Coverage of Rosenhan’s “On Being Sane in Insane Places” in Keywords David Rosenhan, abnormal psychology, textbook analysis, labeling. 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.

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Perhaps for the pleasure of it all? Rachel marked it as to-read Jul 12, placrs From one viewpoint, these data are hardly surprising, for it has long been known that elements are given meaning by the context in which they occur.

To ask other readers questions about On being sane in insane placesplease sign up. If they labeled and treated me as having a bleeding peptic ulcer, I doubt bing I could argue convincingly that medical science does not know how to diagnose that condition. Hospital notes indicated that staff interpreted much of the pseudopatients’ behavior in terms of mental illness. However, when challenged to provide evidence of actually conducting her experiment, she could not.

On being sane in insane places

The settings are similarly varied. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Simply reading materials in this area will be of help to some such workers and researchers.

What are the origins of depersonalization? This is to say that physicians are more inclined to call a healthy person sick a false positive, Type 2 than a sick person healthy a false negative, Type 1. To a group of young residents he indicated that such behavior was characteristic of the oral-acquisitive nature of the syndrome.

If anything, they strongly biased the subsequent results in favor of detecting insanity, since none of their histories or current behaviors were seriously pathological in any way. All of the others were supported by state or federal funds or, in one instance, by university funds. To a group of young residents he indicated that such behavior was characteristic of the oral-acquisitive nature of the syndrome.

The experiment “accelerated the movement to reform mental institutions and to deinstitutionalize as many mental patients as possible”.


For example, one nurse labeled the note-taking of one pseudopatient as “writing behavior” and considered it pathological. Their stays ranged from 7 to 52 days, and the average was 19 days.

I have already mentioned two. Lori Collom marked it as to-read Mar 20, The inferences to be made from these matters are quite simple. Such labels, conferred by mental health professionals, are as influential on the patient as they are on his relatives and friends, and it should not surprise anyone that the diagnosis acts on all of them as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Copyright by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. When a sufficient amount of time has daivd, during which the patient has done nothing bizarre, he is considered to be in remission and available for discharge.

A nurse unbuttoned her uniform to adjust her brassiere in the present of an entire ward of viewing men. Twenty-three were considered suspect by at least one psychiatrist. Return to Book Page.

Earn your certificate and save lives! 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.

In some cases, there was a brief period of mild nervousness and anxiety, since none of the pseudopatients really believed that placee would be admitted so easily.

Rosenhan experiment

Some attendants were prone to verbal and physical abuse of patients when other staff were not present. When asked by staff how he was feeling, he indicated that he was fine, that he no longer experienced symptoms. Such attitudes should not surprise us.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The rest were either pocketed or deposited in the toilet. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Many defended psychiatry, arguing that as psychiatric diagnosis relies largely on the patient’s report of their experiences, faking their presence no more demonstrates problems with psychiatric diagnosis than lying about other medical symptoms.

Nevertheless, their reports about the inside of the psychiatric hospital have been valuable. However much we may be personally convinced that we can tell the normal from the abnormal, the evidence is simply not compelling.

Those with the most power have the least to do with patients, and those with the least power are the most involved with them. Clearly, to the extent that we refrain from sending the distressed to insane places, our impressions of them are less likely to be distorted. Preview — On being sane in insane places by David Rosenhan. Once admitted and diagnosed, the pseudopatients were not able to obtain their release until they agreed with the psychiatrists that they were mentally ill and began taking antipsychotic medications, which they flushed down the toilet.


The pseudopatients included a psychology graduate student in his twenties, three psychologists, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter, and a housewife.

Yet, while financial stresses are realities, too much can be made of them. That such a variety of medications should have been administered to patients presenting identical symptoms is itself worthy of note. One tacit characteristic of psychiatric diagnosis is that it locates the sources of aberration within the individual and only rarely within the complex of stimuli that surrounds him.

Modern critics point out that diagnoses were very different 40 years ago, and now, with the more recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, diagnoses are much more accurate. Sometimes, this “helping” people get better is more about trying to change those who are just different from us.

On Being Sane in Insane Places

Want to Read saving…. The patients’ normal biographies were recast in hospital records along the lines of what was expected of schizophrenics by the then-dominant theories of its cause. Their ‘normal’ behaviors were interpreted in medical notes through the lenses of the diagnosis not directly from their behavior. The hospital itself imposes a special environment in which the meaning of behavior can easily be misunderstood.

Great Psychological Experiments rosenhqn the Twentieth Century. Apart from occasional angry exchanges, friction was minimal. They reported that though the staff seemed to be well-meaning, they generally objectified and dehumanized the patients, often discussing patients at length in their presence as though they were not there, and avoiding direct interaction with patients except as strictly necessary to perform official duties.

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