The staff can’t tell the difference.
“We cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals,” Rosenhan reported. Moreover, he added, “it’s the hospitals themselves that might be ‘insane,’ rather than the patients confined there.”
Some of the evidence:
* Of the eight experimenters, seven were diagnosed as schizophrenics; one was diagnosed as “a victim of manic-depressive psychosis.”
* And when they were released, they were described as “improved,” or “in remission,” but no doctors listed any of them as “cured.”
* The staff at the institutions never suspected the eight experimenters weren’t crazy …but the real patients did.
* Perlman writes, “Many of the real patients challenged them. ‘You’re not crazy,’ they insisted. ‘You’re a journalist or a professor. You’re checking up on the hospital.’” Rosenhan’s wry comment on the subject: “The fact that the patients often recognized normality when staff did not raises important questions.”
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