Sensory Deprivation

The following summary is excerpted from an article in "Floating", Fall 1987. called,"Did it Really Start With Monotony?"

Sensory Deprivation History Summary

...Prior to Lilly's work, research had been done in 1951 at McGill University, Canada, by psychologist D.O. Hebbs, labeled "sensory deprivation".

"The aim of the project was to obtain basic information on how human beings would react in situations where nothing was happening. The purpose was not to cut individuals off from any sensory stimulation whatever, but to remove all patterned or perceptual stimulation, so far as we could arrange it."

This research was sponsored by the Canadian Defense Research Board in an attempt to solve a specific problem: the effect on workers such as radar observers and truck drivers with very monotonous jobs who experience a wide variety of sensory distortions. They see and hear things which aren't real and that produce an effect on their performance.

Years later, 1961, Hebb published an introductory note in the book, "Sensory Deprivation" which shed light on the true original purpose..."the work we have done at McGill University began, actually, with the problem of "brainwashing".We were not permitted to say so in the first publishing. What we did say however was true-

Sensory Deprivation By John Lilly

By Permission from Chapter 3 of the Deep Self John Lilly says:

In the 1950s, several research projects were started that were called "sensory deprivation." In our experience in the tank ("physical isolation"), there has been no psychological state that can be termed "sensory deprivation." In the absence of sensory input (and physical output), we have found no "deprived" states except those created by Self-metaprogramming. The latter are reprogrammable into richly elaborate states of inner experience.
Apparently the term "sensory deprivation" was invented by those psychologists who did not do self-investigation and who did experiments on subjects, expecting a "deprivation state" in the isolated circumstances. In a series of over three hundred subjects we have found no such states of "deprivation," nor the predicated "stress" of physical isolation.