Case Study Chapter 7

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PERSONALITY THEORY (PSY 211) – ONLINE COURSE



The case study should be one page, single-spaced and must apply concepts from the unit 7 to explain the behavior of a person in a manner similar to that required in the term paper.



TEXT BOOK: Friedman & Schustack, Personality: Classic theories and modern research. Sixth edition. Pearson.


Be careful about using fictional characters for your case studies. Many fictional characters are deliberately written to be unrealistic, contradictory and complex for dramatic purposes, which can make them very difficult to explain.




PLEASE DO NOT USE OUTSIDE SOURCES BESIDES THE REQUIRED TEXT BOOK

A common application of personality theory is a case study of a single individual that applies one or more theoretical views to understanding a person. A good case study explains the causes of a person’s current behavior, makes predictions about their future behavior, and provides the information required for interventions designed to change the person. For example, a case study may be used to assist psychotherapy, personnel decisions, legal decisions, educational placements, etc.

For this assignment, you will write a brief case study that addresses the issues below.

The case study should be one page in which you apply some of the concepts from this unit to explain the behavior of a person you know, or someone you know about (historic or fictional characters are acceptable). This paragraph should:

1) Describe an important example of the person’s attitudes or behavior, which defines his/her personality.

2) Describe exactly how certain concepts from one of the theories for this unit explain the creation of the person’s attitudes and/or behavior described above. Highlight the key terms for the concepts used in your explanation.

3) Based on the concepts above, predict how the person’s attitudes and/or behavior will or will not change over time, and explain your expectation.

4) Apply research evidence to evaluate the strengths and/or weaknesses of the theory in explaining the person’s attitudes or behavior. Cite and describe a particular study from the text that provides scientific evidence, and explain how it supports or refutes the explanation above. You may need to find a study outside the text, such as those posted in some of the Canvas modules.

5) Describe how the explanation of the case above differs from that of another theory covered in another text chapter. Also, describe how the explanation is similar to that of another theory in another chapter. Explain how this second theory explains something not explained, or not explained as well by the first theory used above.

MODEL CASE STUDY (based on Chapter 8):
Note: Do NOT use the five factor model for the first assignment – use psychoanalytic theory.
1) Describe an important example of the person’s attitudes or behavior, which defines
his/her personality.
DT is a rich and famous businessman who inherited a family fortune. He will never admit that he is
wrong even when he is confronted with the truth, and insists that he is always right about everything,
and that other people who disagree with him are either fools or hate him. For example, he is
confronted with numerous statements that he has made, but denies making them, despite digital
recordings of his statements, and insists that people are acting out of hostile intent.
2) Describe exactly how a certain concept from the theories for this unit explain the person’s
attitudes and/or behavior described above. Highlight the key terms for the concepts used in
your explanation.
Applying the five factor model, DT is extremely low on Conscientiousness, Openness and
Agreeableness, and extremely high on Extraversion and Neuroticism. He is neurotic given his
extreme emotional reactions to his errors, extraverted given his great dependence on the opinions of
others, disagreeable in his hostile, antagonistic confrontations with others, not very open to the ideas
of others, and not at all conscientious given his flagrant disregard for the truth. These traits are
genetically predisposed and consistent across situations and over time.
3) Based on the theory above, predict how the person’s attitudes and/or behavior will or will
not change over time.
DT is not likely to change given the strong predispositions to these traits which are genetically
determined, and unresponsive to potential learning experiences. In particular, someone who never
admits that he is wrong will never have a reason to change his/her behavior.
4) Applying the research evidence for the theory in the text, evaluate the strengths and/or
weaknesses of the theory in explaining the person’s attitudes or behavior. Cite a study from
the text that indicates strengths or weaknesses.
The big five theory has very strong scientific evidence to support it. Many studies using factor
analysis have consistently found five factors to emerge when various personality tests are analyzed,
such as Costa & McCrae (1985). Some studies suggest that the number of factors may be nearly
five, but not exactly five, although the same basic traits emerge in these studies (Loehlin, 1992).
5) Describe how the explanation above differs from that of one of the other theories covered
in previous units, or your own personality theory. Also, describe how the explanation is like
that of one of the other theories in the text, or your own personality theory. Explain how the
two theories fit together to provide a complete explanation of the case.
The big five theory is similar to the biological approach in its assumption that the five traits are
genetically predisposed, but differs greatly from behavioral approaches that assume the traits are
learned through modeling and reinforcement. Genetically predisposed traits may have been
modeled and reinforced, rather than extinguished and modified by DT’s socialization in his family,
school, occupation and social class. In particular, his lying may have been reinforced by his
fraudulent business operations which have resulted in economic success.

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