13 Santa Clara Lawyer 379 (1972-1973)
On Being Sane in Insane Places

handle is hein.journals/saclr13 and id is 395 raw text is: ON BEING SANE IN INSANE PLACESt
D. L. Rosenhan*
INTRODUCTION
If sanity and insanity exist, how shall we know them?
The question is neither capricious nor itself insane. However
much we may be personally convinced that we can tell the normal
from the abnormal, the evidence is simply not compelling. It is
commonplace, for example, to read about murder trials wherein
eminent psychiatrists for the defense are contradicted by equally
eminent psychiatrists for the prosecution on the matter of the
defendant's sanity. More generally, there are a great deal of con-
flicting data on the reliability, utility, and meaning of such terms as
sanity, insanity, .... mental illness, and schizophrenia.'  Fi-
nally, as early as 1934, Benedict suggested that normality and ab-
normality are not universal.2  What is viewed as normal in one cul-
ture may be seen as quite aberrant in another. Thus, notions of
t This article was originally published in SCIENCE, Jan. 19, 1973, vol. 179
at 250, copyright 1973 by the American Association for the Advancement of
Science. The article is reprinted here with the permission of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science and the author, Dr. D.L. Rosen-
han.
* B.A., Yeshiva College, 1951; M.A., Columbia University, 1953; Ph.D.,
Columbia University, 1958. The author is professor of psychology and law at
Stanford University, Stanford, California. Portions of these data were presented
to colloquims of the psychology departments at the University of California at
Berkeley and at Santa Barbara; University of Arizona, Tucson; and Harvard
University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1. P. Ash, The Reliability of Psychiatric Diagnoses, 44 J. OF ABNORMAL
AND SOCIAL PSYCHOL. 272 (1949); A.T. Beck, Reliability of Psychiatric Diag-
nosis: A Critique of Systematic Studies, 119 AM. J. OF PSYCHIATRY 210 (1962);
A.T. Boisen, Types of Dementia Praecox-A Study in Psychiatric Classifica-
tion, 1 PSYCIATRY 233 (1938); N. Kreitman, The Reliability of Psychiatric
Diagnosis, 107 J. MENT. Sci. 876 (1961); N. Kreitman, P. Sainsbury, J. Mor-
risey, J. Towers, J. Scrivener, The Reliability of Psychiatric Assessment: An
Analysis, 107 J. MENT. Sci. 887 (1961); H.O. Schmidt and C.P. Fonda, The
Reliability of Psychiatric Diagnosis: A New Look, 52 J. OF ABNORMAL AND
SOCIAL PSYCHOL. 262 (1956); W. Seeman, Psychiatric Diagnosis: An Investi-
gation of Interperson Reliability After Didactic Instruction, 118 J. OF NERvous
& MENTAL DIsEASE 541 (1953). For an analysis of these artifacts and sum-
maries of the disputes, see L. Phillips and J.G. Draguns, -, 22 ANNu. REv. OF
PSYCHOL. 447 (1971); J. Zubin, Classification of The Behavior Disorders, 18
ANNU. REV. OF PSYCHOL. 373 (1967).
2. R. Benedict, Anthropology & The Abnormal, 10 J. GENERAL PSYCHOL.
59 (1934).

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