Click following link to check out a collection of classic articles that all psychology students should read.

Psychology Classics On Amazon

Psychology Classics

What Does Sensory Deprivation Do to a Person

by Danni
(Vancouver, Canada)

What are the psychological after effects of 96 hours light, sound, and human contact deprivation?

Comments for What Does Sensory Deprivation Do to a Person

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Potential Psychological Effects
by: Tuula Ryhänen

Sensory deprivation, particularly when it involves the absence of light, sound, and human contact for an extended period like 96 hours, can have profound psychological effects on individuals. These effects can vary depending on factors such as individual susceptibility, pre-existing psychological conditions, and personal coping mechanisms. Here are 10 potential psychological after effects of such deprivation:

1. Hallucinations and Distorted Perceptions: Prolonged sensory deprivation can lead to sensory distortions and hallucinations. The absence of external stimuli can cause the brain to generate its own sensory experiences, leading to visual, auditory, or even tactile hallucinations. These experiences can be vivid and unsettling.

2. Cognitive Disturbances: Individuals subjected to sensory deprivation may experience cognitive disturbances such as difficulties in concentration, memory lapses, and impaired problem-solving abilities. The lack of sensory input that the brain relies on for cognitive processing can disrupt normal cognitive functioning.

3. Emotional Instability: Isolation from external sensory experiences and human interaction can contribute to emotional instability. Feelings of anxiety, depression, irritability, and even emotional numbness can emerge as a result of the prolonged sensory deprivation.

4. Anxiety and Panic: The absence of external stimuli can lead to heightened awareness of internal bodily sensations, potentially inducing anxiety or even panic attacks. Individuals might become hyper-focused on their physiological processes, leading to increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and other anxiety-related symptoms.

5. Altered Time Perception: Sensory deprivation can distort individuals' perception of time. Without external cues like daylight or auditory cues, individuals might struggle to accurately track time, leading to feelings of timelessness or disorientation.

6. Changes in Sleep Patterns: Deprivation of natural light and sound cues can disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. Individuals might experience difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restorative sleep.

7. Self-Reflection and Introspection: In the absence of external distractions, some individuals might engage in deep self-reflection and introspection. This can lead to profound insights but might also exacerbate feelings of loneliness or existential distress.

8. Decreased Social Skills: Extended isolation from human contact can lead to a decline in social skills and an increased sense of social awkwardness. Interpersonal interactions might become challenging after such deprivation.

9. Sensory Overload After Release: When individuals are reintroduced to sensory stimuli after prolonged deprivation, they might experience sensory overload. Ordinary sensations might feel overwhelming, leading to anxiety or discomfort.

10. Coping Mechanisms: Different individuals respond differently to sensory deprivation. Some might develop coping mechanisms such as daydreaming, fantasy, or creating imaginary scenarios to counteract the lack of external stimuli.

It's important to note that while sensory deprivation research has provided valuable insights into the potential effects of extreme isolation, conducting such experiments raises ethical concerns due to the potential harm it can cause. Researchers must prioritize the well-being and mental health of participants and adhere to ethical guidelines when studying sensory deprivation.

Ultimately, the psychological after effects of 96 hours of light, sound, and human contact deprivation can range from sensory distortions and emotional instability to altered cognitive functioning and disrupted sleep patterns. These effects underscore the profound impact that sensory input and social interaction have on human psychological well-being.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Psychology Q & A.