Thigpen and Cleckley

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What is Multiple Personality Disorder?
MPD is defined as a dissociative disorder in which two or more distinct personalities coexist within one and the same individual - an example of a neurotic disorder. In MPD, none of the personalities have difficulty in reality testing.
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What year was the study conducted?
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To provide an account of the psychotherapeutic treatment of a 25-year-old woman who was referred to Thigpen and Cleckley because of 'severe and blinding headaches'.
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Christine Sizemore was the only participant, she was 25 years old and was from the US. Had 22 personalities in total but T&C only saw 3 - Eve White, Ever Black ad Jane.
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IV & DV?
IV=Patient and the ways of testing DV=Results and data collected from the testings.
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Design, Method, data?
Case study method, longitudinal, both data types.
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Case study method consisting of interviews with the patient and her family, hypnosis, observation, EEG tests and a number of psychometric and projective tests including memory tests, ink blot tests and intelligence tests.
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What is an inkblot test?
projective psychological test that measures thought disorder through showing a patient a series of ink blot images and asking them to say what they see.
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Outline the results (1)
After 1st appointment, therapists received letter from Eve about therapy - usual handwriting for first half but bottom half was written in child-like handwriting. Eve did not remember sending letter. In interview, EB appeared and said Hi there, Doc!
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Outline the results (2)
EW - concerned mother, quiet & reserved. EB - Scornful, mocking, denied any relationship with daughter. EW had higher IQ than EB, 110 vs 104. EW has better memory. Ink blot test- EW had repressive personality, EB had regressive personality.
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Outline the results (3)
After 8 months of treatment EW's blackouts ceased, working well at job, solving martial problems. But soon returned, EB denied all responsibility. This is when Jane appeared.
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Outline the results (4)
Jane was more confident than EW but more responsible than EB. All three given EEGs, EW and Jane = very similar, EB=borderline of psychosis.
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Strengths of the study?
case study-revealed behaviour, Jane appeared after 8 months, and provides lots of data. Used relatives to verify recollections and add information.
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Weaknesses of the study?
Sample of 1 - hard to generalise. Study is retrospective (look back over life) - memory may not be accurate so may not be reliable. Bias-close relationship formed with participant, even noted that she was attractive.
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Psychological harm from repeated testings, moral problems with 'killing' one or more of the personalities.
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