Judging between Abnormal and Normal Behavior with the help of David Rosenhan's “Who’s Crazy Here, Anyway?”

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Being able to determine the difference between normal and abnormal behavior is crucial in psychology, but how can someone judge someone’s sanity? It is difficult to put boundaries on such a “soft” area, but there are certain criteria to help in diagnosis. One factor is Bizarreness of the Behavior, which depends greatly on the context in which the behavior occurs. Another is Persistence of Behavior. People can show abnormal behavior without having a mental health problem. However when that abnormal behavior is exhibited on a regular basis, a mental health problem may be present. Another criterion is Subjective Distress, when people are aware of their own psychological difficulties and the distress it brings them. Psychological Handicap is the term used when the subject finds it impossible to be content with life because of their psychological troubles. These are all guidelines to help depict normal and abnormal behavior in psychology.

David Rosenhan questioned whether these characteristics of mental health “reside in the patients or in the situations and contexts in which the observ...
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