response paper 5

response paper 5 - observer and are not valid summaries of...

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Kevin Phipps March 4, 2009 TA: Sara Keene Response Paper #5 Question 1 Defining normal is a much more difficult task than one might imagine. For example, as D.L. Rosenhan says, “What is viewed as normal in one culture may be seen as quite aberrant in another.” With such variations from culture to culture, how is it possible to finalize one definition of “normal?” Doing in not very easy as in many cases, normal is more of an opinion than a fact. We often are led to believe that people in a mental institution clearly belong and are therefore insane. However, it appears that the distinction between sane and insane is much more subjective. For example, a family member of someone in a mental institution is much less likely to label them as insane as is a stranger. By placing the eight sane people inside a mental institution, the hypothesis was tested that “psychiatric diagnoses… are in the mind of the
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Unformatted text preview: observer and are not valid summaries of characteristics displayed by the observed.” The fact that the completely sane pseudopatients were not immediately discovered as frauds gives merit to this theory. Medical workers who are intended to cure for the insane, and to understand the difference between sane and insane were unable to make the distinction. This likely is due to the fact that the insane are assigned “tags,” as doctors label them as insane. It is nearly impossible for them to overcome these tags as everyone assumes that the professionals know best. Thus, it is not the behavior of an individual that establishes their sanity, but rather is labels created by the observer, and retained particularly in the case of those that are distanced emotionally from the patient....
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