Tohoku University in Japan - 1970 Sensory overload experiments
Type of Spiritual Experience
In a sense this also shows how not to do it. Accompany the experience by a threatening environment and the experience will not be pleasant
A description of the experience
Psychosomatic Medicine and Liaison Psychiatry: Selected Papers
Only a handful of published studies [in the book] are based on sensory overload. Several investigators refer to their research explicitly as being concerned with sensory overload. Workers at the Tohoku University in Japan started in 1970 to publish reports on sensory overload experiments.
In their first report they comment on the difficulties of defining sensory overload and point out that in contrast to experiments with sensory deprivation many attributes of the stimulus situation need to be taken into account in devising methods of producing the overload.
These attributes include the quality, intensity and duration of the stimuli as well as the amount of information and degree of change, meaning novelty and complexity of the stimulus input. The Tohoku workers exposed their experimental subjects to intense auditory and visual stimuli presented randomly in a condition of confinement ranging in duration from 3 to 5 hours.
The subjects showed heightened and sustained arousal, found sensory overload more aversive than deprivation and had mood changes in the direction of aggression, anxiety and sadness. Two subjects reported visual hallucinogenic like phenomena.