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Bris. ,7. P@ychiat. (5964), iou, 290-308 Male-Female Differences in Underwater Sensory Isolation* By CATHRYN
Bris.
,7.
P@ychiat. (5964),
iou,
290-308
Male-Female
Differences
in Underwater
Sensory
Isolation*
By
CATHRYN
WALTERS,
OSCAR
A.
PARSONS
and
JAY
T.
SHURLEY
Since
the
pioneering
studies
of Hebb
and
his
the
use of medical
students,
which
constituted
associates
(2)
on
the
effects
of sensory
depriva
a restricted
population.
The
purpose
of
the
tion
on
human
beings,
numerous
investigators
present experiment
is twofold : first,
to attempt
have
conducted
experimental
studies
under
to cross-validate
the results
of the
first
study
varying
conditions
in
an
effort
to
establish
in
a
more
varied
population
;
and
second,
to
consistent trends in behaviour
ofsubjects
exposed
explore
in greater
detail
male/female
differences
to such conditions.
Since
only
two
other
in
response
to the experience.
laboratories,
both
using
male
subjects,
have
reported
underwater
studies
in
deprivation
(I,
METHoD
5),
an
attempt
to replicate
our
findings
of sex
differences
in response
to the situation
by
use of
Subjects
were
twenty
paid
volunteer
partici
this
method
seemed
to
be
in order.
pants
who
worked
in
or
around
the
Medical
Our
first
explanatory
study
was
aimed
at
Center
and
others
who
had
heard
about
the
examination
of
two
aspects
of
the
deprivation
experiment
from those
employed
in the
Center.
experience
;
first,
the
differences
observed
in
Males
and
females
were
matched
in
age,
male/female
responses
to
the
experience
;
and
education
and
socio-economic
background
(s).
second,
an
evaluation
of the
influence
of the
They
did
not
differ
significantly
in
order
of
interaction
between
sex
of subject
and
sex
of
birth.
The
Mf
scale
on
the
MMPI
was
used
interviewer on the reports obtained. A rationale
to
measure
masculine
and
feminine
interests
for predictions
of behaviour was developed
and subjects
were selected
on the
basis
of a
ten
from
the
Witkin
ci
a!.
(z i)
framework
of field
point
or
greater
difference
between
highest
dependency
us.
bodily
orientation.
It
was
score
for males
and
lowest
score
for females.
expected
that
females
would
be
more
field
Subjects
reported
to the
laboratory
at
8 a.m.
dependent
than
males
as measured
by stimulus
where
two
interviewers,
male
and
one
bound
(SB) responses, i.e. responses reflecting
female,
were
present.
one
Pulse rate, respiration
attention
to
and
preoccupation
with external
rate,
oral temperature,
and systolic and diastolic
stimuli ; while
males
were
expected
to
be
more
blood
pressure
were
obtained
before
the
run
bodily
oriented
as
measured
by
non-stimulus
by
one
of the
examiners,
and
the
same
indices
(NSB)
responses,
i.e.
responses
reflecting
atten
were
taken
after
the run
examiner.
ton
to internal
stimuli.
Each
subject
was exposed
by the other
individually
to three
Medical
students
served
as
subjects
for
the
hours
of underwater
sensory
deprivation
in
the
first
study
and
results
revealed
an
opposite
trend
isolation chamber,
and
all
verbal
responses
from
that
predicted.
That
is
(i)
females
had
a
during
this
period
were
recorded
and
tran
significantly
higher
proportion
ofNSB
responses
scribed.
Description
of the
chamber
is reported
V
than
the
males ; (2) no difference
was found
in
elsewhere
(8).
total
psychological
content
of
interviews
;
and
Following
isolation,
an
equal
number
of
(3)
despite
efforts
to
achieve
a
standard
inter
subjects
were
interviewed
by either
the male
or
view, the social-sexual role of both subject and
interviewer influenced the reports obtained
about the experience.
female
interviewer.
A
standard
interview
of
twenty
open-ended
questions
was
used
for
the
A possible
limitation
of the
above
study
was
*
This
study
was
supported,
in
part,
by
Veterans
Administration
Medical
Research
(82oo)
Funds.
post-isolation interview. Answers to five of the
questions (feelings of fright, unpleasantness,
sex, what the subjects learned about themselves
and what the experience was remindful of) were
290
MALE-FEMALE DIFFERENCES IN UNDERWATER SENSORY ISOLATiON 291 used for measurement of psychological content.
MALE-FEMALE
DIFFERENCES
IN
UNDERWATER
SENSORY
ISOLATiON
291
used
for measurement
of psychological
content.
psychological
content
of
interviews
was
8 I.
@ h
Responsesrecordedduringisolationwere
Difference
between
sexes
on
psychological
classified
into
either
SB
or
NSB
categories
by
content
of
interviews
was
not
statistically
two experienced
clinical
psychologists
who
significant
(Table
II),
a finding
also consistent
were
not
involved
in
the
study.
A six-point
with
the
results
of the
first
study.
rating
scale of psychological
content of responses
4 to the five questions
was also scored independ
TABt.a
II
ently
by the two judges.
This
scale was designed
Comparison
ofScores
on P.@ychological Content
of Interviews
to measure
the amount
ofintimate,
personalized
information
given
to
interviewers
of the
same
Varied Population
(N =20)
or
opposite
sex.
The
scale
was
previously
Group
r
Group
II
demonstrated
to
be
of
sufficient
reliability.
(Female)
(Male)
Details
of scoring
procedure
are
given
in
the
Mean
.
.
.
.
.
.
250
254
@)
earlier
publication
(
i
o).
Median
.
.
.
.
.
.
245
250
Standard
deviation
.
.
.
.
5 . 73
6.32
RESULTS
Mean
.
.
4
Correlation
(rho)
between
judges
on
rating
of
SB-NSB
responses
was
I) shows that
.97.
The
Mann
i6)Mean
Students
(N=
Whitney
U Test
(Table
differences
3@.7
261
) between
males
and females
on number
of NSB
300StandardMedian
.
.
.
.
.
.
35@0
@ responses
is significant
at
the
. o6 level,
a finding
deviation
.
.
.
.
7 . 7
.7
consistent
with
results
of the first study.
In both
Mean difference
.
.
.
.
5 .6 N.S.
instances
the
males
consistently
gave
fewer
NSB
responses.
Correlation
(r)
between
judges
on
scoring
of
The
interaction
effects between
sex of subject
TABi.a I
Comparison ofD@fferencesBetween Males and Females on SB and XSB
Responses
PairNo.RawDataFemalesMalesSBNSBSBNSBI
30150122
23144733
4
48 38
II 5
5
8 5
0 0
6 07
23
409
470
40
8
II
5
3
0
I010 9
89
20
43
70
2020i8613!22730Mean
.
.
.
.
.
7.@
Median
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
3•5
55.5
Standard
deviation
i6 . 222@7
46 .@@9.730
4.6
.
.
.
.
.
.
15 . 55@5131
@ean differences.
.
.
.
.i86
NSB—Mann-Whitney
U Test
p<
.08.
292 MALE-FEMALE DIFFERENCES IN UNDERWATER SENSORY ISOLATION [March and sex of interviewer was upheld for
292 MALE-FEMALE
DIFFERENCES
IN
UNDERWATER
SENSORY
ISOLATION
[March
and
sex of interviewer
was
upheld
for
this
study
for
the
second
study,
it will
be noted
that
the
in the direction of the differences,
but
to a lesser
interaction
for
three
of
the
questions
(un
degree than for the first group. As in the first
pleasantness,
sex,
remindful)
shows
a
similar
study, analysis of variance revealed that type
trend
to
that
observed
in
the
first
study.
of question
(A)
elicited
significantly
different
Table
VI
presents
proportion
of responses
to
responses (Table III),
so again
it was necessary
eight
other
questions
used
in
the
interview.
to make
an
after-the-fact
analysis
of the
five
Reports
of feeling
rested,
those of hunger
and
of
c.
questions
used for measurement.
difficulty in breathing,
ences between the sexes.
reveal
significant
differ
TA.isi.a III
Women
report
more
feelings
of being
rested
Analysis
of
Variance
of
Responses
to Interview
Qyestions
while
the
men
report
more
difficulty
in
(Psychological
Content)
breathing
and
more
feelings
of hunger.
Source of
of
SquaresFTotal VariationdfSum
SquaresMean
DISCUSSION
Cross
Validation
.99913Pet
.
.
.191236.5Sub.(C)Ss
.
The
prediction
that
sensory
deprivation
I33.@Int.(B)
would
elicit
a greater
number
of SB responses
I0BxC
from
women
and
a
greater
number
of
NSB
S33.@Error
responses
from
men
was
not
upheld
by
this
???Within
study
nor
the
previous
one.
In
both
instances
the
women
were
more
internally
oriented
(as
Responses
(A)80
27468595@AxB
4790
measured
by NSB responses)
and
thus appeared
47@.7AxC
to
be
less
field
dependent
than
the
men.
4Jo25AxBxC
4389.512Error
For a detailed
discussion of the possible explana
.
.
.
.6446!7•2
tions
of
the
above
reversal,
the
reader
is
referred
to
the
previous
study.
In
brief,
we
.
p<.oI.
stated
that
the
Witkin
findings
indicate
that
Table
IV
presents
the
means
for the
ratings
women
vary
in
their
approach
to
a
task
of
psychological
content
of
responses
to
each
according
to
the
task
“¿ demand―.Pine
and
question
for
both
groups,
and
Table
V presents
Holt
(6)
have
also
reported
that
women
vary
the
F tests for the five questions
for the separate
more
than
men
in
their
performance,
and
groups.
suggest
that
this
greater
variability
may
reflect
Although
none
of the
F tests
are
significant
a greater
field
dependency
(in
that
their
TAnii
IV
Means for
Five
Questions
Varied
Population
(N=2o)
-FrightUnpleasantnessSexLearningRemindfulGroupl(FsF1)—¿ ------
-
Groupll(FsM1)
3•8
2•9
8•2
32
Grouplfl(MsF1)
7.@
3.6
20
7.4
5.@29 46
Group IV (Ms M1)
6•oMedical 3.@44
4666 6@97.9
.
.52
6)Groupl(FsF1)
Students(N=
i
Grouplr(FsM1)
5.0 6•2
20 9.4
7.5
GroupIIl(MsF1)
2•5
6•5
20 6@o
5.7
GrouplV(MsM1)
—¿3@25.7
@6o
5•742
6@28•5
8•o
628'@
I 1964] BY CATHRYN WALTERS, OSCAR A. PARSONS AND JAY T. SHURLEY 293 TABu@ V
I 1964]
BY
CATHRYN
WALTERS,
OSCAR
A.
PARSONS
AND
JAY
T.
SHURLEY
293
TABu@ V
F Testsfor Five Questions
Varied
Population
(N =20)
LearningRemindfulBetweenpairs- Fright
Unpleasantness
Sex
o
1.4
I•I
I@0
@
Between interviewers
.
.
o
o
o
2
3
0
Between sexes
.
.
.
.
o
i .8
o
o
o
@@@
Interaction
0
2.4Medical
2
8
2 4
3 2I@2
i6)Betweenpairs
Students
(N=
.@
1@2
42
3.5
@@
Between interviewers
.
.
.o
o
•¿o
o
i
o
Betweensexes
.@
.@
.@
i66t
50
Interaction
11@o@*
.
.
.
.
I@2
35
246t
.o3.1
p<@5
t
p<.oI.TABut
VID@ffèrences
QuestionsQuestion in Proportion
ofResponses
to Eight
Interview
MalesFemales1.
Thirst
I3OutofI8
9outofl8
2.
Hunger
•¿ .
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
12
out
of
i8
i
out
of
i8
3.
Sleeping
dreams
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
9
out
of
i8
6
out
of
i8
4.
Daydreams
i6 out of 18
54 out of i8
5.
Annoyance
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
i6
out
of
i8
14 out
of
i8
6.
Rested
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
4
out of
18
12 out
of 18*
7.
Difficult
in
breathing
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
9
out
of
i 7
I
out
of
i8t
@@@@@
8.
Boredom
:
.
.
.
.
I I
out
of
18
7 out
of
i8
S p<.025.
t
p<.005.
-,
@p<.ooI.
@
responses
vary
with
the
task
demand),
or
it
not differ from the males.
Although
Witkin
et a!.
may reflect a differing “¿ responseset―.That is,
males and females may differ in their approach
to a task depending on the implicit assumptions
have
termed
this
behaviour
on the
part
of the
females greater
variability
in response
to the task
demand,
and therefore
greater
field dependency,
they
have
regarding
what
is expected
of them.
it may also be thought
ofas
greater
adaptability.
The
findings
of our
second
study,
confirming
There
is
some
evidence
to
suggest
that
this
@
the reversal
of the
predicted
trend,
plus
some
concept
might
be
useful
in accounting
for
the
reversal
found
in
the
deprivation
experience.
‘¿
additional
observations,
led
us
to
consider
a
third
possible
explanation.
For
example,
the
greater
incidence
of reports
The
Witkin
(I I)
studies
show
that
when
by women
that
they
felt rested
after
the
experi
subjects
are
tested
with
their
eyes
closed,
no
ence,
plus
a
greater
incidence
of
reports
of
differences
are
found
in
males
and
females
in
difficulty
in breathing
by men,
tends
to indicate
that
the
women
seemed
to
be
more
relaxed
-.
field
dependency.
In
other
words,
if
cues
are
available,
the
women
readily
use
them,
but
if
in
the
isolation
chamber.
In
addition,
the
men
@
they
are
not
available,
their
performance
does
more
frequently
reported
feelings
of
hunger,
[March 294 MALE-FEMALE DIFFERENCES IN UNDERWATER SENSORY ISOLATION thirst, and boredom. Further, additional
[March
294 MALE-FEMALE
DIFFERENCES
IN
UNDERWATER
SENSORY
ISOLATION
thirst,
and
boredom.
Further,
additional
cvi
mains
the
only
statistically
significant
one.
dence
of
possible
greater
adaptation
on
the
This
finding
suggests
that
while
the
sex
of
the
part
of the
women
was
revealed
in answers
to
interviewer
may
or
may
not
be
a
determining
the
question,
your
mood ?“Forty
influence
on
information
obtained
regarding
adjectives
taken
“¿ Howwas
from
Roget's
(7)
word
list
most
personal
items,
it
does
appear
to
be
referring
to
pain
and
pleasure
were
used
to
an
important
variable
when
information
of
a
measure
the content
of answers
to this question.
sexual
nature
is
being
elicited.
Further,
the
There
was
no
difference
between
the
sexes
in
possible
effect
of degree
of familiarity
demon
the
number
of
pain
adjectives
used,
but
strates
the
complexity
of
the
interviewing
differences
in the number
of pleasure
adjectives
situation
and
emphasizes
the
necessity
for
used
was
significant
at
the
. 05
level
(t-test),
examining
all
interrelated
factors operating
with
the
women
giving
the
greater
number.
at
a given
time
in
a given
situation.
Thus,
our
findings
do suggest
that
there
may
Additional
Findings
be
differences
between
the
sexes
in
their
adaptation
to
the
underwater
isolation
experi
In
the
first study
the
question
arose
whether
ence.
The
reasons
for
such
differences,
how
medical
students
constituted
a
representative
ever,
remain
obscure,
owing
to
their
complex
sample
of
maleness
and
femaleness
in
other
nature.
Perhaps
the
prolonged
immersion
in
than biological
terms.
In
choosing
subjects
warm
water
may
have
contributed
to
the
more
for both
studies,
the
Mf scale
on the
M.M.P.I.
relaxed
state
of
the
women.
It
has
been
served
as
a
screening
device
for
measuring
commonly
observed
that
men
seem
to
prefer
masculine-feminine
interest
patterns.
Eighteen
showers,
while
women
generally
prefer
tub
medical
students
were
tested,
and sixteen were
baths.
One
way
of
testing
the
role
or
psycho
selected
who
were
within
average
limits
for
logical
meaning
of the water
per se would
be
to
their respective
sexes. On the other
hand,
in the
compare
males
and
females
in
the
“¿ air― more
varied
population
group,
it was necessary
sensory
deprivation
experiment.
to
test
38 subjects
before
finding
twenty
who
Regarding
the
interview
concerning
reports
fitted
the
prescribed
criteria.
This
finding
of the
experiences,
it will
be noted
that
results
raised
the
question
ofwhy
the
sexes
appeared
to
of the
second
investigation
reveal
that
none
of
be
more
sharply
differentiated
in
the
medical
the
five
questions
in
the
interview
attain
students
than
in
the
second
group.
An overlap
statistical
significance.
The
direction
of
the
of scores on the
Mf scale has been
shown
to
be
differences,
however,
is
the
same
as
that
a function
of age
and
education
(@) and
this
observed
in
the
first
study,
with
the
exception
function
may
account
for
the
difference.
The
of the
question
about
what
the
experience
was
medical
students
who
were
tested
ranged
in
remindful
of.
A
possible
explanation
of
the
age
from
22
to
34 and
included
first
to fourth
difference
in
degree
of
interaction
for
the
two
year
students,
while
those
tested
for the second
populations
may be found
relationship
upon
closer exasnina
study
ranged
in age from
‘¿to 943 and
level of
tion
of the
between
examiners
and
education
ranged
from
high
school
to
post
subjects.
Although
the
medical
students
were
doctoral
level.
relatively
unknown
to
either
of
the
examiners,
Although
differences
in sexes constituted
the
a number
of the subjects
from the second
group
primary
focus for both
studies,
similarities
of
a
had
frequent
occasion
to come
in contact
with
psychological
nature
were
also
observed.
No
the
examiners
during
the
course
of their
work
consistent
differences
were
found
in
visual
or
in
the
Center
and
thus
were
better
acquainted
auditory
images,
incidence
of sleep
or dreams,
with
them.
The
greater
degree
of familiarity
feelings
of
annoyance,
or tactual sensations.
may
have
been
a
contributing
factor
to
the
There
was
no
difference
between
the
sexes
in
decreased
amount
of
interaction
between
birth
order,
and
this variable
was not related
to
interviewers
and
subjects.
type
of
response
or
psychological
content
of
By combining
the
data
for both
groups,
the
interviews.
In
addition,
the
mean
difference
question
dealing
with
sexual
information
re
between
sexes
in
estimated
time
spent
in
the
BY CATHRYN WALTERS, OSCAR A. PARSONS AND JAY T. SHURLEY .@ 1964] 295 chamber was
BY
CATHRYN
WALTERS,
OSCAR
A.
PARSONS
AND
JAY
T.
SHURLEY
.@
1964]
295
chamber
was
only
four
seconds.
The
average
the
findings
of the
first
study
for
the
isolation
underestimation
of
the
three-hour
period
by
experience
:
women
gave
more
non-stimulus
women
was one
hour
and
three
minutes,
while
bound
responses
than
men.
However,
although
the
men
averaged
one
hour
and
seven
minutes
differences
in
the
post-isolation
interview
re
underestimation.
“¿ Howwould
When
asked
the
question,
vealed
the
same
trend,
the
differences
were
you
feel
about
repeating
the
markedly
stronger
for
the
medical
students
experience
?“all
subjects
indicated
that
they
than
for
the
more
varied
population.
would
be willing
to participate
again,
although
REFERENcES
there
was
considerable
variability
in enthusiasm
1.
CAMBERARI,
J.
D.
(1958).
The
Ejects
of
Sensory
expressed.
Isolation on Suggestible andXon-Suggestible P@ychologv
In summary,
the overall
results
of the present
Graduate
Students.
Unpublished
doctoral
dis
sertation.
Salt
Lake
City:
University
of Utah.
investigation
show
that
the
differences
observed
@
2.
HERON,
W.,
BEXTON,
W.
H.,
and
HEBB,
D.
0.
;,
in
male
and
female
responses
to
the
deprivation
“¿ Cognitiveeffects of a decreased variation
in the
experience
are the same as those observed
in the
sensory environment.―Amer.P@ycho1.,3, 366.
first
exploratory
study.
In
addition,
the
differ
3.
Hou.iriossia@.n,
A.
B.
(i@@7). “¿ Two-factorindex
of
ences in the post-isolation interview revealed
similar direction, although the differences were
markedly stronger for the medical students than
for the more varied population. Sexual differ
social position―,in Boek, W. E., Lawson, E. D.,
Van Kaver, A., and Sussman, M. D. : Social
Class, Maternal Health, and Child Welfare. (Mimeo
graphed.)
Albany,
N.Y.
:
New
York
State
ences
in
response
to
the
sensory
deprivation
4.
Department of Health.
KAQAN, J., and Moss, H.J.
(1962).
Birth
to Maturitj:
A
Study in P°1°@
Development.New York:
situation
re-affirm
the
recent
observation
by
Wiley
&
Sons,
Inc.
Kagan
and
Moss
(i.),
“¿is Itlikely
that
many
5.
“¿ Mentaleffects of reduction of
studies
in
the
literature
or
in
a
file
drawer
LILLY, J. C. (1956).
ordinary levels
of'
physical
stimuli
on
intact,
would
have
led
the
investigators
to
draw
healthy
persons.―
P@ychiat.
Res.
Rep.
Amer.
different
conclusions
if
separate
analyses
had
Psychiat.
Ass.,
5,
i—@8.
6.
Pn.tn, F., and HOLT, R. R. (i96o). “¿ Creativityand
been
made
for
males
and
females― (Kagan
primary
process:
a study
ofadaptive
regression.―
et
a!.,
p.
275).
3. Abnorm.Soc.P@ycho1.,6i, 370-379.
7.
ROGET,
P.
M.
Thesaurus.
Ed.
:
Morehead,
A.
H.
S@ii@ss@iw
New
York:
New
American
Library
of
World Literature., ig6@z.
The
study
reported
here is a replication
of an
8. SHURLEY,J.
T.
(Io).
“¿ Profoundexperimental
earlier investigation
of
sex
differences
in
sensory
isolation.―Amer. 3.
P@ychiat.,ii6,
response to underwater sensory isolation, and
539—545.
differences in reports of these experiences
as
a
9. TERMAN, L.
M.,
and
Mu.,as,
C.
C.
(1936).
Sex and
Personality:
Studies
in
MaSenliniy
and
Feminin4y.
p.
function
of
different
interviewers.
The
subjects
New York: McGraw-Hill.
for
the
first
study
were
paid
medical
students
10. WALTERs, CATHRYN, SHURLEY, J.
T.,
and
PiutsoNs,
fr
while
those
of the present
study were
drawn
0.
A. (i@6@z).“¿ Differencesin male and
female
from
a more
varied
population.
The
conditions
responses to
underwater
sensory deprivation:
of
sensory
isolation
described
elsewhere
( Io)
an
exploratory
study.―3.
New.
Mast.
Dis.,
535,
were
the
same
for
both
studies,
but
in
the
302—310.
I
I
.
WTFKIN,
H.
A.,
Lawis,
H.
B.,
I-Iai@.z@t@u',
M.,
second
study,
the
number
of
subjects
was
MAcHOVER, K., MEISSNER, P. B., and WAPNER,
increased
from
sixteen
to
twenty.
@
S.
Personality
Through
Perception.
New
Results
of the
present
investigation
confirmed
York : Harper.
Cathryn
Walters,
B.A., Psychology Technician,
Behavioral
Science Laboratory
of
the Senior
Medical
Investigator,
Research
Service,
Veterans
Administration
Hospital,
Oklahoma
City
4,
Oklahoma,
U.S.A.
Oscar
A.
Parsons,
Ph.D., Professor
of
Medical
Psychology, Department
of Psychiatry,
Xeurology and
Behavioral
Sciences,
University
of Oklahoma
Medical
Center,
Oklahoma
City
4, Oklahoma,
U.S.A.
Jay
T.
Shurley,
M.D., Senior Medical
Investigator
(Psychiatry),
Behavioral Science Laboratory,
Research
Service,
Veterans
Administration
Hospital;
Career
Research
Professor
of
Psychiatry,
University
of
Okla/wma,
School of Medicine,
Oklahoma
City
4,
Oklahoma,
U.S.A.

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