Being Sane in Insane Places. D. L. ROSENHAN. If sanity and insanity exist, how shall we know them? The question is neither capricious nor itself insane. David L. Rosenhan. On Being Sane in Insane Places. If sanity and insanity exist, how shall we know them? The question is neither capricious nor itself insane. Rosenhan was one of these critics. As a researcher and psychiatrist himself, he put together a team of eight perfectly healthy and sane “pseudo patients” (five.

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Injournalist Nellie Bly went undercover in an insane asylum and published her findings as Ten Days in a Mad-House. Rosenhan arranged with them that during a three-month period, one or more pseudopatients would attempt to gain admission and the staff would rate every incoming patient as to the likelihood they were an impostor.

They rarely talk about it with former patients, perhaps insaane they distrust information coming from the previously insane. The label sticks, a mark of inadequacy forever.

Rosenhan experiment – Wikipedia

A very groundbreaking experiment that must have stirred up the psychology world in its time and that is still discussed today. However, when challenged to provide evidence of actually conducting her experiment, she could not.

We do not pretend to describe the subjective experiences of true patients. Nevertheless, the doctors never got wise. His freedom of geing is restricted. Yet they were diagnosed with serious psychological disorders.

The second matter that might prove promising speaks to the need to increase the sensitivity of mental health workers and researchers to the Catch 22 position of psychiatric patients. Mike rated it it placss amazing Jan 10, Alexis S marked it as to-read Jul 21, Three pseudopatients were women, five were men.


David Rosenhan of Stanford University had long been interested in these age-old questions and, indevised a unique experiment to put them to the test. No secret was made of these activities. They exhibited no other symptoms and invented no false details about their lives aside from their names and professions. Jun 30, Sydne rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This led to a conclusion that “any diagnostic process that lends itself too readily to massive errors of this sort cannot be a very reliable one”.

Given that the hospital staff was not incompetent, that the pseudopatient had been behaving as sanely as he had been out of the hospital, and that it had never been previously suggested that he belonged in a psychiatric hospital, such an unlikely outcome would support the view that psychiatric diagnosis betrays little about the patient but much about the environment in which an observer finds him.

Ella marked it as to-read Sep 24, Despite constantly and openly taking extensive notes on the behavior of the staff and other patients, none of the pseudopatients were identified as impostors by the hospital staff, although many of the other psychiatric patients seemed to be able to correctly identify them as impostors.

Trivia About On being sane in And while there have been occasional reports of researchers who submitted themselves to psychiatric hospitalization, these researchers have commonly remained in the hospitals for short periods of time, often with the knowledge of the hospital staff. Unknown Binding16 pages.

In a more benign environment, one that was less attached to global diagnosis, their behaviors and judgments might have been more benign and effective. Diana marked it as to-read Mar 03, Similarly, the insane are not always insane. The pseudopatients showed no new symptoms and even reported that the strange voices had gone away, yet the doctors and staff continued to believe that their diagnoses were correct.


Even when the pseudopatients attempted to engage with staff in a friendly, conversational manner, responses were perfunctory when given at all. It seemed not to occur to him that there were very few things to anticipate in a psychiatric hospital besides eating.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. Failure to detect sanity during the course of hospitalization may be due to the fact that physicians operate with a strong bias toward what statisticians call the Type 2 error.

Those who are at the top have least to do with patients, and their behavior inspires the rest of the staff. The consequences to patients hospitalized in such an environment — the powerlessness, depersonalization, segregation, mortification, and self-labeling — seem undoubtedly counter-therapeutic.

Nursing records for three patients indicate that the writing was seen as an aspect of their pathological behavior. But rosebhan can and do speak to the relatively more objective indices of treatment within the hospital. Auriana marked it as to-read Sep 26, They are placea natural offspring of the labels patients wear and the places in which they are found. For others, directly experiencing the impact of psychiatric hospitalization will be of enormous use.

On being sane in insane places

Conventional wisdom suggests that specially trained professionals have the placez to make reasonably accurate diagnoses. Data on early morning nurses, who arrived usually after midnight and departed at 8 a. But what holds for medicine does not hold equally well for psychiatry.