Rosenhan Study

Aims
A1)To test the hypothesis that psychiatrists cannot reliably tell the difference between sane and insane people
A2)To see whether the characteristics that lead diagnosis are due to the patient (dispositional) or the situation

Study 1 IV
The made up symptoms of the pseudo patients

Study 1 DV
The diagnosis of the patients as insane by the psychiatrists

Participants
The patients were 8 (5 male, 3 female) sane pseudo patients, they were psychology grad students, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter, and a house wife.
The participants were the doctors and nurses who worked in the 12 hospital that were selected for the study.

Design
Participant observation because the experimenter, Rosenhan, was one of the pseudo patients

Procedure
The pseudo patients called the hospital and made an appointment, they then complained of hearing voices that said “empty”, “hollow”, “thud”. The patients told the truth about everything except their name, job, and the voices they were hearing. (This is here just in case anyone copies mine- JV) Once they were inside the patients said they felt fine and the symptoms had gone away. The patients took notes of the staff behavior, and they regarded this as abnormal. In order to be released, the patients had to convince the participants that they were sane.

Results
All 12 attempts to e admitted were successful, and were diagnosed with schizophrenia 11 times out of 12. They were hospitalized for an average of 19 days. Also, the people in the hospital that were actually insane were suspicious about the pseudo patients.

Conclusions
The diagnosis of the psychiatrists is reliable because they all admitted the patients. However it is not valid because pseudo patients were diagnosed as being insane, which questions whether psychiatrists can differentiate between the sane and insane.

Study 2 IV
False information given to hospital

Study 2 DV
Number of patients which staff suspected of being pseudo patients

Procedure
The hospitals were given the result of the first study and told that pseudo patients would be trying to admit them selves in to the hospital.

Results
Although none of the pseudo patients sought admission, 41 out of 193 real patients were suspected by at least one staff member to be fake and 23 by at least one psychiatrist.

Type 1 error
Diagnosing patients as sane but they are actually insane, shown in 2nd study

Type 2 error
Diagnosing patients as insane but they are actually sane, shown in 1st study

Conclusions
Supports the situational hypothesis because once you are given a label, you are judged based on that label.

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