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Sensory deprivation

From Academic Kids

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A prisoner at the United States Camp X-ray facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba being subjected to sensory deprivation, through the use of ear muffs, visor, breathing mask and heavy mittens.

Sensory deprivation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds and earmuffs can cut off sight and hearing, while more complex devices can also cut off the sense of smell, touch, taste, thermoception (heat-sense), and 'gravity'. Sensory deprivation has been used in various alternative medicines and in psychological experiments (see floatation tank), and for torture or punishment.

Contents

Examples on Film/Television

Altered States starring Blair Brown and William Hurt Simon starring Alan Arkin

The Ipcress File (starring Michael Caine) featured a variation on sensory deprivation in the final scene.

In the television series 24 government agents have used sensory deprivation as a method of interrogation.

The five sensory deprivation techniques

In 1978 in the European Court of Human Rights trial "Ireland v. the United Kingdom" the facts were not in dispute and the court published the following in their judgement:

These methods, sometimes termed "disorientation" or "sensory deprivation" techniques, were not used in any cases other than the fourteen so indicated above. It emerges from the Commission's establishment of the facts that the techniques consisted of:
(a) wall-standing: forcing the detainees to remain for periods of some hours in a "stress position", described by those who underwent it as being "spreadeagled against the wall, with their fingers put high above the head against the wall, the legs spread apart and the feet back, causing them to stand on their toes with the weight of the body mainly on the fingers";
(b) hooding: putting a black or navy coloured bag over the detainees' heads and, at least initially, keeping it there all the time except during interrogation;
(c) subjection to noise: pending their interrogations, holding the detainees in a room where there was a continuous loud and hissing noise;
(d) deprivation of sleep: pending their interrogations, depriving the detainees of sleep;
(e) deprivation of food and drink: subjecting the detainees to a reduced diet during their stay at the centre and pending interrogations.

It referred to the above as "the five techniques" and ruled:

167. ... Although the five techniques, as applied in combination, undoubtedly amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment, although their object was the extraction of confessions, the naming of others and/or information and although they were used systematically, they did not occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture as so understood. ...
168. The Court concludes that recourse to the five techniques amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, which practice was in breach of [the ] Article 3 (art. 3).

See also

References

  • Richard Feynman, a famous physicist, writes about his experiences with sensory deprivation in a floatation tank in one of his popular books, Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!.

de:Reizentzug

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