Article Review "on Being Sane in Insane Places" by David Rosenhan
Rosenhan discusses a series of experiments that he participated in involving psychiatric institutions and the effect of misdiagnoses of psychological disorders on the patients admitted to the hospitals. Rosenhan’s research shows us that the labels associated with mental illness (particularly schizophrenia) have a significant impact on the way patients are treated.
1-15). While Rosenhan points out from the very beginning that the concepts “sane” and “insane” are problematic—due to cultural differences and interpretations—he nonetheless adheres to a simplified understanding of deviant and non-deviant behavior. In this way, the terms “sane” and “insane” do not necessarily have to be defined—as they can be measured in perceived sanity or insanity, through diagnosis. In this way, the experiment is turned to perceived illness as compared to whether the behaviors associated to that illness are acted out. He claims that normality (and therefore abnormality) “is distinct enough that it can be recognized wherever it occurs” (p. 236).
Each pseudopatient gave a false name and job, but they otherwise gave true details about their lives—its ups and downs, their relationships, and their life histories.
Akers, R. L., & Sellers, C. S. (2012) Criminological theories: introduction, evaluation, and application (Sixth ed.). USA: Oxford University Press.
Rosenhan, D. L. (1973). On Being Sane in Insane Places. Science, 179, 235-242.