- the state in which there is a major reduction in incoming sensory information. Prolonged sensory deprivation is damaging as the body depends for health and normal function on constant stimulation. The main input sensory channels are the eyes, ears, skin, and nose. If input from all of these is blocked, there is loss of the sense of reality, distortion of time and imagined space, hallucinations, bizarre thought patterns, and other indications of neurological dysfunction. Even minimal sensory deprivation in early childhood can have a serious effect on the future personality. An eye covered for a few months in infancy remains effectively blind for life. Early deprivation of normal hearing can produce severe intellectual and educational damage. Deprivation of the normal contact and stimulation provided for the baby by the mother can cause personality disturbance in later life.
* * *partial to total deprivation of visual, auditory, and tactile stimuli, such as may be produced experimentally or by solitary confinement, loss of sight or hearing, paralysis, or even hospital bed rest; it may result in some combination of anxiety, irritability, boredom, loss of ability to concentrate and organize thoughts, increased suggestibility, delusions, panic, and unpleasant vivid hallucinations.
Medical dictionary. 2011.
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