Stimulation Seeking Throughout Seven Days of Sensory Deprivation


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Abstract

60 volunteer Naval enlisted men participated in a study of 7-day, individual isolation. 40 Ss lived in small, dark, quiet rooms with little to do (SD). The other 20 served in a live-in-the-lab control group (C) with ad lib. access to lights, recreational materials, and intercom conversation with another C S if mutually desired. 19 SD Ss, but only 1 C S, requested early release. Pre-, during-, and post-isolation tests were given. In a test of stimulation seeking, boring stock reports could be heard during a 1-hr. period on each of Days 1, 4, and 7 of isolation. SD Ss selected to listen significantly more than Cs on Days 4 and 7, with the differences increasing over time. Day 1 listening (about 6 hr. after isolation began) predicted who would later request release. In the discussion, currently available stimulation-seeking data are summarized and integrated.

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