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Copy of Rosenhan 1973 Being Sane in Insane Places

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sam shaw

on 22 November 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Rosenhan 1973 Being Sane in Insane Places

Rosenhan 1973
Being Sane in Insane Places
Can we tell the sane and insane apart?
Do we think people are insane for what
they do? Or where they are?

Rosenhan set up a study to test whether or not psychiatrists could reliably diagnose mental illnesses

Psychiatrists cannot reliably tell the difference between people who are sane and insane.

8 people volunteered to be 'psuedo-patients'

3 psychologists (one was Rosenhan)
1 graduate,
1 pediatrician (all men)
3 housewives.
They were not the participants!
The participants were the hospital workers

Each of the hospitals were called and
emergency interviews were arranged.
The psuedo-patients gave a false name
and false symptoms: hearing voices
saying 'thud' 'hollow' and 'empty.'

This was the only false information
they gave. All other questions about their
lives the 'patients' answered truthfully.
EVERY patient was admitted to
7/8 with a diagnoses of Schizophrenia.
EVERY 'patient' wanted to leave
at this point but were told they had
to use their own devices to get

They had an average stay
of 19 days, with a range of 7-52 days!
The patients stopped displaying
all symptoms from the moment they
were admitted.

If asked for symptoms: I'm having no symptoms I feel fine.
During their stay the psuedo-patients made
extensive notes on :
Their treatment
The treatment of other patients
Interaction with staff
Interaction with other patients.

The note taking was never questioned
by any of the staff. (Though one nurse noted
it as 'writing behaviour')

85/135 Patients were quick to notice and one said: 'you're not crazy, you're writing a report on the hospital!'

Despite this, no member of staff ever questioned
the diagnoses of schizophrenia.
The psuedopatients were given a total of 2100 medical tablets BETWEEN THEM during their stay all but the first dose was flushed away. Other patients did this too!

It was noted that each patient had less than 7 minutes time with a psychiatrist per day and found it hard to engage with their Dr unless they were specifically after them.
Refers to the feeling of being cut off, powerless and being unsure of one's identity

Each day the psuedo-patients would approach members
of staff and ask a question about 'ward privileges'
It was also observed that patients were often disproportionately mistreated for 'minor offenses.' Many patients were beaten or verbally abused in front of other patients but not in front of staff.

All of these factors lead to: DEPERSONALISATION.
Overall Results:
NONE of the psuedopatients were detected!
When they were discharged, they were discharged with: Schizophrenia in remission
Patients behaviour was distorted to fit the diagnoses
"It is clear we are unable to distinguish the sane
from the insane in psychiatric hospitals."
Behaviour was interpreted according to staff's expectations, not the
actual behaviours shown by the psuedopatients. This is a result of labeling
Psychiatrists are prone to making type 2 errors.
The attitude and behaviour of staff can lead to depersonalisation

Field Experiment using Participant Observation

IV: Behaviour of Psuedo-Patients
DV: Change in diagnosis

Environment: 12 different Mental Hospitals across the US

Qualitative and Quantitative Data
When asked about ward privelages

4% of the time psychiatrists stopped to talk about them.
71% of the time psychiatrists did not make eye contact and walked on.
88% of the time nurses didn't make eye contact and walked on
90% of time nurses spent in ward offices
Full transcript