CHAP. 19,"SANE IN INSANE PLACES"- ROSENHAN
•Deviance is the recognized violation of social norms.
David L. Rosenhan explores the social deviance of mental illness and the consequences of
labelling people “sane” or “insane”. Rosenhan is professor emeritus of psychology and law at
-Benedict suggested that normality and abnormality are not universal.
-What is seen normal in one culture may be seen as quite abnormal in another. Thus,
notions of normality and abnormality may not be quite as accurate as people believe
-If the sanity of such pseudopatients were always detected, there would be prima facie
evidence that a sane individual can be distinguished from the insane context in which
he is found.
-On the other hand, if the sanity of the pseudopatient were never discovered, serious
difficulties would arise for those who support traditional modes of psychiatric
-This article describes such an experiment: Eight sane people gained secret admission
to twelve different hospitals. Their diagnostic experiences constitute the data of the
first part of this article; the remainder is devoted to a description of their experience
in psychiatric institutions. The eight pseudopatients were a varied group. One was a
psych. Graduate student in his 20s. The remaining seven were older and
“established”. Among them were three psychologists, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a
painter, a housewife. Three pseudopatient were women, five were men.
-The psychological stress associated with hospitalization, were considerable, and all
but one of the pseudopatients desired to be discharged almost immediately after being
admitted. They were therefore, motivated not only to behave insanely, but to be
paragons (model, ideal) of cooperation.
-Reports concluded that these patients were friendly but no abnormal indications.
The Normal Are Not Detectably Sane
-Despite the public “show of sanity, the pseudopatients were never detected.
The Stickness of Psychodiagnostic Labels