Sensory deprivation, a new area of investigation in psychology and psychiatry,1 has long been familiar to students of certain types of literature. Autobiographical reports from explorers and shipwrecked sailors2-5 have indicated that gross mental abnormalities such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorientation can occur in persons who are isolated for any length of time. More recently,6 during the Korean conflict, the effect of sensory deprivation was observed in American prisoners of war who were placed in a highly controlled environment, impoverished of sensory stimuli.
The experimental study of sensory deprivation was begun by the psychologists Bexton, Heron, and Scott,7 in Hebb's Laboratory at McGill University in 1953. These investigators were concerned originally with the practical problem of "lapses in attention" which occur when a man must perform monotonous repetitive acts over a long period of time. In their study, using 22 college men, they
LEIDERMAN H, MENDELSON JH, WEXLER D, SOLOMON P. Sensory Deprivation: Clinical Aspects. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(2):389–396. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260140221032
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