ABSTRACT

I NA WIDELY publicized, much-quoted study published atthe beginning of 1973, D. L. Rosenhan, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, reported how he and seven colleagues managed to pass themselves off as 'schizophrenics' and get committed to twelve mental hospitals in the United States simply by declaring that they heard voices saying the single words 'empty', 'hollow', and 'thud' (Rosenhan 1973). Beyond complaining of this symptom and falsifying their names, vocations, and employment, the eight researchers made no further alterations of their personal histories or family relationships. Nonetheless, despite ceasing to simulate any psychiatric 4 abnormality whatsoever once admitted to hospital, they were confined for periods ranging from seven to fifty-two days (the average length ofstay being nineteen days) before being released, having been diagnosed, in the majority of cases, as schizophrenics whose symptoms had temporarily remitted.