Stories tagged sensory deprivation

Oct
23
2009

Stay sober, stay stimulated: Stay off sensory deprivation! Oh... wait... that wasn't the point of the study?
Stay sober, stay stimulated: Stay off sensory deprivation! Oh... wait... that wasn't the point of the study?Courtesy mikebaird
Stay in school, little dudes. That’s important. Also, stay off drugs. That’s also important.

Why? Because school embiggens your brain. And because drugs interfere with the brain embiggening process. Your uppers, your downers, your sliders, your narcotics, your kool-aid/cough syrup concoctions, your hallucinogens… they’re all dangerous, they will all keep you from focusing your brainwaves and chi and stuff.

But it’s easy avoiding those effects, right? The secret is to just not do drugs, right?

Wrong! Just 15 minutes of sensory deprivation can trigger hallucination! That’s just you and your brain, alone together in a totally quiet and dark room, making each other craaaaazy!

200 participants were given a questionnaire to determine how prone each person was to hallucinations. 9 of the highest scorers (that is, they had a high propensity for hallucination) and 10 of the lowest scorers (the least likely to hallucinate) were then (after volunteering) placed individually into an anechoic chamber. The anechoic chamber is build to muffle as much external sound as possible, and there’s no light inside, so once the participants were shut inside, they were in complete darkness and silence for the 15-minute duration of the test.

The study found:

“Of the nine volunteers who had high scores on the first questionnaire, almost all reported experiencing something "very special or important" while inside the chamber. Six saw objects that were not there, five had hallucinations of faces, four reported a heightened sense of smell, and two felt there was an evil presence in the chamber with them.”

Even the participants who scored low on the first test experienced hallucinations and delusions, although not as heavily as the first group.

The research seems to support the idea that hallucinations (or some hallucinations) are caused by the brain misidentifying its own thoughts and activity as something that comes from outside the body. So… you bring your crazy with you into the sensory deprivation chamber, I guess.

You hear that kids? If you’re not careful, and, like, accidentally fall into a sensory depravation chamber, your straightedge lifestyle will suddenly count for nothing! And you won’t get into your favorite ivy-league college, you little junky, you. So, whatever you do, stay stimulated! And if you ever do get trapped in an anechoic chamber, try to create your own sensory experiences until help arrives. I can't recommend whistling, because you’ll need your mouth for the arm-licking that I do recommend. But I think you should be able to hum and lick your arm at the same time, so do that. And, if you’re able, fart like crazy. With all this stimuli, you should be able to maintain some level of sobriety until a fireman axes the box open to find you sanely humming, licking your arm, and farting.

The more you know. You know?

Feb
19
2007

Are prisons doing more harm than good?: Photo Library of Congress
Are prisons doing more harm than good?: Photo Library of Congress

A few weeks ago, Time magazine ran an article on supermax prisons – ones where every prisoner is held in solitary confinement. The article noted that sensory deprivation is known to cause mental breakdowns, and asked if these prisoners weren't driving prisoners insane.

Blogger Steven K. Erickson of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation feels the comparison is inapt. The experience of the prisoner in solitary, though boring, is nothing like being sealed in a sensory deprivation tank.