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A Case of a Pheochromocytoma
“Rollie Hendrix,” a 35-year-old husband and father of three children, has been experiencing headaches and palpitations of increasing frequency and severity over the past six months. In addition, he has had periods of intense anxiety and pan...

A Case of Mistaken Memory?
This case explores the fundamental principles of memory, eyewitness accuracy, and police questioning techniques in witness identification in a criminal case. By studying the details of an actual series of attacks and the subsequent police investigation...

A Case of Seasonal Affective Disorder
“Melanie Johnson” is a 32-year-old accountant who has moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, from her hometown of Sarasota, Florida.  For the first time in her life, she has been experiencing periods of depression, lethargy, and excessive sle...

A Collision of Two Worlds
This case uses an excerpt from the novel I Never Promised You a Rose Garden to teach students to recognize symptoms of mental illness. Students read the excerpt and then work in small groups of two to three to identify and label symptoms of me...

A Recipe for Invention
In this case study, designed to help break down stereotypes about scientists and engineers, students research the personal and professional lives of researchers in their field. The case was designed for use in high school to graduate courses in a varie...

A Rush to Judgment?
This case describes a study conducted by students in which a number of ethical issues arise, including the treatment of research participants and the supervision of student research assistants by faculty. By examining the way in which the study was con...

A Social-Cognitive Exploration of Reactions to Leiby Kletzky's Abduction and Homicide
An eight-year-old boy, abducted while walking home from day camp, is killed and dismembered, and his alleged murderer, a member of the boy's community, is arrested. Students read details about the case with the goal of exploring how people have respond...

Abnormal Psychology in the Hundred Acre Wood
In 2000, Sara E. Shea and co-authors published "Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: A neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne" in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. That article gave provisional "diagnoses" to Christopher Robin and...

Agony and Ecstasy
This interrupted case study explores the scientific, legal, and societal complexities of repurposing an illicit substance, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as "Ecstasy" or "Molly," into a clinically accepted medicine for treating po...

Anxiety Doesn’t Work
This case study tells the story of Mo, an individual with social anxiety disorder who seeks mental health treatment. The purpose of this case is not to have students diagnose the central figure, but rather to help students gain insight into on...

Are You Blue? What Can You Do?
This case study introduces students to treatment alternatives for depression using a jigsaw method in which groups of students are divided up so that each member of the “home group” becomes the “resident expert” in one of five p...

Artificial Sanity
Using the story of death row inmate Charles Singleton, who developed paranoid schizophrenia while in prison awaiting execution, this case study explores the relationship between a society’s concept of mental illness and its treatment of people wh...

Brain Workouts
This directed case study follows two college roommates, Darrell and Anthony, who have just returned to school after winter vacation. They share that their ageing fathers are concerned about their declining faculties and are amused by their fathers' eff...

Case of Maria
This case illustrates concepts of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment within the context of a counseling relationship. Its primary purpose is to teach students about the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship, specifically that the relationship is o...

Chemical Eric Can't See
This autobiographical case study presents the story of Eric as he learns that he has a genetic eye disease, which progresses to the point that he becomes legally blind. The story is true and, in this respect, similar to another case by the same author ...

Dire Straights
This case study is a fictional account of a romantic interlude in which a secret concerning the gender history of one of the characters is revealed. The case is intended to offer students a greater understanding of gendered culture and to discuss diver...

Emily and Dr. Haskins
This case study on clinical practice, preparation, and acumen follows the story of Emily, an intelligent, hard working, and motivated student who yet encounters difficulties in the clinical fieldwork component of her senior seminar. A follow-up section...

Exploring Unintentional Racism
This case study is designed to help students explore their attitudes about race and examine the complexity of racism. It also has been used to teach about the social psychology of unintentional racism, attribution theory, and institutionalized racism. ...

Extrasensory Perception: Pseudoscience?
The overall purpose of this case study is to teach students to be skeptical of scientific claims, particularly those that are sensational and fall outside the boundaries of normal scientific explanation. Students read the case and then evaluate informa...

Feeling Detoxified
This case study uses the example of ionic foot baths to examine how placebo treatments can affect our health and wellness. Inspired by a student’s real visit to a spa, the story begins with a description of the experience of an ionic foot bath, a...

I Almost Missed the Marathon
This case study is about a German man named Fritz Jähn. Fritz was physically active in his youth and an achievement-striving individual who was academically and professionally accomplished. He distinguished himself as an anesthesiologist and a fat...

I Can See Clearly Now
This series of mini cases focuses on the cortical areas associated with vision and visual perception. Each case depicts a breakdown in visual perception that may be traced to damage in an area or areas of the visual system and is based upon an actual c...

Joe Joins the Circus (or Elephant Love)
In this interrupted case study, students cover concepts and terms related to classical and operant conditioning as they read about how "Joe," an animal trainer for a circus, trains the two elephants in his charge. Joe sets about his task using concepts...

Josie
In this interdisciplinary case, students meet Josie, the main character, who suffers from a variety of symptoms. Students must grapple with the conflicting data presented, which ultimately leads them to a diagnosis of either porphyria or schizophrenia....

Kate-tastrophy
In this interrupted case, students examine the concept of unconsciousness and develop an understanding of how clinicians diagnose death. Developed for a freshman course in human biology, the case focuses on brain death, but raises related issues, inclu...

Local vs. Foreign Tragedy
This case study challenges students to understand and apply a set of concepts from the domain of social psychology to an inflammatory article that was published in The Guardian. Students prepare by reading a chapter on prejudice and stereotypi...

Michael's Story
This interdisciplinary case study introduces us to the Greens, a family with a recently diagnosed autistic child. Autism is one of several disorders grouped within the acronym ASD, or autism spectrum disorders. Autistic children have problems with comm...

Mini Cases in Movement Disorders
This collection of six short cases focuses on brain areas and neurotransmitters involved in the control of movement. Students are divided into working groups and given one or more of the case descriptions. Each scenario depicts a breakdown in the motor...

Mini Cases in Psychoactive Drugs and Their Effects on the Brain
Designed for an upper-level psychology class titled Brain & Behavior, this series of mini-cases can be used in any undergraduate course that covers the major classes of commonly abused legal and illicit psychoactive drugs from a biological...

Nature or Nurture
This case explores the question of whether gender identity is determined strictly by genetics (nature) or social variables (nurture).  It is based on a true story about a man who was raised as a girl and later rejected the female gender identity.&...

Paired Associates Learning, the Shortfalls of Behaviorism, and the Rise of Cognitivism
In this interrupted case study, students learn about a series of studies conducted in the late '50s/early '60s by Robert Young at the University of Texas at Austin. The studies, which explored the type of phenomena that behaviorism has had a difficult ...

Prayer Study
In this case, students read a news article about a study of the effects of intercessory prayer on cardiac patients published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. After reading the case and discussing the questions in small groups, students ev...

Salem's Secrets
This case study examines the Salem witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts, in the late 1600s. It is designed to provide students with an opportunity to analyze and critique data and help them understand the scientific method. Originally d...

Selecting the Perfect Baby
This dilemma case is based on the true story of Jack and Lisa Nash, whose daughter Molly was born with a rare genetic disorder, Fanconi anemia. By having another child with specific genetic markers, the Nashes hoped to cure Molly using stem cells from ...

Skinny Genes?
This case study introduces Megi, an active teenager who has recovered from anorexia nervosa.  The method of progressive disclosure is used to take students back in time as Megi recalls the physical and psychological aspects of her illness and t...

Speak Up!
This series of mini cases focuses on language deficits (aphasias) and their likely organic causes (problems in specific brain areas). Students read one of the six cases, which are based on actual cases reported in the literature, and connect the sympto...

Split My Brain
This case study involves a couple deciding whether or not their son should undergo brain surgery to treat a severe seizure disorder. In examining this dilemma, students apply knowledge of brain anatomy and function. They also learn about brain scanning...

Stereotype Threat and Recommendations for Overcoming It
This case study uses an example of racism experienced by a Korean American student to explore the concept of stereotype threat and its impact on college classrooms and student performance. The case was designed for use with college faculty in teach tra...

Studying Racial Bias
Students evaluate a research proposal to determine if it is consistent with ethical principles and federal guidelines for conducting research with human subjects. The case can be taught either as a discussion case or using role-playing.  This case...

The 2000-Meter Row: A Case Study in Performance Anxiety
This case study is based on another case in our collection, The 2000-Meter Row: A Case in Homeostasis, which emphasizes the metabolic, respiratory, and cardiac responses of a young athlete competing in a championship rowing event. In this modi...

The Great Parking Debate
Two friends debate whether people leave their parking spaces faster if others are waiting. They decide to see if they can design a study to test their ideas.  In this interrupted case study, students develop a research question and hypothesis and ...

The Irresistible Costs of Impressing Others
Recent research indicates that people who boast to friends and those who are modest to strangers are less able to regulate their behaviors on other tasks. This case study presents a scenario in which four college roommates use different strategies to m...

The Lady of Charleston?
This case uses the real story of Dawn Langley Simmons, who may have been misidentified as male at birth, to illustrate the developmental basis of human sexual dimorphism and how gender misidentification may occur. Students also consider the emotional, ...

The Mozart Effect
In this case study, students are given information regarding an advertisement claiming that listening to the classical music in the advertised CD set will enhance a person’s cognitive skills and creativity. Students evaluate the claims and the ev...

Thirty-Two Seconds to Go: A Case of Motivation, Locus of Control, and Self-Efficacy
In the 1983 Big Eight Conference championship football game, Neil Harris deflected a pass with 32 seconds to go in a play that stopped the University of Oklahoma from scoring and clinched Nebraska's perfect 12-0 season, a third consecutive Big Eight co...

To Be Who I Am
This case examines a rare condition known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder, in which an individual has a persistent and consuming desire to become an amputee. Students apply Charles Horton Cooley’s theory of the "looking-glass self" to explore...

Under the Knife and Completely Aware
This case study is based on a newspaper article about the suicide of Sherman Sizemore shortly after he underwent an exploratory laparotomy (abdominal surgery).  After his surgery, Sherman experienced symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disor...

War, Death, and Cognitive Dissonance
This case study explores cognitive dissonance theory, a theory proposed by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1956 to explain the tension that exists when peoples’ attitudes are incongruent with their behaviors. Students read a news article describin...