On Being Sane in Insane Australian Places: Robin Winkler’s Pseudo-Patient Experiments

This abstract has open access
Abstract Summary
After conducting path-breaking experiments on introducing token economies in mental hospitals, Australian psychologist Robin Winkler spent a sabbatical in the United States (1970-1971). There, he became acquainted with anti-psychiatry and initiatives in community mental health. After returning to Australia, he repeated David Rosenhan’s famous experiment On Being Sane in Insane Places. After two (mentally healthy) psychology students were admitted to a mental hospital, they behaved normally and made observations about the care provided (which left much to be desired). He also conducted a pseudo-patient experiment with general practitioners; students visited them and presented symptoms of depression. In general, discussions between physicians and pseudo-patients were short, no referrals were organised, and all received prescriptions. Winkler conducted these experiments for two reasons. First, he thought that they provided unique insights into the nature of mental hospitals and general practice (he recommended that they were repeated every few years). Second, these experiments were part of a broader critique on the place of medicine in modern society. Winkler was part of a small group of radical psychologists that criticized psychiatry and medicine during the 1970s and 1980s to realize change.
Abstract ID :
HSS589
Submission Type
Abstract Topic
Chronological Classification :
20th century, late
Self-Designated Keywords :
anti-psychiatry, mental hospital, deinstitutionalization, community mental health, mental illness.

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