Segments in this Video

Challenging Psychology (01:25)


In the 19th century, madness became a disease to be managed by experts. In 1887, journalist Elizabeth Cochran faked insanity to be placed inside an asylum. Psychologist David Rosenhan did a similar experiment 85 years later.

Rosenhan's Experiment: Context (03:00)

In the 1960s experts argued against the validity of psychiatry. Rosenhan decided to test the reliability of psychiatric diagnosis. He found seven people willing to try to get admitted into hospitals as psychiatric patients.

Rosenhan's Experiment: Methodology (02:45)

The pseudopatients only pretended one symptom, to hear a voice giving a false ID; they were all diagnosed as insane. Once admitted, the pseudopatients behaved like they normally would. Experts discuss the study's aims.

Rosenhan's Experiment: Findings and Explanation (07:50)

None of the hospital staff detected the pseudopatients; the average stay was 19 days. Rosenhan did a second study where hospital identified 41 pseudopatients; Rosenhan did not send them any. Experts discuss current behavior and past history being reinterpreted to fit the diagnosis, Rosenhan's patient observation study, and the validity of his experiment.

Rosenhan's Experiment: Relevance Today? (03:42)

Rosenhan's experiment warns us about the dangers of labeling. The American Psychiatric Association discovered over 200 new mental illnesses since 1973; antidepressant prescriptions are nearly 40 million per year. A study in 1993 and a BBC program in 2008 reveals inconsistencies in mental illness diagnosis.

Credits: Rosenhan's Experiment: Being Sane in Insane Places (00:26)

Credits: Rosenhan's Experiment: Being Sane in Insane Places

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Rosenhan's Experiment: Being Sane in Insane Places

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3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



David Rosenhan’s famous experiment in 1973, where a group of pseudopatients were admitted to psychiatric hospitals after feigning auditory hallucinations, challenged the whole basis of psychiatric diagnosis and care. This program examines the context of the study, the pseudopatient experience of being sane in insane places, how critics evaluated the study, and the continuing implications for the diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill in contemporary society. Featuring interviews with experts, clear insights into the critical structures and history of psychiatry, and an engagingly complete overview of the issues surrounding the experiment, this is a revealing look at psychiatry today.

Length: 20 minutes

Item#: BVL94188

ISBN: 978-1-60057-916-5

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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