On Being Sane In Insane Places – Book Report/Review Example

The paper "On Being Sane In Insane Places" is an excellent example of a psychology book report.
The understanding of what constitutes normality or mental illness is a controversial issue. While there is a commonly held notion that specially trained professionals can easily diagnose and tell whether an individual is sane or insane, the case might be different. Rosenhan hypothesizes that the definition of sane or insane is dependent on the labels applied in different settings and contexts, as opposed to universally held standards of diagnosis (Rosenhan, n.p.). The definitions of normality and abnormality are not universal. Therefore, what is considered to be normal in one society and culture could be abnormal to another society or culture. Thus, the question of normality and abnormality, sanity or insanity, cannot be generalized under different circumstances, settings, contexts, cultures, and societies (Rosenhan, n.p.).
The methodology applied under this study was an experimental study, where a group of eight pseudopatients, comprising of a young psychology graduate, 3 psychologists, a pediatrician, a psychiatrist, a painter, and a housewife were admitted to 12 different psychiatrist hospitals, under false pretenses of being sick (Rosenhan, n.p.). They changed their names and gave wrong impressions of their occupations, to avoid raising suspicion. Their presence and the nature of the research they were undertaking were not known to the hospital staff (Rosenhan, n.p.). All the pseudopatients collected data posing as psychologically ill, and all of them were neither suspected nor declared sane. They were discharged under schizophrenia “in remission”, a clear indication that they were actually held as psychologically ill (Rosenhan, n.p.). The conclusions of this study were that sanity or insanity is not universal, and is only dependent on the setting.
The paper merits the designation of being an important or “classical study" in Psychology, since the research done was scientific and the findings and conclusions reached are plausible.