David over at Quark Soup yesterday linked to a fascinating excerpt from Lauren Slater’s new book Opening Skinner’s Box. Slater is the woman who wrote Prozac Diary. She’s a psychologist who has suffered mental illness herself. She’s also a terrific writer, her stuff so raw that at times it’s uncomfortable to read. In the piece excerpted in the Guardian, she talks about a famous 1972 experiment in which eight sane people feign mental illness to get themselves admitted to psychiatric hospitals. Slater repeats the experiment. It’s riveting to see how the system handles her trickery today.