The Brain, Sensory Deprivation and Isolation


ALONE - The Brain, Sensory Deprivation and IsolationYou are about to witness a controversial experiment, One that delves deep into the human brain.

Six ordinary people will face total sensory deprivation, all in the name of science.

We live in a dangerous era were solitary confinement and sensory deprivation are sometimes used as punishment even as political tools.

Yet scientists just beginning to investigate the impact of total isolation on the mind.

Using the latest technology and a all to real simulation, scientists hope to answer a question as old as imprisonment itself.

What happen inside your brain when you are left truly ALONE?

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Ratings: 8.65/10 from 31 users.

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39 Comments / User Reviews

  1. brain cancer

    Thanks for sharing your views on the impact of total isolation on the mind. Specially the video presentation was excellent and it clearly shows that people when they are totally isolated have great impact on their mind.

  2. Laurie

    Thanks for sharing those studies. This is very interesting and done well.

  3. kaz

    wow. just watching this really scared me. i doubt i would even be able to get through 5 hours without completely breaking down mentally, let alone 48 hours. and beyond that, i don't even want to think about those hostages and inmates who have been kept in total isolation for days, months, years on end. it must have been so utterly horrifying.
    excellent documentary.

  4. clray

    So... the big question remains - what did they eat/drink and how did they use the toilet?

  5. Jenn

    Just the very thought of such an environment scares the s*** out of me. I'm the kind of person that has to always be doing something, whether it be listening to music, reading, watching TV, whatever.

  6. Unzar Jones

    An interesting documentary.

    If they have to LISTEN to white noise, wouldn't that be an overload of one sensory channel?

    clray had some valid questions. Maybe they ate oatmeal(without milk or sugar) and pooped in the dark.

    This otherwise excellent documentary was dragged down by leftist moralizing.

  7. Steve

    It's not a sensory overload, it's white noise - a constant, ever present noise. Sometimes, having no change in noise is worse than having no noise at all because it fills in the spot where you would otherwise hear things like breathing, electricity in your head, and the like.

  8. Joshua

    The point of the white noise is randomness. In a scientific context the term "noise" refers to a patternless set of data, in this case sound. The brain craves patterns and constantly seeks them out as a way to understand what is going on in the immediate environment, and to assess threats or sustenance. This is why we see danger in shadows or faces in clouds (the human face is our favorite pattern). When being exposed to only white noise there would be *nothing* interesting for the brain to pick out of the background.

    I too could not help but wonder how they were eating and using the bathroom. I guess the point is not absolute sensory deprivation (probably not even possible), but to simulate the isolatory conditions that prisoners face.

    What it was that commenter Unzar Jones found to be "leftist moralizing" is utterly incomprehensible. I'd say he picked a pattern out of the noise: we often see what we expect to see, even when it isn't there.

  9. WildKat

    This documentary is very interesting! I majored in Psychology in University, and it's a bit intriguing to me because I've been totally blind since birth, and in 2004 became a quadriplegic and lost movement and feeling in most of my body. I can feel from my shoulders up fine, but I can only feel the fronts of my upper arms and an area near my thumbs but can only sense pressure. Not temperature or pain.

    When I was in the hospital for 8 months the daytime wasn't too bad, but at night when I was laying in bed in a private room at the end of a hallway only hearing the distant beep of monitors etc. I have to admit it wasn't easy by any means! I noticed after awhile that I was nodding my head a bit but never knew exactly when I started doing it.

    A lot of blind kids (and some adults) rock back and forth for stimulation, but I never did this until the nodding. I couldn't operate an mp3 player or read Braille anymore and TV was over $10 a day so the only sensory stimulation I had was the distant sounds every so often and the nodding of my head.

    Even when I use noise canceling headphones now I get a slight feeling of panic like I am being totally cut off from the world until I turn the music on.

    It doesn't seem like that big of a deal until you experience it, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!

  10. Artist

    wow, I tried Dunkel theraphy. 1 week in solitary dark place without any sensory stimuly and it was awesome. Maybe it is because I meditated most of the time I was awake and played in lucid dreams during sleep.

    Another problem might be strenght of mind and ego. Ego constantly needs stimuly otherwise it deminishes and a person will slowly loose mind, unless you let go and learn how to cope with it.

    Of course, 1week is nothing compared to couple months, I believe even experienced monk used to hermits life would start loosing mind.

  11. Bytor69

    My heart goes out to you and your struggles within this thing we call life. I couldent imagine the depths of emptiness and aloneness you must have experienced. To go through something like that must surely have a reward somewhere in the future for you. If not in this life, the next forsure. I can only say that when I read your comments I could only think of what a brave person you must be and how strong your mind must be from going through such an ordeal.
    From my heart to yours I wish you only the very best in the future. God bless.

  12. dkhan

    to wildcat,

    how were you able to watch this even though ur blind and how were you able to write, or how were you able to express the following statement: "I couldn’t operate an mp3 player or read Braille anymore and TV was over $10 a day so the only sensory stimulation I had was the distant sounds every so often and the nodding of my head." even though you were blind from birth?

    please explain?

  13. WildKat

    I'd like to respond to comment #12 (by dkhan).

    Blind people still listen to tv, movies etc. we also generally use laptops for all of our notes in school from a very young age and continue using computers more than sighted people throughout our lives. We use screen reading programs that vocalize what is happening and learn to touch type just like anyone else would.

    Blind people can do a lot more than we are generally given credit for. Just because someone closes their eyes and think "OMG I can't do anything" doesn't mean someone who has no vision can't. We learn to adapt or find technology to help us live life and do whatever we want to do.

    The most irritating thing in life is when people just jump to conclusions because they assumed things instead of simply asking how something is done, so I am glad you asked instead of leaving a comment calling me a "liar" etc. like happens so often...

  14. Angelica Guerrero

    It would be nice if I could watch this in full screen. -___-

  15. Angelica Guerrero

    How did they not masturbate?

  16. ChocoPsych

    Because they were deprived of porn.

  17. Guest

    @ ChocoPsych
    Best avatar EVER!

  18. Katie Cupcake

    thank you so much for that comment WildKat! I am blind as well and I was thinking the exact same thing when i read the comment below. we really can do so much more than normally sighted people give us credit for.

  19. henrymart81

    LOL @ guy singing

  20. zaphodity

    What happens ?...You go mad, that's what happens. Regardless of whether your a loner or just hate people, humans are social animals and total isolation and sensory depravation can turn you into a C-RAZZZYYYY BOY !

  21. Michael Withington

    Definately must be hard for people they lock up to deal with it for years. Especially Guantanamo Prisoners and others in worsening conditions of violence and deprivation routines becoming more and more accepted by societies in the west, "us" & "them" mentality. Make up a good enough reason to hate a people and we all start to look more like Hitlers people supporting a mad group of leaders,who only care for is $$ Curuption! We all live with that Human Deprivation everyday.

  22. That One Chick

    I'm interested to see how the subjects were psychologically a week, month and even six months after this experiment was completed, and whether their careers and hobbies changed.
    Notably absent from the film was a control group.

  23. Neal Boyd

    ...wouldn't the control group be people who aren't alone?

  24. DJ Comatoast

    Wow I can sooo understand what you mean by only sense pressure, not temperature or pain and would add to that the sense of wetness in my case. I broke my neck and thank goodness I recovered quite well but I still cant feel any of those senses on left half of my body from mid chest down. However right side of me is hypersensitive. Weird how our bodies process information. Not to be too graphic but its such a complete split between sides it even splits my privates. My right side that is hypersensitive has spasms all the time especially if I am tired or don't eat well. I commend you! I'm glad you have internet access and lots of things to do online!

  25. DJ Comatoast

    He listened to it! and he typed it with voice recognition software!

  26. shaneScallan

    dam lefties and their end of the world rethoric

  27. Jax Rousseau

    Did anyone else wonder how they ate?

  28. juliocesarvillegas1

    They didn't it was only 2 days. you can live without food and water for longer than that.

  29. vlad

    There are looooooooooooooooooooots of lonely people that are isolating themselves in their houses for years and for that they lose all contact with reality and after years of isolation they will just realise that they got serious brain discorders. And what is the government doing???? NOTHING.
    there should be a serious government organization that will help lonely people to meet other lonely people. Loneliness can kill this is not something to play
    this is not a game. Loneliness decrease intelligence, work, and EVERYTHING.

  30. jefferson Blake Davis

    I do not agree that the government is doing nothing. They are using these techniques in "prisons" plus the millions of pounds of aluminum
    and barium being dumped into our air while our water is poisoned with fluoride compounds. The government is very busy.

  31. Russ101

    damn righties and their 'damn lefties' *rhetoric* :p

  32. Katie Highfield

    I think those isolation effects become more pronounced through long term incarceration. This was two days, so I think they should be fine, no long term damage, a lot of people actually choose to do this for a week or so on buddhist type retreats, which consists of no speaking and minimal exposure to external stimuli and report the benefits of it.

  33. Giacomo della Svezia

    Fascinating documentary, though I would have liked to hear more details on how the deprivation of their senses changed their mental faculties.

    The man innocently incarcerated in isolation shows the importance of having at least a humane way of punishing convicted people. What he had to endure is a form of torture, from which he will never recover. I hope he got some compensation for that.

  34. bringmeredwine

    And they're STILL in Guantanamo,its been 10 years now,
    Can you imagine?

  35. okay

    I would have rather they focused a bit more on the people that DID manage to handle it and how they did it.

  36. pukeluke

    its bolex, in there sub conscious mind they know there going home safe/not going to be tortured, its completely different to forced isolation and depravation,so **** there subjects and the bbc!!!

  37. Burpeeblast

    Audio gets way out of sync eventually, but good documentary nonetheless.

  38. Guillaume Duquette

    It is very sad that in this day and age the militairy keeps pushing experiment of this nature under the desgise of science. The poeple facilitating these experiment should be ashamed of themselfs.

  39. DefinatelyNotNSA

    I feel like if i was in this experiment i would just sleep and imagine pleasant things.

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