Isolation – Mind Field (Ep 1)

published on July 13, 2020

Imagine being confined to a 10-by-10-foot room in complete isolation No timekeeping devices, no phones, no books, nothing to write on, no windows Psychologists say that fewer than three days in a room like this can lead to brain damage I will be staying in this room

For three days Clearly, he is on the border of misery Even in a city surrounded by people, it's possible to feel lonely or bored Your brain is like a hungry sponge

It's constantly absorbing information It thrives when stimulated Between smartphones and books, and movies, and friends and family, thousands of sensations are constantly going into our heads

But what if it all got cut off? What is boredom? Well, it's believed to be an emotion that's a less intense form of disgust A visual representation of emotions developed by Robert Plutchik

Shows them all on a wheel Notice that boredom shares a spoke with disgust and loathing They are different intensities of the same emotion You see, boredom pushes us away from low-stimulus situations because variety and stimulation

Literally lead to neurogenesis – brain-cell growth We are here today doing what we do because boredom has guided us toward greater and greater challenges and bigger and more complex brains

So what is it like to be deprived of the sensations and social interactions so many of us take for granted? A landmark study at Harvard and Virginia Universities found that students prefer

To experience physical pain over 15 minutes of boredom To demonstrate the surprising lengths people will go to to avoid boredom, we brought in an unsuspecting subject for what he believes to be a focus group

We begin by introducing a set of stimuli, one of which is very unpleasant What? Touch it It did shock me Did it really?

He doesn't like it Our fake focus test continues So let's start with the shock button Jamison, would you choose to experience this again? I don't want to do that again

Why wouldn't you? 'Cause it shocked me, and I can still feel it going down my forearm Now it's time for Jamison's true test The test of boredom You will be in the room for 30 minutes

Please remain in your chair Feel free to re-experience the electric-shock button – Okay Okay – Or not All right, the moment of truth When the only two options

Are boredom or painful shock, which will our subject choose? He's not even looking at the button It hasn't even been a minute yet, and already Jamison is restless With a half hour to go

And no other stimulation in the room, the shock button is a tempting object to occupy Jamison's mind Remember what Jamison said a few minutes ago I don't want to do that again But will he desire stimulation so strongly,

He just goes ahead and pushes that button? It took exactly one minute and 57 seconds of boredom for Jamison's mind to go from, "Never again," to "Sure, I'll give myself an electric shock to relieve boredom"

Sometimes stimulation, any stimulation is perceived as better than none at all This guy doesn't like being bored But can he resist touching it a second time? We're social animals Whether it's another human

Or a volleyball or an electric-shock button, you'll make friends with whatever you need to Jamison? I'm Michael Thanks for coming in today So tell me a little bit about what you've been up to

Here in this room I've been sitting in this room with a button Yeah And despite saying I didn't want to press it again, I pressed it twice Why?

I was just bored in this room, I suppose, so Really? – Did that hurt? – Yes The hypothesis is that when left alone with a very negative stimulus, people will go ahead an re-experience it

Just because it's something to do I'm one of them We dislike being bored so much, sometimes physical pain is preferable But intentionally putting yourself into what would seem to be

The most boring environment possible can be useful It's called sensory deprivation Psychologists have conducted experiments on sensory deprivation since the 1930s During the Cold War,

The military used sensory deprivation for both training and interrogation In the 1970s, the activity became recreational, with soundproof, lightproof flotation tanks that keep you buoyant with salt water that is the same temperature as your body

All right, so I'm on my way to a subterranean float lab This company sells sensory deprivation This will be sort of a training session for my three days in isolation, and I'm getting guidance from an expert

Hey, Dominic How are you? Hey What's up, Michael? You know Dominic Monaghan from "Lord of the Rings" and the TV series "Lost" Now, this is your first time, right?

This is my first time I'm a little nervous I've never been alone without any stimulation One of my favourite things about floating is, there's nothing else going on – Ok – You can't see anything

You can't hear anything You can't do anything You just have to look at you And for some people, that's scary It's like – looking in a mirror for hours – Yeah This flotation tank is a really good way of getting him prepped for the isolation chamber,

But I also think he needs to be okay with the fact that it's gonna put him outside of his comfort zone The mind is a good thing to lose every so often All right, let's take a peek

Oh So this is the room This is where I will be floating for the next hour, alone with nothing to do but listen to my thoughts I'll see you on the other side The mind is a good thing

To lose every so often You have to remind fear that you're in the driver's seat – Hey! – Dominic! – How was it? – It was really good – Yeah? – Can we sit down?

Yeah, let's do it My initial thought when I laid down was, "Wow, this is buoyant" And then I just started thinking about errands and tasks, but at some point

Well, it was like dreams Uh-huh But my eyes were open Like, it was sort of like half-dreams you have either when you're about to fall asleep

Or when you're waking up That's when it gets interesting You're allowing your brain to be free You're just floating in space You're just atoms that are on the top of this pool

Floating in space So now you've done this, and you're doing this isolation booth Do you think that that was in some way helpful or a hindrance? It made me more

Unhappy about what's coming up Three days is quite a bit different than one hour Some people choose isolation to learn about isolation As we prepare to explore other planets, we're faced with a little issue

Stuff in outer space is really, really far apart Within our own solar system, even a trip to Mars would take months in each direction That's a long time to spend

Cut off from the rest of humanity stuck in a tiny spaceship To get ready for those journeys we have subjected some people to extreme conditions here on Earth In 1989, a young Italian interior designer

Named Stefania Follini volunteered for a NASA experiment to help study the effects of isolation associated with space travel She spent 130 days alone in a plexiglass cell

In a cave 30 feet underground in New Mexico In the absence of timepieces and any sign of day or night, Ms Follini's body was thrown out of whack Her menstrual cycle stopped, and her sleep-wake cycle changed radically

She tended to stay awake for 20 to 25 hours at a time sleeping about 10 hours When she finally emerged, she mistakenly believed she'd only been underground about half as long

As she actually had As difficult as Stefania's experience was, at least she had books to read In my isolation chamber, I will only have white walls to stare at Alone time – what a pleasure

Checking out, getting away from it all, relaxing Banishment from society, the silent treatment, solitary confinement Solitude isn't always nice

What happens when isolation is not voluntary? William Brown has firsthand knowledge of solitary confinement So, William, how much of your life have you spent in prison?

Probably, like, 16 years That's, like, almost half your life Yeah, basically, almost half my life, 'cause I went to jail when I was 18 for armed bank robbery This right here

This was my home, off and on, about two years The hole What was the longest stretch of consecutive time? It was, like, five months total I'll tell you what really amazes me

This feels so much worse than a jail cell This doesn't have bars letting in light or a view Not at all Would you have a mattress at least? That would be the only thing

In this particular cell, that would be the only thing in here You would just have a mattress, and other than that you would have nothing more This light will constantly stay on, so there will be, you know

That light's always on? Even at night? That light is always on You're left in here with your thoughts, and that's it I would sit

Like, say, for example, sit in this corner right here Like, facing the corner or facing out? No, I would face out, and I would just sit and just concentrate on breathing

You don't know It's like you're in limbo You never know when they're gonna open the door I've known guys that have served consecutive years inside this same little box

How does that change them? Mentally, it scars them for life – Really? – Yeah This is what I'm gonna do I'm gonna put myself in a room like one of these,

And I won't have a clock Anything at all No way to tell time What I'm nervous about is, when that door closes the awareness, the sudden awareness

Of how much time I have See, that's the thing about it, 'cause once this door right here closes, it's, like, it's final This is almost a coffin Really?

Even more extreme than isolation from other people is isolation from other people and stimuli That's what I'm going to be doing inside this room This is about as boring as a room can get

It's soundproof, and this light will never turn off I do have a small bed, but there will be no interruptions I will have no way to tell what time it is No meals will be delivered,

Because all the meals are inside the room already white containers of Soylent I do have plenty of water, and I have a wash basin with a white bar of soap,

And I've got myself a tiny, little toilet There's nothing to do but be completely alone with myself and my thoughts Now, psychologists say that fewer than three days in a room like this can lead to brain damage

I will be staying in this room for three days a full 72 hours So I'm going to take your vitals first Michael is basically turning himself into a lab rat What we want to to is see what might change with Michael

Before and after his time in isolation what's gonna happen to his blood pressure, what's gonna happen to his pulse his basic reflexes Are there actually any medical concerns you would have?

I'm just gonna be in this room You got a really bright light on there The circadian rhythm, which is your natural wake and sleep cycle is going to be completely disrupted by this really bright light

And once your circadian rhythm gets off, a lot of other things fall apart Hormone cycles, cognitive ability, metabolic processes So, you know, it's kind of like you're giving yourself jet lag

Oh, great I think it's important to test his cognitive ability to gauge any mental decline that might happen during his 72 hours of isolation Let's try the reaction time

Okay, do This is pretty fun Can I bring this into the room with me? So what's gonna happen to my brain in there? Well, one of the issues that might worry me is how calm versus neurotic you might be

Where would you put yourself on that spectrum? Closer to neurotic I mean Yeah And so I wonder if that might be amplified That is how my brain will work – Right Of course – It'll snowball

I'm scared I'm not gonna be able to deal with the monotony and the lack of a sense of time, and I'm gonna have a panic attack In an extreme situation,

People can have massive hallucinations, be dissociated from reality, have tremendous anxiety, psychotic types of episodes Marnie, Jake I'm gonna be gone for three days The danger signs to look out for

Are extreme agitation, where it doesn't appear that he's aware of his own agitation That's when I think I might intervene I'm not worried for him physically Like, I think, you know, he's safe in there But I think that he's gonna struggle in there

He's gonna be really bored – I love you – Love you too – Bye-bye – Bye Oh, my God Bye Ah, forgot to ask what time it was

When I came in He's always doing something Reading something, talking to someone he already looks really bored and he's been in there 5 seconds It's just gonna be a horrible 72 hours

I'm actually pretty tired I've been standing a bunch today Normally, when I change into more comfortable clothes and I'm, like, ready for bed I lay down, and then I pick up my phone,

Or I pick up a book or something, but I don't have that If he succeeds in going to sleep for any length of time that's substantial, it's gonna be interesting to see what time he thinks it is when he wakes up

Right I was able to sleep And I woke up maybe one or two times in the night So I think it's probably, you know, 8:00 am Thursday morning,

Maybe closer to 9:00 am I guess I should have some breakfast One twothree I've known Michael for three years, and I've never seen him do a push-up

Six Z, Y, X, W, V, U, T, S, R, Q, P, O, N, M, L, K I think he's come up with some good ideas for mental stimulation

I wonder if, as time goes by, he's gonna come up with some more creative ones, or he's gonna start to get less creative I've done 200 steps now 8 more hundreds to go, and I'll be at 1,000

Why is it that so many people turn to counting to stay sane when they're in these isolated environments? Well, our minds want to remain active They're naturally active The healthiest people who survive

In these types of environments will do something to self-stimulate They'll count They'll sing They'll do physical exercise 97, 98, 99, 100 300 steps and then some change

That I just took right there That's just a little bonus for my body, for my health It's amazing how hard it is to tell what time of day it is just based on your body I think it's

About 700 or 730 pm on Thursday I think I'm gonna have dinner now He's already quite off on his perception of time I was actually surprised at how quick that happened I was, too

You know, if you're using hunger as your gauge that's out the window, too, because the shifts in hormones are going to change your appetite You know, they look at lab rats

Who have had their circadian rhythm destroyed, and they overeat 12, 13 At the moment, I'm feeling bored but obviously nothing dramatic If I had to guess,

It would be 24 hours now since I first came in One day down, two to go If he gets a full sleep cycle in, he'll wake up not knowing where he is Right

Good morning I don't know if I slept for eight hours or if I slept for three If you think it's bedtime, it is so long as you go to bed If you think it's breakfast time,

It is, if you're having breakfast What am I looking forward to the most? Uh seeing my family and friends It's not even that I want a meal It's actually that I just want

To have a meal with people I just want to talk to some people I just want some other words coming in to me than the ones that come out of my own mouth He enjoys sharing things with people, and to have no one, just nothing

Coming back for three days, might be difficult I am the only person I'm hanging out with If you're in true isolation, literally, part of your brain is generating

Some kind of companion that you can converse with I think having you here makes a big difference He's entertained himself in a sense, you know, talking to the camera,

And that's been helpful for him It's really kept him cognitively aware I just feel like I've really lost all connection to time, but I'm guessing it's, you know, 800 pm maybe 900 pm on Friday

A good time to get some shut-eye when there's not much else to do I think it's Saturday, about 900 am Saturday, the day I get out So his dissociation with the actual time has doubled now

Right He wakes up, and there's this bright light, and he's thinking, "Oh, it must be morning" I've spent a lot of time being entertained by my memories, and I'm thinking of the people and the places and the events and how I miss them

And how I treasure those moments There's a sort of cinema in my brain, a cinema of those memories that's kept me from being very bored So I think it's 800 pm

On Saturday So, in about a couple hours, I should see that door open He's not even close, and I wonder how he's gonna respond to that I don't think I'm getting out today

A fear I have right now is that it's just Friday and that there's still a lot of time left There were other times during this that I was definitely more Zen about everything

Now I'm upset I can't believe the colour of the light isn't changing In the mornings, when I wake up, it's so much more yellow Without some type of stimulation,

The mind wants to stimulate itself anyway and will begin to hallucinate and begin to play all sorts of tricks Absolutely My thoughts are really incoherent It's hard for me even

To remember what I just thought 712, 713, 714, 715, 7 15, 716, 717, 718 In a way, our brains are kind of a "use it or lose it" thing

He's going to have a definite decrease in his cognitive ability, a decrease in his overall sense of well-being How many bottles of water have I drank? Is there one more laying around here that I've lost?

'Cause there are only six here But then down here there are Did I All of the dreams I've had that I remember have been about this room They've been about me being in this room

And about He wakes up, and then he's in the room, and it's difficult for him to discern the difference between reality and dreaming sometimes So that's a real dissociation for him

S, R, Q L, M, N, O, P I actually feel kind of worried about him now, because when he first went in there, he was, like, bored like someone waiting for a bus, you know

Now he looks actually depressed The soap is really unique It's not a kind of soap I've ever used before, and I really dislike the smell And I keep smelling it 'cause it's just sitting there

Clearly, Michael is not happy right now He looks, like, you know on the border of misery Really aggravated by how uncomfortable I am This seems like a very, very long three days I'd feel better if he was talking

He was just laying there When I walked in, I thought he'd be, you know, sitting on the bed You know, this was something he wanted to do, but I expected him to be bored

Terribly bored, but I thought he'd still be talking and trying to entertain himself It seems like Michael woke up from some kind of dream He looks confused

He's not enjoying this He wants out of there I don't think he can see us I'm really confused Wait Did I guess not I guess I just dreamt it I didn't think it would affect me like this

I am so confused I think he just woke up and was having a dream Is 72 hours over? It's 72 hours, Michael You can come out All right, I'm coming out Hey

– Congratulations – Thank you Oh, my gosh, it's bright in there It's really bright in there I hadn't really noticed but now that you mention it – Congratulations – Hey

That knock scared me – Did it startle you? – Yeah Every little noise has been startling me Okay You seem very with it right now It's excited energy by coming out At first, I thought it was

That I want to communicate, but, actually, I need this direction, too Even if it's just nods and stuff, that's so much better Let me just check your vitals before you see your family

155 over 95, so that's quite a jump in your blood pressure Your pulse is also higher I think that's 'cause you're excited to be out I think this is a huge rush I'm interested to see now how you do

With some of the more cognitive tests 3-18-09-72-72? There you go I would say you did actually a little bit better this time Oh, wow Okay

Although we had hypothesised you would be worse at all of these tests, I think the rush of adrenaline that you got from finally being out and being to able to communicate actually had you more focused, more aware, and that's why you performed better

I find it interesting that the test you did the worst on is probably the most to do with the use of the verbal language, and you've had definitely a lack of that over the last 72 hours

It was just me with myself for three days It was only me Hey How are you? – I'm good – Oh, good I missed you Let me say hi to my mom Hi

Oh Glad you survived that In the room, I was fine being alone This is where I've been living But then near the end, as I started to anticipate coming out and being able to talk to people

And share my experience I realised how important that was If you only have your own experiences, you're not fully having them You have to have someone else to listen to them and react to them,

And then you've fully experienced them Anyway, I've moved I don't live there anymore When I was in isolation, I was surprised most by two things – how easy it was to be separated from distractions, like entertainment and phones,

And how difficult it was to be separated from things we humans evolved alongside – the Earth and other people I was amazed by how uncomfortable, confusing, and scary it was to have nothing but myself

You know, I used to be a really big fan of the saying, "He who travels fastest travels alone" I think I liked it because it made me feel better about how I preferred to be independent and to be left to my own devices

But now I appreciate the full phrase better It may be true that he who travels fastest travels alone, but he who travels furthest travels with others And, as always, thanks for watching This season on "Mind Field"

Ready? Hold the drug in your mouth until we say "swallow" There have been some audio/visual distortions Ow! You may see some images behind your eyes

Ooh You dick! Why don't you come in here and talk to me in person? How does it feel to be known as the Ken and Barbie of real life?

It isn't a breakfast for champions It's a breakfast for sheeple Bachelor number two is an online chatbot What in the world? Beautiful Welcome to "Mind Field"

Related Videos

hey guys techrax here coming at you guys with another giveaway this is gonna be an iPhone 5s two of these brand new phones not the one in this video guys this i...
hey guy there's a popular game in the app store called flappy bird right now and it's supposedly really annoying believe it or not I haven't played ...
hey guys tech Rex here so right here with me I have an Apple iPhone 5s this is the gold one I also have with me some liquid nitrogen yes this is the real deal a...
hey guys techrax here right here I have the iPhone 5s with me this is the champagne or the gold color I still can't really figure out if it's champagne ...
hey guys tear cracks here so this video really exciting video I have the new Samsung Galaxy s5 for you guys this is the long-awaited cellular devices releases i...
everyone techrax here in this video I've got the latest Samsung Galaxy s5 right here as well as the Apple iPhone 5s and we're going to be doing a simple...
everyone techrax here in this video guys have a really exciting device this is the Samsung Galaxy s5 charcoal black and I'm really liking I after seeing the...
everyone techrax here here with me off the Samsung Galaxy s5 this is a perfectly fine s5 it is cracked from the drop test that I had with also one minor neck as...
hey guys tetrax here so in this video I'm going to try and burn the newly released Samsung Galaxy s5 this is the shimmering white 16 gigabyte model and if y...
everyone techrax here so I got my burn Samsung Galaxy s5 and I wanted to see whether the heartbeat sensor would still work the heart monitor on your galaxy s5 a...
hey guys Tech Rex here so I'm really excited to bring you guys a giveaway for my channel but this time I'm actually teaming up with a buddy of mine your...
hey guys techrax here so in this video I'm going to be hopefully instructing you guys how to make your very own a tech sandwich slash burger slash meal so y...
hey guys techrax here so I've got a galaxy s5 here this is the copper gold hopefully you guys can see pretty well it is sunset so it's getting a little ...
hey guys techrax here so right here with me I have a professional deep fryer in here is already some canola or corn or whatever oil I don't know vegetable o...
hey guys techrax here so just trying to make this video short and quick i'm having recently i got five hundred thousand subscribers and yeah most of you guy...
hey guys texture so in this video I have a drop test on the latest LG g3 device now this is actually the gold-coloured LG g3 this has not been released in the U...
hey guys techrax here so in this video we'll teach you guys how to make your iPhone indestructible this is essentially a case that's been around for yea...
hey guys techrax here soon in this video we had a train run over the iPhone 5s so we actually did this in two different instances initially we had a Space Gray ...
hey guys tech cracks here so in this video we're going to be dropped testing the newly released Amazon fire phone this is exclusive for AT&T and I belie...
hey guys techrax here so right here with me I have the Amazon fire phone this is the one I dropped and you know I thought what better what else do I do with thi...