"...Commentator - "Laing was now a celebrity in America and was one of the leaders of what was called the 'Anti-psychiatry movement'.
Psychiatry, Laing said, was a fake science used as a system of political control to shore up a violent collapsing society. Its categories of madness and sanity had no reality. Madness was simply a convenient label used to lock away those who wanted to break free."
"Hundreds of young psychiatrists came to Laing's talks and one of them was inspired and decided to find a way of testing whether what Laing said was true or not. Could psychiatrists in America distinguish between madness and sanity?..."
"He was called David Rosenhan and he devised a dramatic experiment. He assembled 8 people, including himself, none of whom had ever had any psychiatric problems.
Each person was sent across the country to a specific mental hospital. At an agreed time, they all presented themselves at their hospital and told the psychiatrist on duty they were hearing a voice in their head that said the word "Thud". That was the only lie they should tell otherwise they were to behave and respond completely normally."
Question - "and then what happened?"
David Rosenhan - "They were all diagnosed as insane and admitted to the hospital."
Question - "All of them?"
David Rosenhan - "All of them."
Question - "And were any of them insane?"
David Rosenhan - "No. There was nobody who could have judged these people as insane. ... but I told friends, I told my family, I get out when I get out; that's all. Be there for a couple of days and then I get out. Nobody knew I would be there for 2 months!"
Commentator - "Once admitted, all 8 fake patients acted completely normally yet the hospitals refused to release them and diagnosed 7 as suffering from schizophrenia and one from bipolar disorder. They were all given powerful psychotropic drugs.
They found there was nothing they could do to convince the doctors they were sane and it quickly became clear that the only way out would be to agree that they were insane and then pretend to be getting better.
David Rosenhan - "The only way out was to point out that they're correct. They said I was insane, I am insane, but I am getting better. That was an affirmation of their view of me."
Commentator - "When Rosenhan finally got out and reported the experiment, there was an uproar. He was accused of trickery and deceit and one major hospital challenged him to send some more fakes to him, guaranteeing that they would spot them this time.
Rosenhan agreed and after a month, the hospital proudly announced that they had discovered 41 fakes. Rosenhan then revealed that he had sent no-one to the hospital." (!)