Tuesday, June 09, 2009

How mad are you?

I'm watching this BBC documentary now. It's an interesting experiment.

Take ten volunteers, half have psychiatric disorders, the other half don't - but who is who? Three leading experts in mental health attempt to spot which volunteers have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Can you guess who the ones with the disorders are?

The inspiration came from the Rosenhan experiment, conducted in 1972, when Dr David Rosenhan and 7 friends tried to gain admission to psychiatric hospitals. All were healthy, but everyone of them was diagnosed as mentally ill and some kept in hospital for 52 days. The results of the experiment shocked psychiatry to the core.

The study concluded, "It is clear that we cannot distinguish the sane from the insane in psychiatric hospitals" and also illustrated the dangers of depersonalization and labeling in psychiatric institutions.

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