[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1976

More on Pseudoscience in Science and the Case for Psychiatric DiagnosisA Critique of D. L. Rosenhan's "On Being Sane in Insane Places" and "The Contextual Nature of Psychiatric Diagnosis"

Author Affiliations

From Biometrics Research, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the Department of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(4):459-470. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770040029007

• Rosenhan's 1973 article,1 "On Being Sane in Insane Places," was pseudoscience presented as science. Just as his pseudopatients were diagnosed at discharge as having "schizophrenia in remission," so a careful examination of this study's methods, results, and conclusions leads to a diagnosis of "logic in remission." Rosenhan's study proves that pseudopatients are not detected by psychiatrists as having simulated signs of mental illness and that the implementation of certain invalid research designs can make psychiatrists appear foolish. These rather unremarkable findings are irrelevant to the real problems of the reliability and validity of psychiatric diagnosis and only serve to obscure them. A correct interpretation of his own data contradicts his conclusions. There are purposes to psychiatric diagnosis that Rosenhan's article ignores. His more recent suggestion that certain requirements be met prior to the adoption of a new psychiatric classification system is unrealistic.