Thigpen and Cleckley (6)
Explanation of results: Thigpen and Cleckley were convinced that they had witnessed an example of multiple personality. Although Thigpen and Cleckley do not point to the cause of MPD, the received wisdom is that MPD is usually a response to child abuse - a way for the individual to protect him or herself.Evaluation of Explanation: It is possible that the therapists could have been conned by a successful actress. Thigpen and Cleckley did recognise this but asserted that the performance could not have continued for so long and so consistently.However, the diagnosis of MPD is very unreliable. For example, there are many more cases reported in the US than say the UK. This perhaps demonstrates that some psychiatrists are more likely to diagnose MPD than others. Interestingly, women are more likely to be diagnosed than men. An argument that is gaining popularity is that psychiatrists such as Thigpen and Cleckley are actually creating multiple personality by unwittingly leading their patients into believing that they have the condition. Evaluation - Strengths: Case studies are particularly useful in revealing the origins of abnormal behaviour. Through building up a long and detailed case history, case studies can be used as an aid to understanding and helping the client. Such research can also be called action research as the researchers involvement is consciously trying to change the persons behaviour. A major strength of this case study was that it provides lots of data. It contained an 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. 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. They also asked independent experts to give a variety of tests including an EEG test, psychometric tests and projective tests.