Committing someone to a mental health facility against their will is never an easy thing to do. But if they're truly ill, then they need to get help. If it turns out that they weren't ill, then you can have faith that the doctors will eventually figure it out and release them...right?
Well, if the results of this 1973 experiment are to be believed, I wouldn't count on it.
So he did.
He and his team chose a well-known hospital whose staff was familiar with the results of his last experiment. Rosenhan told the staff that over the next three months, one or more pseudopatients would attempt to gain admittance to the hospital. Over the course of the experiment, the staff only identified 41 of the 191 individuals who were supposedly pseudopatients. But here's the twist. Rosenhan never actually sent them any. Naturally, Rosenhan's findings stirred up quite a bit of controversy.