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Evaluation of Freud's little Hans study.

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Evaluate the little Hans study Strengths of the little Hans study are that they support the usefulness of case studies and have the ability to reveal and treat the origins of abnormal behaviour. In fact some forms of psychotherapy rely on building up a long and detailed case history as an aid to understanding and then helping the client. Case studies like that of little Hans are able to produce very in-depth qualitative data. In fact Freud argued that it was the special and intimate relationship between Hans and his father that displayed such progress of the analysis However, this case study only relates to little Hans as one individual and therefore there is a danger in generalising the findings to the population. ...read more.


The little Hans study lacks reliability as it cannot be replicable as what Hans's father may have said one day may not have been repeated another day. And it's not like Freud could have repeated this study as then it would lack ecological validity and will not make any sense as a case study. However, we can only acknowledge what Freud has said and compare Freud's findings to other case studies and see if there are any similarities that can support Freud and show that the little Hans case study can be generalised and shows validity. Freud's theories cannot be fully justified as there are other explanations behind little Hans's phobia of horses. There is the classically conditioned explanation where maybe little Hans thought he was expected to be scared of horses. ...read more.


The theory only works if there is both a mother and father present. The theory cannot explain when a mother or father or neither is present so how can it be a valid theory that justifies that little Hans's phobia can be generalised? Even though, both little Hans's parents were present at the time there were disputes between them and it is often seen that children blame themselves for disputes between parents and to show this little Hans has resulted in a phobia of horses. The horses could represent the relationship between both his parents and the fact that the horse collapsed represents the relationship between little Hans's mother and father - it's about to collapse or little Hans may assume it has collapsed. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hafsa Miah FE13 ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is a very cohesive essay that shows the examiner the candidate possesses a very in-depth knowledge of the case study of Little Hans as well as the tools required to evaluate psychological evidence. The only quip I have is ...

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Response to the question

This is a very cohesive essay that shows the examiner the candidate possesses a very in-depth knowledge of the case study of Little Hans as well as the tools required to evaluate psychological evidence. The only quip I have is that the candidate might wish to include an introductory paragraph outlining the study - very briefly, as this is only an evaluation; it just seems as though the essay is missing a suitable introduction as it starts off right away with the analysis. Similarly, a concluding paragraph about the evaluation of the study may be appropriate in giving the answer the 'bookended' feel an A Level Psychology essay should have, as at the moment it can feel slightly incomplete (though not in the sense that it doesn't satisfy the question).

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is very good. The candidate has made five strong arguments for and against the case study of Little Hans, showing the examiner their extensive knowledge of evaluative points when it comes to psychological research, Each point is cross-linked to another issue about the study, e.g. the paragraph on the usefulness of case studies leads on to a mention of qualitative data, and the paragraph on reliability crosses over to replicability, generalisability, and validity. This integrated approach is what gives the essay it's succinct strength. It does not feel disjointed and the candidate has combined a number of debates that are common to the case study in order to effectively evaluate the study. Where I would ask the candidate to improve is only in the minor instance where they do not make the tie to the scientific debate in Psychology in light of the study not being replicable nor objective. Other than that, this is a sound essay which is both well-expressed and well-organised.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is fine here. The candidate makes good and accurate use of language in order to precisely convey their evaluative intentions to the examiner. Grammar, spelling and punctuation are all correctly and proficiently used and there is a confident use of the specialist terminology required of Psychology students writing evaluations.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 06/07/2012

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