Thigpen & Cleckley- A critical view

In the study conducted by Thigpen & Cleckley (1954), they discovered that a patient whom had been suffering severe headaches and blackouts, was suffering from Mulitiple Personality Disorder (MPD).This patient was a 25 year old married mother by the name of Eve White. Before realising that she had MPD they admitted her to a range of psychometric tests, such as ink blotting. 

The first of her personalities emerged in their presence whilst she was worrying that she may be considered insane as she occasionally heard a voice in her head. This personality was called Eve Black, and was said to ‘had a childish daredevil air, an erotically mischievous glance, a face marvellously free from the habitual signs of care, seriousness and underlying distress’. This further developed later into developing into a further personality called Jane, which was said to be a more fun and interesting than Eve White, but much more responsible than Eve Black.

Although this study was strongly supported through a different array of tests, such as showing that Eve Black had a lower IQ than Eve White, and that a clear reading could be made between Eve White and Eve Black on an EEG, it does not fully commit validity and reliability to the study. Firstly, although it showed a distinct difference on the EEG from Eve White to Eve Black, it showed no difference in the reading from Eve White to that of Jane. This lowers the reliability of the study as they have no scientific evidence that Jane actually existed.

Secondly, the face validity of the study is questionable, as they set out to try and stop the headaches and blackouts from occurring. This later ended up reporting results of a girl with MPD, rather than a reasoning for the cause of these headaches, as all three personalities denied causing these. At one stage of the study, the blackouts had stopped and so did the headaches, however they soon returned, showing that potentially it was nothing to do with MPD which was causing these headaches.

Another weakness of the study is that the results were produced into a movie. This could cause an exageration of results as they would want to make this interesting area seem much more of an effect which it may have been, possibly explaining the emergence of “Jane”. Furthermore, it is said that one of the researchers actually fell in love with Eve Black and her flirtatious attitude, which caused a loss of objectivity in the research as the researcher then became far more subjective.

Finally, the fact that this was just a case-study meant that the study could not be generalised. Although it would be difficult to find more then one patient of MPD, it means that these cases cannot be compared or measured to each other, meaning a generalisation of the disorder cannot be made.


Thigpen, C.H., & Cleckly. H. (1954). A case of Multiple Personality. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 49, 135-51.

“I use to be widely believed, but then I took an arrow to the knee”-Oedipus, Son of Sigmond

So we all know the classic and legendary theory of the Oedipus Complex developed by Freud (1909), so I believed it was about time that I blogged about what was such a truly original idea.

The theory of the Oedipus complex was formed by Freud which was one of the five psychosexual stages of development in children, as it is suffered by male children during the Phallic stage of their development. Freud believed that the Oedipus Complex was the stage where the boy began to become immersed in deep sexual feelings for their mother, and due to this, would see their father as a ‘rival’ for their mothers love, so would dream of ‘disposing’ of him. However, due to the father being able to over-power the child, the child also develops deep resentment and fear of the father, as the father may castrate the child.

Freud uses the study of Little Hans to support his theory of the Oedipus complex. The study was to explain a phobia of horses which was felt by the child “Little Hans” by relating them to the emotions felt due to Han’s progressing through the Psychosexual stages Examples of this was dreams felt by Hans such as riding on the back of a ‘crumple-necked’ giraffe and was weary of the ‘squawking giraffe’. Freud explained this by stating that the giraffe with the crumpled neck was the resemblance of his mother and his sexual feelings towards her by riding her, whilst the squawking giraffe resembled his father who was alarmed by Hans riding his mate. He concluded that Han’s phobia of horses was due to Hans making resemblances between the horses and his father, due to the horses’ blinders appearing similar to his father’s glasses as well as the black lips similar to his moustache.

This was widely believed and these were believed to be the cause of dreams.

However, it took an arrow to the knee….

Firstly, although it is a widely known theory, it is still only a theory. This means there is no scientific evidence to support his theories, meaning they cannot be totally believed. Furthermore, the researcher which conducted the Little Hans study was not actually Freud, but Han’s own father, Freud only ever met the child twice. The father was the one which conducted the research, meaning that researcher bias was present, lowering the validity of the study, similar to the Thigpen and Cleckley (1954) study where one of the researchers fell in love with Eve Black.

Following this, although Freud did not conduct the research he did view and analyse the results. Even though this means the professional did conduct the research, it is flawed in this situation as Freud himself often indulged in cocaine. This lowers the overall validity of the study as cocaine alters visual and inhibitory behaviour (Post & Rose, 1976). Following this, it is also highly doubtful that a child of that age would even though about sex, never mind wanting to indulge in such activities with their own mother, even if the child does love their mother, it is a different sort of love. As well as this, there is also a distinct lack of construct validity, as the researcher was meant to be researching a child’s phobias, however, more focus was placed on the ‘sexual-feelings’ for the child’s mother, and would much rather just play with toys.

In conclusion, although Freud’s theory is legendary and, let’s face it, absolutely brilliant, it really did take an arrow to the knee and it’s time to move on.

Reference List

Freud, S. (1909) Analysis of a phobia of a five year old boy. In The Pelican Freud Library (1977), Vol 8, Case Histories 1, pages 169-306

Post, R.M., & Rose, H., (1976). Increasing effects of repetitive cocaine admistration in the rat. Nature, 260, 731-732 (22 April 1976); doi; 10.1038/260731a()

Thigpen, C.H. & Cleckley, H. (1954) A case of multiple personality.

Why beautiful people are more intelligent….or not…a critical view of Kanazawa and Kovar (2004)

In the study conducted by Kanazawa and Kovar (2004) they tried to explain the relationship between beauty and intelligence by using four assumptions. The first of these assumptions was that “men who are more intelligent are more likely to attain higher status then men of lower intelligence”; the second assumption was that “higher status men are more likely to mate with beautiful women; the third assumption was that “intelligence is heritable”; and the final assumption was “beauty is heritable”. Through this they explain that if these assumptions are true then it would also mean that beautiful people are more intelligent then unattractive people.

Whilst looking at these assumptions, although someone can see why they have been formed, it does not exactly mean that it is the cause of a proven theorem. This is such as the problems with their assumptions. The first assumption to be viewed is that men of high status are more likely to mate with beautiful women. They use examples such as that of Buss (1994) where he stated that men like young and attractive women and women like rich men. However, it does not look into the fact that personality has a huge role on the factor of face preference (Little et al, 2006). When this is examined with the possibility that beautiful people often have negative personality traits such as vanity (Dermer & Thiel, 1975) then this may cause the males to be put off by these physically attractive women and search for a mate of the desired personality.

 Assumption 3 states that “intelligence is heritable”. However, in the case of mating, the offspring is mixed of both the male and female parents. So if the female in the relationship is of low intelligence, then perhaps the intelligence of the male father will not be passed on. This is supported by the Buss (1994) study where he showed that males are more interested in physical appearance when choosing a mate then intellect. Leading on from this, intelligence is not just what is inherrited, it is also a social factor of what is learnt. This can be seen in studies such as Bandura () where children learn to imitate aggression through watching adults. Although aggression is not intelligence, it does show that children learn from their social environment, so even if a child is born with higher IQ, if not introduced in to the correct environment they still may not become intelligent as others born of lower IQ parents. 

When viewing assumption 4 that beauty is heritable a question needs to be asked, what is beauty? As shown by Buss (1994) the views of beauty tend to alter from culture to culture, such as China finding Chastity hugely important whereas places such as Sweden find it unimportant and irrelevant. As well as this, since, as mentioned above that women are not hugely interested in physical appearance, the male in the relationship may be unattractive and these may pass on into the child, causing an unattractive child.

So although the four assumptions do make sense, they are not 100% solid as there two sides to everything when creating offspring is involved.

Reference List

Bandura, A., Ross, D. and Ross, S.A. (1961) Transmission of aggression through imitation of aggressive models. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 63, 575-582.

Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: BasicBooksBuss

Dermar, M., and Thiel, D.L., (1975). When Beauty may fail. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 31(6), 1168-1176

Kanazawa, S., and Kovar, J.L., (2004). Why beautiful people are more intelligent. Intelligence. Vol 32, (3) 227-243

Little, A.C., et al  (2006) What is good is beautiful: Face preference reflects desired personality. Personality and Individual differences, Vol 41 (6), 1107-1118

Observations-Overt or Covert

When completing research, results are needed to support theories made by the experimenter/researcher. One way of collecting these results is through completing observation. This is where the researcher witnesses actions completed by the subjects and these action are then recorded and the information is collected and used as evidence. However, observation has the flaw that it captures the data of one moment of time which may not be a realistic. This is such as recording toys used by the different genders in children, and recording a boy using the pram toy constantly, however not being able to record that this was used as a “battering ram” rather then its correct usage, meaning the information captured may not be completely reliable.

Observation is a useful way of collecting as it can capture the subjects in their real life situations, however there is two different types of observation. The first type is overt observation. This is where the participants are aware of the researcher. This can be such as the situation above where the children using toys are being observed. The advantages of this is that the researcher is under no threat of danger or getting in to a situation which is too difficult to get out of, such as participating in criminal activity. However, the disadvantage of such a study is that the participants gain demand characteristics where they act differently in front of the researcher then they would in a real-life situation, lowering the validity. This is such as in the study conducted by Willis (1977) where he observed deviant children from a working-class background.

The other type of observation which can be used is covert observation. This is where the participants are unaware that the researcher is present which gives the closest to life like results. The advantage of this is that, as they are unaware of the researcher’s presence, there is no need to act any differently then they would have in any other situation giving highly valid results. This can be seen in studies such as studying violence within football. However, the weakness of this is that depending on the situation the researcher is in, such as football violence, it means that the researcher is always in danger of harm or worse if the participants discover the researcher’s true origins. As well as this, it is highly unethical as the researcher is deceiving the participants, however if they did not then they would be in danger. Furthermore, their is the chance of the researcher “going feral” which is where they forget about the researcher and start partaking in criminal activities and forgets about the group they study. An study which used covert observation was Humphreys’ study “Tea room Trade” (1970) where he observed the sexual activity between married males among each other.

When comparing the two, each has its own advantages, overt for being ethical and free from danger whilst covert offers huge amounts of high validity. For the best results it seems clear that covert is better but is the risk worth the data?


Humphreys., L. (1970) Tea room trade-Impersonal Sex in public places., Volume 7-number 3, 10-25., DOI: 10.1007/BF02812336

Willis., P. (1977) Learning to Labour-How working class boys get working class jobs., ISBN-10: 0231053576


Is Violence Developed or Inherited? A Nature/Nurture Debate…

Violence, an animalistic response to a situation which causes harm to another. Every human in some point of their life experiences violence, however, is this an inherited response or something which is developed due to the lifestyle of the individual. Is it possible that some are born naturally more violent then others?

In the case of Charles Bronson, originally called Michael Peterson, who was dubbed Britain’s most violent prisoner it definitely seems that levels of violence can alter from person to person (as cited by Richards, 1999). Initially sentenced for 7 years in 1974 for armed robbery, whilst in custody he then went on to increase his sentence to life, through charges of armed robbery, wounding with content, wounding, criminal damage, grievous bodily harm, false imprisonment, blackmail and threatening to kill. This man was brought up in an environmentally sound background and from a good-standing family, including his auntie and uncle who with mayor and mayoress of his home town. There is no known abuse within his family and his two siblings did not show signs of violence. This case is a complex one as the rest of the family had no issues showing it is highly unlikely to be inherited, but it is unlikely to be developed due to his outstanding background.

A study which supports both sides of the debate is that of Bruner (), where he studied 5 Norwegian males from a violent criminal family. Using urine samples he discovered that there was a lack of monamine oxide in their body system which correlated to that of violent actions. This supports the nature debate as every male within this family had this lack of monamine oxide which could be the root to their violent actions through their genetics. However, it could also be nurture as the family may have raised the children in a disrupted background and enforced violence as a norm. It could also be due to environmental factors where something in the environment has actually caused this loss of monamine oxide in their body systems.

Another case of a violent individual is found in Stephen French, also referred to as the devil (Johnson, 2007). French created what he saw as the perfect crime, where he would viciously torture gang lords and drug barrons until they revealed the location of their money and drugs, which he referred to as “taxing”. French suffered a bad upbringing, from the age of 3 being beaten by a baseball bat by his older sister, then being bullied until the age of 15 and even being stabbed through his arm at the age of 17. This would support that violence is developed as French had lived in a world full of it, causing his social norm to be related to that of violence. However, it could even be argued that it also inherited, as his sister showed violent tendencies through the beatings she submitted him to.

Leading on from French, Charles Manson is also seen to be an extremely violent and disturbed individual (as cited by Zastrow & Navarre, 1979). He founded what became a cult known as the Manson family with the beliefs that the fat of the lad was destroying the world, which in his eyes, were the rich and famous. He was charged with the murder of 9 celebrities and given a life sentence, only just avoiding the death sentence by a year. This supports the nurture side of the debate as he claimed that he was sexually abused most of his life, however this does not mean it is true as he is well known for muttering what appears to be insane statements. However, this does not mean it is not true as he has also shown himself to be a highly intelligent individual as he managed to sway the minds of those who joined his cult, people which were of a high-esteemed individuals, to the point where he only actually killed one of his 9 victims, his followers killed the rest. It could also be inherited however this is not known as he was put into an orphanage at a young age.

The final individual being viewed is that of Ted Bundy, the stalker chameleon (as cited by Michaud, 2000). This was a man who was raised in from a good standing family with no proof of a bad upbringing, to the point he was seen as a well-esteemed member of the community. He was seen as a highly-attractive individual as well as being highly intelligent. However, he was found to have raped, kidnapped and took part in necrophilia and confessed to the murder of 30 women, although the true total remains unknown and is believed to be much higher. Once incident was how he murdered a woman through impalement using her own bed-post. It is difficult to decide what made him do these actions and the reason is still unknown today. –

In conclusion, there is cases which support both violence being developed and inherited. The study by Bruner and perhaps individuals such as Stephen French and Charles Manson support that violence is inherited, whereas Stephen French, Charles Manson also support violence being developed. It is difficult to state which caused the actions and perhaps both sides of the debate hold foundations in the root of violent actions. However, as theorised by William Golding (1954) in his book “Lord of the Flies” he states that all man have the roots of evil within them and it only takes a certain push to act on this, which could explain what caused individuals such as Charles Bronson and Ted Bundy to act in such manners.

Reference List


Golding., W, (1954) The Lord of the Flies, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8705.1960.tb00848.x

Johnson., G, (2007), The Devil-Britain’s Most Feared Underworld Taxman., isbn: 9781845961787

Michaud., S.G., (2000), Ted Bundy-Conversations with a Killer., isbn: 1 928704 17-4

Richards., S, (1999), Silent Scream-The Charles Bronson Story, isbn: 1 902578 21-x

Zastrow., C, & Navarre., R, (1979), Self-Talk: A New Criminological Theory, vol 3, issue 2, doi: 10.1080/01924036.1979.9688677


First of all I would like to make it known that after reading the article, I am extremely disappointed to find that it was about gender, not…well, you know…

In this critical analysis of Biological components of sex differences in colour preference (Hurlbert & Ling, 2007) one thing noticed was the statement that their appeared to be no difference in preference in colour between the two genders, both preferring blue. This goes against cultural traditions of little boys being dubbed in blue and baby girls dubbed in pink. However, in the study conducted, the sample consisted only of people between the age of 20-26. This may mean that, although the genders stated that they preferred blue, these differences may have changed over time, meaning colours of pink may have once been the preferred colour of females until later in life. This may also have differed further by the fairly recent strive for female equality and the feminists movements to strive for no differences between males and females. This may result in females to more recently alter their preference of colours to suit that of males to make them more equal.

Furthermore, the study consisted of participants from both the United Kingdom and the Republic of China. This causes the study to be generalised to a wider population as participants from two totally different nations, meaning ethnic-differences cannot be used as a criticism.

The methods used in this study used gave the participants little time to think about what their favourite colour, only gave them enough time to react to the stimulus (choice of two colours) and quickly choose what colour they preferred. This removed the chance of demand characteristics to occur and gave only valid results. This showed a difference between what females stated was their favourite and what they performance showed, the females stating they preferred blue, however their results showed that in fact they preferred the hue of 3 on average, showing a curved tendency. However, one issue with this method is that, as seen in the flankers task (Stoet, 2010) males reacted to stimuli at a much quicker rate then females, theorised due to evolutionary factors of males being hunters and females being berry pickers. This means that although the results may seen valid, as females of the UK did pick colours which they had stated they did not prefer, males did pick the colours they said they preferred. This may be due to males being able to react to stimuli quicker then females, meaning that demand characteristics may have actually occurred.

However, the results seemed to differ from each nation. Females in China were reported to prefer a hue of 2, which
is extremely similar to that of UK females, being at the hue angle of 3. However, the difference seemed to show between males, as the UK male average showed to be at its highest peak of hue angle 5 with a curved tendency. However, in China, the male highest peak of tendency showed to be at hue angle 3, but with an even spread throughout. These results may be due to cultural differences, however in the study conducted by Eysenck (1941) no difference between culture preference of colour was found. However, due to when the study was conducted it may mean that these results are now outdated. This leads to the idea that demand characteristics did occur within UK males, either that or the results of Eysenck (1941) are outdated.

In conclusion, the study conducted by Hulbert & Ling (2007) showed that although genders reported a preference of blue, when put in a situation to choose their favourite colour females tended to report they preferred a colour hue of pink/red as well Chinese males, whereas United Kingdom males supported the theory that there is gender differences in colour preference. If this study would be conducted again, by involving more nations into the sample as well as making it a longitudinal study would improve the reliability and the validity of the results, as well as showing if colour preference does alter over time of the participants life, perhaps showing females preferring pink at a young age and later on in life, around the age of 30 showing the results of preferring blue, rather then reporting one preference and the results showing another.


Eysenck, H.J., (1941) A critical and experimental study of colour preferences: The American Journal of Psychology 1941., Volume 73 (1) doi: 10.1037/h0022681

Hulbert, A.C., & Ling, Y., (2007) Biological components of sex differences in colour preference :Institute of Neuroscience and School of Biology and Psychology, Newcastle University: Current Biology., Volume 17, Issue 16,

Stoet, G., (2010) Rapid Communication Sex differences in the processing of flankers: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology., Volume 63, Issue 4, doi:10.1080/17470210903464253

Chemical Attraction-The scientific way to the Women’s Heart

Before I begin this blog is meant to cause no offence to any reader and is merely a list of scientific methods which may not always work.

Humans often do not see themselves as animals, thinking that we are above tricks of confusion and are attracted to those who we choose. This is wrong. Humans are affected by certain features the same as any animal. Knowing these factors and using them can cause effects to occur within the body which can cause different reactions, including chemically creating attraction between the genders.

Studies have shown that females with hyper-feminime features:rounded, prominent foreheads; relatively low-set eyes; full, rounded cheeks; small and tapered chin-have the same affects of the male mind as cocaine (Harvard University, as cited by Men’s Health Magazine, 2011). This factor alone proves that human’s are not above the effects of science.

This supports the evolutionary point of view, that animals will seek out the best possible mate to secure offspring are of the best quality. This not only affects men, but women also. The more feminine the female, the more she seeks a masculine male.

One of the most attractive features on the male face is symmetry(Men’s Health, 2011). This means by having a shaven head it gives emphasis to the forehead as well as ensuring a symmetrical appearance. This can be taken further by having a evenly tapered beard (symmetry again) which also gives the appearance of a stronger jaw. Finally, by wearing a slight frown, as this gives the appearance of being more attractive on first view.

However, this can be taken further then just appearance to cause attraction of the greater gender, and by adding these factors in, it will help cause the greatest possibility of gaining the attention of females. This can be through what she ingests. Vitamin C is great for this as it produces testosterone in the female body, which effects women’s sex drive (Boul, as cited by Men’s Health Magazine, 2011). Taking this further by introducing mint, it causes a greater concentration, which added with the Vitamin C causes a concentration in the alteration of the sex drive (University of Cincinnati, as cited by Men’s Health Magazine, 2011).

Scent can also be used, and the scent of a male can easily be altered through the amazing invention of after-shave. By acquiring aftershave which contains either liquorice or musk, the male is on to a winner. Liquorice has been found to increase the blood flow and boost female arousal by 13% (Berman, as cited by Men’s Health Magazine, 2011). Musk on the other hand, has been suggested to have great affects on the female kind as it mimics the scent of male hormones.

Another great factor which can be used is music. No I don’t mean the greatest classic love hits, thats just a no. But by introducing hip-hop in to the environment, it can actually cause the female to become more attracted. This is because hip-hop has a faster beat then the average female heart beat (which is 70 BPM) and by introducing them into a environment with a faster beat, their heart can actually start to mimic the beat, which causes increased blood flow and the feeling that they are attracted to the imagery before them, just make sure your that imagery.

Finally, lighting has been suggested to also cause arousal. This doesn’t mean just dimming the lighting, but by having orange lighting fitted. This is because Amber lighting has been found to cause nitric oxide to be released into the female body which is directly linked to their arousal levels (University of South Carolina, as cited by Men’s Health Magazine, 2011). This is what causes blood vessels to dilate, which means more blood is pumped through, giving the same affects as viagra (Cox, as cited by Men’s Health Magazine, 2011)

As stated earlier this article was not meant to offend anyone, it is merely science and will not always work.

Harvard University (2011) as cited by Men’s Health Magazine (11/2011) pg 65

Men’s Health Magazine (2011) Volume 11-12.

Boul,L. (2011) as cited by Men’s Health Magazine (12/2011) pg 40

University of Cincinnati (2011) as cited by Men’s Health Magazine (12/2011) pg 40

Berman, L. (2011) as cited by Men’s Health Magazine (12/2011) pg 40

University of South Carolina (2011) as cited by Men’s Health Magazine (12/2011) pg 42

Cox, T. (2011) as cited by Men’s Health Magazine (12/2011) pg 42