Valtin, on Never In Our Names shares his paper on Isolation, Sensory Deprivation & Sensory Overload that was presented at the recent American Psychological Association conference, during the Miniconvention on Ethics and Interrogations. It presents an historical account of study of the effects of these techniques, techniques which constitute the most used torture techniques in the US arsenal.
Valtin puts his paper in context of the ongoing struggle in the APA:
As many are no doubt aware, the APA Council of Representatives passed a resolution on psychologist participation in coercive interrogations that was long on rhetoric, but far short on substance. In essence, the APA legitimized psychologist practice in settings where indefinite detention occurs, along with sensory and sleep deprivation, sensory over-stimulation, and use of drugs (as long as not for the purpose of eliciting interrogation).
My paper was written with the intent to document the long history of behavioral science collaboration with abusive interrogation research, particularly around the subject of sensory deprivation (SD). I did not have time in this paper to address the strong observational and naturalistic evidence of the debilitating effects of isolation and SD, and readers will have to await my longer, published paper.
August 30th, 2007