The Rosenhan Experiment: Being Sane in Insane Places


Because  am studying psychology, I find this so interesting! This study was conducted in 1973 by psychologist David Rosenhan who was out to prove that people cannot point out differences between psychopathic and normal people in a psychiatric hospital. His point being that in psychiatric hospitals, workers would not be able to see the differences in normal vs unstable patients because they were under previous assumptions about each patient and they did not actually look at them as individuals. I found this so interesting especially after knowing about other controversial studies done around the same time like Milgram’s eperiments and Phillip Zimbardo’s prison experiment. In Rosenhan’s experiment, he took normal participants and planted them in different mental hospitals. No one was detected as normal even after insisting so in the hospital to workers. Then, he called hospitals telling them he was going to plant pseudopatients in their hospitals but never did, and he discovered that over 42 patients were “discovered” and 48 more questioned, though none were there! I find this so interesting to look at how people alter there views of people around them based on the information they have on hand and how little people really see others. This was a great experiment to prove this, though it lacked much in the way of ethical principals. Still, this study proved a lot about human behavior and gave a lot to the psychology world. Love!

Rosenhan on Wikipedia


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