Rosenhan (1973) 'being sane in insane places'

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  • Created by: Abi
  • Created on: 09-05-11 19:11

Aim: To see if eight sane people who gained admission into 12 different hospitals would be "found out" as sane. A further aim was to observe the experience of being in such an instituation, and what it feels like to be observed as "insane".


Sample: 8 Pseudo patients (3 women and 5 men). One was a 20 year old graduate, and the others much older, and consisted of 3 psychologists, a paediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter and a housewife. They all used pseudonyms to avoid future embarrassment, and those in psychiatric professions gave fake jobs. Rosenhan was one of the pseudo patients.

Setting: The settings were varied so the findings could be generalised, 12 hospitals in 5 different states, were varied in character (old/new, staff to patient ratio, private or not etc)

- Pseudo patients called hospital, arrived at office and say heard unclear unfamiliar voices saying "empty" "hollow" and "thud". These words were chosen as they placed an emphasis on the patients life.

- Other than this, name change, and slight changes in case history, the patients gave details of their own lives.

- After admission the pseudo patients stopped all abnormal symptoms, although some showed signs of nervousness and anxiety. They were given medication which they did not swallow, and co-operated in order to convince the doctors they were sane.


- The pseudo patients were never…


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