Behavioral and Physiological Effects of Prolonged Sensory and Perceptual Deprivation: A Review
During the past 15 years considerable experimental interest has been shown in the behavioral and physiological effects resulting from the exposure of human subjects to a reduction in the level and variability of visual, auditory, and tactual-kinesthetic stimulation. The attempts to achieve such a reduction in environmental stimulation are commonly referred to by such terms as sensory isolation, sensory deprivation, and perceptual deprivation. Although interest in this field has had a long history, the first experimental work began in 1951 at McGill University, Montreal, under the direction of Professor D. O. Hebb. Its purpose was to further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying "brainwashing", and of the lapses of attention noted under monotonous environmental conditions, such as watching a radar screen. This chapter examines the survey of the North American and Japanese literature, with only limited attention to the scanty European research.