• Who might this be?
• Can you work out his story?
• What happened to him?
• Why is it important to
Banjo Dan Song
what a case study is.
the use of case studies in
psychology, with specific
link to memory.
the use of
case studies as a
How will I know if I am learning?
By the end of the lesson…
Will be able to identify evidence for the three
C Will be able to describe the research
evidence and understand how it supports the
multi store model.
A Will be able to evaluate the multi store model
using research evidence.
One of the most famous Case Studies in Psychology
A tamping iron went through
his head when he was at
work on a railroad track (in
the 1800’s). He lived for 12
years after this accident.
Psychologists who studied
him have claimed his
personality was very different
after the accident – although
there are conflicting
Read through the article and try to answer these
1) How can a case study be defined?
2) What do they involve?
3) Why are they important in psychology?
4) Do you think Drs/Psychologists can build up a
‘before the accident’/after… picture?
They focus on either one individual, group or
They study that sample in-depth
They involve interviews, observations,
experiments and surveys which are all
conducted over a long period of time. They also
make use of historical records, medical records
etc (looking back retrospectively).
They use information from a wide range of
sources such as friends or family.
Atypical Behaviour/Conditions: Autism, brain
damage, obsessive compulsive disorder etc.
Usually small samples as not many people/
organisations are affected.
Give insight into how to help, what’s going on
‘normally’ and prevention.
Give in-depth insight, so may choose to do a case
study despite large target population available.
Depression (Merritt, 2006).
‘I wasn't really keen on the
idea… I was sort of thinking I
don't want to be dependent
on taking drugs. It just doesn't
feel right… it's like an easy
‘I hate the thought of being
on them… Does that make
sense? I just don't want to be
on antidepressants, I just think
When British conductor and
musician Clive Wearing contracted
a brain infection in 1985 he was
left with a memory span of only 10
The infection left him unable to
recognise people he had seen or
remember things that had been
said just moments earlier.
But despite being acknowledged
by doctors as having one of the
most severe cases of amnesia
ever, his musical ability and much
of his musical memory was intact.
Clive Wearing Clip
Why is this a useful case study for Memory?
How does it support the Multi Store Model?
Is it valid? Can we criticise it in any way?
Clive may not be able to access his
STM store, however he can access his
Long Term Memories. This suggests that
stores are separate (just like the MSM!)
Think about the use of case studies
Mr Good has
life and sees
What are the advantages and
disadvantages of studying one
individual or group?
What about the methods they
Fill out the table from the
perspectives of Mr. Good and Mr.
Mr Worry is
Offer high levels of validity as
they go into depth and give
They allow researchers to study
events or complex psychological
areas they could not practically
or ethically manipulate.
Useful If large numbers of
people are unavailable or don’t
Learn about issues not yet
Offer rich, in depth information
which might be overlooked using
Small samples make it difficult to
generalise to other people.
Bias: researchers can become too
involved and lose their
objectivity: misinterpreting or
Case studied often happen after
an event and are retrospective.
Lack of control: extraneous
variables can effect outcome.
May require recollection of past
events or historical records which
may be unavailable.
Ethical issues – confidentiality.
Most case studies are easily
A hospital wants to find out why some
patients with head injuries recover faster
Would you recommend a case study?
How would it be conducted?
Optional additional work
We will be studying another case study of HM in next
lesson. It might be useful for you to listen to this clip
on Radio 4.
Radio 4 Mind Changers
Case Study: HM - The Man Who Couldn't Remember
Copy down the link.