Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

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Sociologist David Rosenhan sought to examine how difficult it would be for people to shed the “mentally ill” label. As you know from your text (page 65) and the video clip (Dr. Rosenhan’s article is also in the Content section under “Interesting Links”) the pseudopatients did not exhibit any symptoms after admission to the hospital. Ironically, their sanity was not detected by hospital staff, but it was detected by the actual patients in the hospitals. At no time
during their stay in the hospital was the legitimacy of their schizophrenic label questioned. It was simply assumed that they were schizophrenic, and everything the pseudopatients did and said while in the mental institutions was understood from this premise. Rosenhan concluded that the staff were doing their jobs as designed and made no
conscious effort to misconstrue the evidence.

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