Rosenhan contacted some friends and colleagues to take part in his study. They would be called pseudopatients, there were 3 women and 5 men of different professions and ages.
To be admitted, they had to attend a clinical interview and Rosenhan had trained them in what symptoms to present. They would pretend to hear voicesand demonstrate schizophrenic behaviour so that they were admitted.
Do it again!
When they were admitted, Rosenhan told the head of the hospital of the deception. The pseudo patients immediately stopped pretending to hear voices and took out notebooks to take notes of their surroundings as an unstructured observation.
As soon as they were admitted they asked to be discharged and flushed away their medication but the staff did not want to approach them and as a result some patients ended up in the hospital for long periods of time.
When Rosenhan told the hospitals about the study, they told him to do the study again and send more pseudopatients in and they would spot them.
Staff were given a questionnaire to rate each new patient on a 10 point scale, 9-10 meaning they were confident the patient was actually ill and 1-2 meaning they though they were a pseudopatient.