Insane Places Evaluation

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David Rosenhan is known for the classic, yet controversial study “On Being Sane in Insane Places” of progress within the mental health field. Rosenhan’s study (1973) of eight people with no previous history of mental illness were admitted at various mental hospitals in America and complained of individual symptoms (auditory illusions, e.g., ‘thud’). He investigated whether psychiatrists could distinguish between those genuinely mentally ill and not. Each pseudopatient behaved normally, and symptoms were not re-reported. However, the average length of hospitalisation was 19 days. This shows context has a powerful role in determining how behaviour is labelled. This led to question the truth in psychiatric diagnoses. The predominant issue was unauthorised diagnoses and needless treatments for a fictional mental illness tolerably accepted. Today, it is the difficulty in gaining treatment for real symptoms of mental disorders. Rosenhan’s hypothesis was clearly and precisely operationalised (defined variables) to easily test whether patients behaviour (independent variable, IV) influenced diagnoses (dependent variable, DV). The sample were staff (nurses and doctors) in the hospitals. It allows us to understand unique views of…show more content…
It provided unique insights as behaviour was directly observed in its context. It is appropriate in the real world due to mundane realism therefore, highly ecologically valid. However, this method has difficulty controlling extraneous variables (EV’s), as it is likely that other significant phenomena may have affected objectivity. A confounding variable (e.g., within the hospital) may not have been recognised, thus effected the interpretations of the labels. Also, the participants were not randomly selected or allocated to conditions which may reduce validity, nevertheless, it is the only way to study certain
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