Rosenhan Questions w/ Answers

This is a piece of homework I did on Rosenhan, did pretty well with it so thought it would be of use. I believe they are section B and C questions.

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  • Created on: 08-05-09 15:58
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Section B
a) What was the aim of your chosen study? [2]
The aim of Rosenhan's study was to test the hypothesis that psychiatrists
cannot tell the difference between people who are sane, and those who are
insane based on diagnosis.
b) Describe the procedure used in your chosen study and give one
limitation of this [6]
The first part of the study, experiment one, is a field experiment because it
takes place in the natural environment of the participants, a psychiatric ward.
Eight pseudopatients telephoned twelve different hospitals across five states
in the USA booking appointments. Once there, the pseudopatients each
claimed they could hear voices with the words "empty", "hollow" and "thud"
after providing a false name and false job (as 6 out of 8 of the
pseudopatients had psychological backgrounds). After being diagnosed and
admitted to the ward, the pseudopatients began acting normal again and
commenced observing and taking notes on staff treatment towards patients.
This was a participant observation as the pseudopatients themselves took
part in the observation a limitation of this is that any data or information
recorded may be subjected to objectiveness influenced by judgements and
opinions of each pseudopatient.
c) Describe the controls used in your chosen study. [6]
In the study by Rosenhan, he controlled what words the pseudopatients
claimed to hear when they were seen by the psychiatrists: "empty", "hollow"
and "thud". He chose these words specifically as they provided clues that the
importance of life was being questioned by the pseudopatients but also that
they had not been heard before.
d) Give one advantage and one disadvantage of using controls. [6]
An advantage of using controls is that it decreases the opportunity of
extraneous variable affecting results. In the study by Rosenhan, he controlled
what words the pseudopatients claimed to hear when they were seen by the
psychiatrists: "empty", "hollow" and "thud" and also what symptoms they
claimed to have. This way, Rosenhan made sure that the symptoms were
suggestive of illnesses.
One disadvantage of using controls is that it could be considered

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This means that complex, difficult behaviours or illnesses such as
schizophrenia are reduced down to only the main factors or elements and
misses out other aspects of these psychological problems.
e) Suggest two changes to your chosen study and outline any
methodological implications these may have. [8]
The first change I would suggest to Rosenhan's study would be to increase the
number of hospitals experimented on over a larger number of states in the
USA.…read more

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Section C
1a) Outline one assumption of the individual differences approach in
psychology. [2]
One assumption of the individual differences approach in psychology is to look
upon people as individuals and their different behaviours rather than just
considering average human behaviour.
b) Describe how the individual differences approach could explain
diagnosis of schizophrenia.…read more

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One strength of the individual differences approach in Psychology is the
opportunity to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. In Rosenhan's
study for example, once the pseudopatients were admitted to the psychiatric
ward, they were recalled numerical data such as how many times patients were
ignored by staff and doctors but also qualitative data such as Rosenhan's
opinion that patients experienced "depersonalisation" and "powerlessness".…read more

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Eve Black and Jane. Personalities will each have different memories and
abilities to the other and can be either aware or unaware of each other's
c) Describe one similarity and one difference between the Thigpen and
Cleckley study and any other individual differences approach study. [6]
One similarity between the Thigpen and Cleckley study and Rosenhan's study is
that both sample sizes are very small and criticised for this. Thigpen and
Cleckley focused on the casestudy of Eve Black alone.…read more

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A weakness of the individual differences approach is that it often relies on the
views of a limited number of people who can often be objective. In Thigpen and
Cleckley's study for example, the results of their study could be bias. This is
because their initial analysis was the possibility of MPD in Eve White, they could
have interpreted all other behaviours as a result of their initial idea of MPD.…read more


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