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Joselyn wasn’t too keen on multiple choice in high school. She vividly remembers the first biology exam she passed by only the skin of her teeth, which dragged her overall average down into the embarrassingly low 90s (she doesn’t want to talk about it). After swearing off any high school or university courses that required multiple choice tests, Joselyn managed to get an English degree by sweet-talking her professors into offering only essay-style exams. Needless to say, this did not exactly endear her to her peers. This rocky start smoothed out in time, though, and after tumbling down a black quiz hole one day while putting off job hunting, Joselyn realized her hatred of all things a-b-or-c had faded and she actually enjoyed dreaming up new ideas for questions and dangerously correct-sounding answers. You won’t find her quizzes an easy ride, but Joselyn just wants to make sure you’re really testing your knowledge.
The Rosenhan experiment was an experiment conducted to determine the validity of psychiatric diagnosis and remains one of the most important anti-psychiatry studies. In the experiment, eight “normal” and mentally healthy researchers tried to gain admission, through diagnosis, to some American mental hospitals. They did that by feigning hallucinations and claiming that they heard voices. Seven were diagnosed as schizophrenic and admitted. Once in the hospital they behaved normally and were ignored when they politely asked for information. They later reported that their dialogist label of schizophrenia meant they had low status and power in the hospital.
Later on, they came clean and admitted they had no symptoms and felt fine. But it took nearly three weeks before they were discharged, often with the diagnosis “schizophrenia in remission.” So normal, healthy people could easily be diagnosable as “abnormal.” But could the reverse happen? The same researchers told the psychiatric hospital staff that fake, or pseudopatients, pretending to be schizophrenic may try to gain access to their hospital. They then found that 19 genuine patients were suspected as frauds by two or more members of staff, including a psychiatrist. The conclusion was that it is not possible to distinguish the sane from the insane in mental hospitals. Though this famous study has received considerable criticism on ethical and experimental grounds, it played a big role in the anti-psychiatry movement.
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