David Rosenhan's Experiment

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We all have our own perception of psychiatric hospitals. Some people may see them as a terrifying experience, and others may see them as a way to help people who cannot keep their disorders under control. David Rosenhan's perception led him to a variety of questions. How could psychiatric hospitals know if a patient was insane or not? What is like to be a patient there? According to Rosenhans study, psychiatric hospitals have no way of truly knowing what patients are insane or not; they quickly jump to labeling and depersonalizing their patients instead of spending time with them to observe their personality.

David Rosenhans experiment contained two parts; the first was admitting pseudo-patients into psychiatric hospitals without the doctors or nurses knowledge. David Rosenhan and his participants all willingly committed themselves to the psychiatric hospital. “8 people without any history of psychiatric illness presented themselves at various mental hospitals. Each of these pseudo-patients arrived at the admissions office complaining of a single (feigned) symptom: vague auditory hallucinations” (Scribner). All of the participants came from a different background and were admitted into several different hospitals.

They quickly gained admission to the hospitals; not a single person was denied. “Immediately upon admission to the psychiatric ward, the pseudo-patient ceased simulating any symptoms of abnormality” (Rosenhan). The pseudo-patients immediately started acting sane after being admitted into the hospital. The staff members were quick to diagnosed them with a psychiatric disorder upon admission. “Seven of the volunteers were diagnosed as schizophrenic and the other as a manic depressive psychotic” (Brown). All of the ps...

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...atients need and deserve.

Works Cited

Brown, Craig. "You Must Be Mad to Trust Your Shrink." LexisNexis Academic. LexisNexis, 17 Feb. 2004. Web. 20 Feb. 2011.

Hammond, Claudia. "One Flew into the Cuckoo's Nest; Health When a 1970s Psychologist Faked Symptoms of Mental Illness in Order to Study Psychiatric Treatment in Hospitals, the Results Caused Outrage. But Have Diagnostic Lessons Been Learnt, Asks Claudia Hammond." LexisNexis Academic. LexisNexis, 29 July 2009. Web. 20 Feb. 2011.

Rosenhan, David L. "On Being Sane in Insane Places." Science 19 Jan. 1973: 250-58. Print.

Scribner, Christopher M. "Rosenhan Revisited." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 32.2 (2001): 215-6. PsycARTICLES. Web. 20 Feb. 2011.

Walsh, Jason. "All in our heads: have we taken psychiatry too far?"Irish Times 14 Aug.2010, ProQuest Newsstand, ProQuest. Web. 10 Feb. 2011.
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