Thigpen and Cleckley (7)
Evaluation:Weaknesses: Case studies only relate to one individual and we have to be careful generalising from the findings. We have no way of assessing how typical this individual is of other people with multiple personality and therefore we have to ask whether this study is unique to Eve or whether we can generalise it to other cases.
If the study is retrospective (if the individual is asked to look back over his/her life) then memory may not be accurate and indeed, people may deliberately mislead the researcher. The data may therefore be unreliable.
The close relationship between researcher and participant may introduce bias. For example, in this case study, the moment that Eve Black appears can be seen in a different way to that described by the therapist. For example as Eve crossed her legs ‘the therapist noted from the corner of his awareness something distinctly attractive about them, and also this was the first time he had received such an impression’. For the therapist this as a change in her personality, but more objectively it could be explained as a change in his perceptions of her.
There are many ethical issues to consider in this study. Firstly it could be considered whether Eve White was treated more of a subject than a patient. The therapists also recognised the dilemma of deciding what their involvement should be in helping their patient when they noted that ‘we have not judged ourselves as wise enough to make active decisions’ about how the drama should develop’, when they note the moral problems with ‘killing’ one or more of the personalities.