Classic Case Studies in Psychology: Third edition, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Classic Case Studies in Psychology

Third edition, 1st Edition

By Geoff Rolls


316 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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The human mind is both extraordinary and compelling.  But this is more than a collection of case studies; it is a selection of stories that illustrate some of the most extreme forms of human behaviour. From the leader who convinced his followers to kill themselves to the man who lost his memory; from the boy who was brought up as a girl to the woman with several personalities, Geoff Rolls illustrates some of the most fundamental tenets of psychology. Each case study has provided invaluable insights for scholars and researchers, and amazed the public at large. Several have been the inspiration for works of fiction, for example the story of Kim Peek, the real Rain Man.

This new edition features three new case studies, including the story of Charles Decker, who was tried for the attempted murder of two people but acquitted on the basis of a neurological condition, and Dorothy Martin, whose persisting belief in an impending alien invasion is an illuminating example of cognitive dissonance. In addition, each case study is contextualized with more typical behaviour, while the latest thinking in each sub-field is also discussed. 

Classic Case Studies in Psychology is accessibly written and requires no prior knowledge of psychology, just an interest in the human condition. It is a book that will amaze, sometimes disturb, but above all enlighten its readers. 


"First published in 2005, this volume can be appreciated by a wide audience. Readers will appreciate the clarity of writing, appositive definitions, and the clear glossary. Historical and social contexts are vividly evoked. Many chapters include photos. A compelling textbook or reader for introductory, clinical, or history of psychology courses, the book should also be of significant interest to sociologists and historians. The third edition includes three new chapters. Summing Up: Recommended" - C. T. Fischer, emeritus, Duquesne University, USA, in CHOICE, July 2015

"This book gives a wonderful flavour of the wide variety of topics within psychology, and features some of the most well-known and influential case studies alongside those which have received less attention. Rolls demonstrates a deep understanding of his subject matter, and his clear style of presentation ensures the key aspects of each case study are covered in an accessible and engaging way without losing academic substance. I thought I was familiar with many of the case studies but I learned something new from each chapter and especially appreciated the unique focus on the personal stories of the people at the centre of each case study." – Dr Mandy Robbins, Glyndwr University and University of Warwick, UK

"This engaging new edition gives valuable insight into the lives and worlds of the famous names encountered by every student of psychology. It provides a greater context to the individual cases by illustrating their impact on psychology, and by explaining what happened to the individuals throughout the course of their lives." – Jamie Davies, Teacher of Psychology, Wyke Sixth Form College, Hull, UK, and editor of psychoblog

Table of Contents

Contents: 1. Introduction Part 1: Cognitive Psychology 2. The man who couldn’t forget the story of Solomon Shereshevsky (‘S’) 3. The man who lived for the present: the story of H.M. (Henry Gustav Molaison) 4. The man who was disappointed by what he saw: the story of S.B. 5. Kim Peek: The real Rain Man 6. Holly Ramona and the nature of memory Part 2: Social Psychology 7. The girl who cried murder: the story of Catherine ‘Kitty’ Genovese 8. Jonestown and the dangers of obedience 9. The end of the world is nigh: the case of Dorothy Martin Part 3: Developmental psychology 10. Innocence lost: the story of Genie 11. The boy who was never a girl: the story of David Reimer 12. The Wild Boy of Aveyron: the story of Victor 13. Two little boys: The story of Little Albert and Little Peter Part 4: Individual differences 14. The boy who needed to play: the story of Dibs 15. The man who was turned on by prams and handbags 16. Freud’s analysis of phobia in a young boy: the story of Little Hans 17. The three faces of Eve: the story of Chris Sizemore 18. The boy who couldn’t stop washing: a story of OCD Part 5:  Physiological psychology 19. The men who didn’t sleep: the story of Peter Tripp and Randy Gardner 20. The man who lived with a hole in his head: The story of Phineas Gage 21. The man with no brain? 22. Natural Born Killer?: Charles Decker: the case of the Crocodile Man Part 6: Comparative psychology 23. Talking to the animals:  Washoe and Roger Fouts

About the Author

Geoff Rolls is Head of Psychology at Peter Symonds College in Winchester and formerly a Research Fellow at Southampton University, UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings: