Rosenhan study was where the pp left with a Schizophrenia in remission title whcih could lead to discrimination.

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  • Background: Rosenhan wanted to demonstrate that the medical model is unreliable.
  • Aim: Test the reliability of the diagnoses of psychological abnormality.
  • Pp: The health workers and patients in the psychiatric departments of 12 hospitals.
  • Method: Field Experiment with some pp observation.
  • Procedure: Eight sane people phoned hospitals. Told them that they heard voices in their head. Gave false name and job but all else was correct.Once admitted they showed no sign of disorder. They did observations. 2) Staff who knew about 1st experiment told that in next 3 months, some psudopatients would try to get admitted. Staff must judge on 10 point scale how pseudo patient is.
  • Results:All but one patient got admitted as scizophrenic(type 2) and staff did not answer any questions asked by patients. 2) no pseudopatients sent but 41 out of 193 patients thought to be pseudo by atlest one staff memnber(type 1).
  • Conclusion:cannot reliably tell difference between sane and insane.
  • Evaluation: pp observation so experience ward from patient perspective, high ecological validity, range of hospital so can generalise. Hospital staff decieved so unethical, experience of pseudo may be different from real pateints, psychiatri classification used was DSM2. Now we use DSM4.
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Thigpen and Cleckley

  • Background: MPD is rare.
  • Aim: To write up a case study of a person showing MPD.
  • Pp: Eve white. 25 yr old married with one child.
  • Method: Case Study, Clinical interview, Observation, psychometric and projective tests.
  • Procedure: Interviews with family to confirm eve's stories. Occasional hypnosis used. EEG tests,Psychometric(IQ and memory) and projective(drawing of human figures and Rorschach inkblot test).
  • Results: Eve white higher IQ. Eve Black projective tests healthier than Eve White. Eve black EEG clearly distinctive. white and jane was the same.
  • Conclusion:Eve white has MPD and if Jane lives,she could be psychologically healthy.
  • Evaluation: Control(supply dresses) so C n E. Both qualitative and quantitative so more valid. EEG is valid and reliable. Researcher bias, demand characteristics and EEG could malfuntion.Overall the study was ethical.
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