Carried out a case study to investigate the gender development of a boy known as 'Little Hans'.
Aim: To investigate Little Hans's phobia.
Method: Hans's father wrote to Freud to tell him about Hans's development. At the age of 4 Hans developed a phobia of horses. He was frightened that a horse might bite him or fall down. He was particularly afraid of large white horses with black around the mouth. Freud analysed this information.
Results: Freud claimed that Hans was experiencing the Oedipus complex. He unconsciously sexually desired his mother and saw his father as a rival and feared castration. He displaced his fear of his father on to horses. The white horse with black around its mouth represented his father who had a dark beard. His fear of being bitten by a horse represented his fear of castration and his fear of horses falling down was his unconscious desires to see his father dead.
Conclusion: This supports Freud's ideas about the Oedipus complex.
Evaluation: A problem with using a case study to support Freud's theory is that it only investigated Little Hans, one person, therefore it is difficult to generalise the results to the wider population.Freud argues that this case study supports his psychodynamic theory.