Being sane in insane places-Rosenhan

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  • Created by: Simon_Q
  • Created on: 20-05-14 16:33

This study set out to test the hypothesis that psychiatrists cannot reliably distinguish between people who are mentally ill and those who aren’t.

8 sane people sought admission to 12 different hospitals, complaining of hearing voices in their heads. These were the only lies concerning the patient’s history or circumstances at the time. Once admitted to the ward, the pseudo-patients (participants) stopped simulating the symptoms and behaved as normally as they could. Nursing reports described the participants a being friendly, cooperative and ‘exhibiting no abnormal indications’.

Despite their public displays of sanity, none of the participants were ever detected and all with the exception of one were given the diagnosis of either schizophrenia or schizophrenia in remission (on discharge). The pseudo-patients were in hospital for a minimum of a week with some being kept in hospital for up to 52 days. During the first 3 hospitalisations, 35 out of 118 actual patients thought that the participants were actually sane. This seems


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