'The Great Pretender' Seeks The Truth About 'On Being Sane In Insane Places' (Rosenhan experiment)

The Great Pretender

The Great Pretender

The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness

by Susannah Cahalan

Hardcover, 382 pages


In 1973, psychologist and Stanford University professor David Rosenhan published a journal article that shook the world of psychiatry to its core.

“On Being Sane in Insane Places” was the result of a study in which eight people without mental illness got themselves admitted to psychiatric institutions — Rosenhan wanted to see whether mental health professionals could actually distinguish between psychologically well people and those with mental illnesses.



I read the original study and didn’t feel the evidence the study presented supported the conclusions it made. I hadn’t considered the evidence might have been fabricated in the first place.