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Name of study: On Being Sane in Insane Places

Author(s): Rosenhan

Approach: Individual Differences

Background information (what theories/issues of previous research is the study based on?)
Abnormality ­ behaviour that deviates from social norms. Used to define what is normal or abnormal. There are
characteristics of abnormality ­ people can…

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real life environment (e.g. comments made by patients. This increases more potential for
which is the hospital. The the pseudo patients). It is validity. observer bias as it is hard
results can be applied to difficult to establish cause to remain objective
real life behaviour of the and effect relationships,…

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Type 1 Error ­ when the doctor diagnoses someone as healthy when they're actually ill.
Type 2 Error ­ when the doctor diagnoses someone as ill when they're actually healthy.

List the findings:
Part 1
None of the pseudopatients was detected 7 out of 8 were diagnosed with schizophrenia.…

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What kind of data was gathered? (qualitative/quantitative)
Both types of data were gathered:

Qualitative Data Quantitative Data
Observations made by pseudo patients (e.g. Gathered from 10 point rating scale (1=high
behaviour from orderlies/other patients) confidence the patient was pseudo)
Time spent by each medical staff on the ward
Ignored requests…

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Part 1 of this study was a field experiment using participant observation.

Participant observation:

Strength Weakness
Allows the observe to gather more detailed accounts It is harder for the pseudo patients to remain overt. In
first hand ­ due to flexibility this is because the the study they may…

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It is important to use the longitudinal approach because for mental health you cannot just have a
snapshot/snippet of behaviour to diagnose because some behaviours may be natural and the person may just be
having a bad day. You also get a view of development.


Participants Confederates
Part 1…

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treatment differently in They could also have CCTV reliable. acting The treatment would
different hospitals, camera. Coding naturally. improve.
producing inconsistent system in Invasion of
findings of the treatment place. privacy
of the mentally ill. becomes
an ethical


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