MSL 19 Summary + Key Points for final

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Published on 26 Apr 2011
On Being Sane In Insane Places
by: David Rosenhan
(Crime and Deviance)
Social deviance of mental illness and the consequence of labeling people sane or
It is hard to define what sanity, or insanity are because of the conflicting data
1934 Benedict suggested that normality and abnormality are not universal- dependent
on culture
The judgement of psychiatrists are often harmful and misleading, because they are
form the perspective of the observer and are not valid summaries of characteristics
displayed by the observed
Normality (or abnormality) should always be distinguishable, not just within the context
that its found
8 Sane people were admitted to different hospitals for people who are insane
They lied and said they heard same sex voices that were unclear- this typically
represents the perceived meaninglessness of ones life
Other than lying about their name, vocation, and occupation, everything else was true
(relationships with parents, children, spouses) and they stopped simulating symptoms
as soon as they were admitted
Once they entered the hospital, they had no knowledge of when they would be
released, and therefore had to prove their sanity to be released
They took notes, at first privately, then publicly (because no one cared) about their
experiences, and their environment
Their reports said that patients were: “friendly, cooperative, and exhibited no abnormal
Most of the patients were discharged with a diagnosis of schizophrenia in remission”,
not as sane.
This is evidence that once someone is labelled as schizophrenic, the label stuck
with them
Failure to recognize sanity
Patients often recognized the pseudo-patients as sane- Youre not crazy. Youre a
journalist, or a professor or something. Youre checking up on the hospital
the fact that patients recognized this and healthcare professionals is important to
It is more common for a physician to call the type 2 error, more inclined to call a
healthy person sick than a sick person healthy because it is more dangerous to
misdiagnose someone healthy, than to misdiagnose then sick.
False positive, type 2- calling a healthy person sick
False negative, type 1- calling a sick person healthy
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