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A Search for the Right Answer
In this role-playing case study on Parkinson’s disease, students learn about brain injury and brain repair mechanisms, the physical and psychological effects of a degenerative disease on a patient and her family, the ethics of fetal tissue resear...

A Simple Plan
This case study introduces students to Dr. E.L. Trudeau, who performed a seminal early experiment validating the germ theory of infection. Part I introduces Trudeau's Rabbit Island experiment, which is simple and easy for beginning or non-major student...

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...

A Struggle for Power in China: The Three Gorges Dam
The Three Gorges Dam in China is one of the world's largest hydroelectric dams, providing energy for millions of people. However, the dam's construction forever altered the Yangtze River ecosystem and the lives of local residents. In this case study, s...

Amber's Secret
This problem-based case focuses on the female menstrual cycle and early stages of pregnancy of an unwed teenager. Working in small groups, students identify the learning issues for each part of the story and research answers to their questions. They ar...

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...

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 ...

Community-Based Management and Conservation in Africa
Niko lives in Namibia and is about to attend a community meeting at which the fate of his family's re-settlement will be decided. He is unsure as to what would be best for his family; his father does not want to move while his brother is optimistic tha...

Cooling Off a Warming Planet
This role-playing case on climate change policy is designed to engage student groups in parallel discussions on policy instruments and packages for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, student groups discuss cap-and-trade and carbon tax ...

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...

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. ...

Family, Culture, Medicine
This four-part problem-based learning case examines cultural conflicts between Western medicine and non-Western traditional healing practices. Students consider notions of cultural relativism and ethnocentrism through the lens of social institutions, i...

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...

Moving to Higher Ground: Ecosystems, Economics and Equity in the Floodplain
Healthy river systems serve a wide variety of functions, including recreation, crop production, and navigation. Effective floodplain management requires integrating cultural, economic and ecosystem needs, and often tradeoffs must be made. This case stu...

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.&...

NiƱos Desaparecidos: A Case Study about Genetics and Human Rights
This case study is based on the identification of 50 children who were displaced during Argentina’s Dirty War of the 1970s, subjected to DNA and protein analysis, and subsequently reunited with their biological families. The case demonstrates the...

Of Silt and Ancient Voices
This case explores the complex and multifaceted resource management issues that arose when traditional Zuni Indian land and water use practices were displaced by the construction of the Black Rock Irrigation Project by the U.S. government in the early ...

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...

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 Big Bad Wolf or Symbol of the American Wilderness?
Students enrolled in natural resource programs typically have classroom experience in science-based curricula with little exposure as to how to apply that science to real-life issues. This case study was designed to introduce students to understanding ...

The Case of Desiree's Baby
This case is based on Kate Chopin’s short story “Desiree’s Baby,” a tragic tale of race and gender in antebellum Louisiana first published in 1893. Students read the story and then answer a series of questions about the genetics...

The Case of the Jamaican Fisherman
Designed for a first- or second-semester Anatomy & Physiology course, this directed case study involves a 48-year-old Jamaican fisherman who suffered a cerebrovascular accident.  He was taken to a hospital, where he stayed for three days befor...

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 Medicinal Use of Marijuana
Whether marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes has been contested for decades. The claims, counter-claims, issues, and judgments in this high profile controversy make it an excellent candidate for “intimate debate.” While simi...

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...

Uretero What?
This case study follows a woman faced with a series of difficult medical decisions. Students apply systems-level physiology as they explore a pregnancy with medical complications and discuss situations involving life-changing decisions prompted by mode...

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...

Why Was the 1918 Influenza So Deadly?
In this intimate debate, students examine the causes of the devastation wrought by the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Students consider whether the 1918 flu was exceptionally deadly because of its biology, or whether prevalent geopolitical-socioecono...