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November 1961

Sleep Deprivation: Transactional and Subjective Observations

Author Affiliations

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;5(5):453-461. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710170031003

The importance of subjective changes during sleep deprivation has been recognized since the first experimental studies in 1896.1 * The essential step in understanding the subjective changes and experiences is to examine the context of consciousness † in which they occur and the environmental interactions wherein they are experienced, revealed, and discussed. Also, factors other than sheer sleep loss per se are important variables. ‡

This paper focuses upon the impact of transactions between staff and sleep-deprived subjects and the influences of the subjects upon one another. The major conclusions reached are as follows: The subjective experiences of sleep-deprived subjects must be evaluated in the context of the total environment; a purely intrapsychic view is insufficient if not misleading. Further, the subjective experiences in these subjects were not alien and inexplicable events, but extensions of already present, usually covert, personality features. Finally, the degree

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