On Being Sane In Insane Places By David L. Rosenthal Case Study

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In 1973, David L. Rosenthal started a provocative study of mental hospital. This study is “On Being Sane in Insane Places”. Rosenthal motivation was to figure out if psychologist, psychiatrist, and other mental health professionals could really distinguish between the mentally ill and the mentally healthy based on a diagnosis brought upon certain characteristics. Those characteristics included the context of the behavior, the persistence of the behavior, the social deviance the person presents, their subjective distress, the psychological handicap they might experience, and the effects on their functioning that the behavior might cause (Hock, 2013).
Rosenthal decided to start this study because he questioned if those characteristics that created
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They were all instructed to make an appointment and only complain about hearing voices that said “empty,” “hollow,” and “thud.” Other than complaining about the voice, they were to act completely normal and be truthful during their interview. All eight of them were admitted into the hospitals and all but one were diagnosed with schizophrenia. After admission, they were instructed to drop all of the symptoms, act completely normal, and become model patients. They had no idea when they would be allowed to leave so it depended on them to show the mental health professional on releasing them. The only activity that Rosenthal required of them to do during the rest of they stay at the hospital was to take notes. At first they tried to hid the note-taking, however, they soon discover that it was pointless since all of the observers merely thought that it was just another symptom of their illness (Hock, …show more content…
On Rosenthal’s study we can clearly see how these errors can have a significant influence on how mental health professional can err in the perception they have on patients. One of the threats for the assessors that we are able to appreciate in this study is the representative heuristic. This is when the assessor judges the patients, in this case the pseudopatient, based on biases and stereotypes. They reduce people and all of their behaviors to fit into one sterotype. An example of this was when they perceived the note-taking as another sign of paranoia. Another example was how the patients stories were seen from a point of view were they became a causation for the disorder. For example, one of the true stories was as

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