Deprivation has been a subject of theory and research in psychology principally in the following forms: sensory, sleep, maternal, and social. Traditional psychology has focused on examining the physiological and psychological consequences of sensory and sleep deprivation. Another area of extensive study in psychoanalytic literature has been maternal deprivation (Bowlby, 1982). This understanding of deprivation has tended to focus on the role of biological and individual factors in understanding the adverse impact of failing to meet basic, innate needs. Many of the applications of this research have been aimed at removing risks posed by deprivation to individual well-being. However, the often acontextual nature of such investigation and presumption of value-free science (Prilleltensky 1997; Sarason 1981) has increased the risk of abusive uses of this knowledge. One example is the use of sensory deprivation in torture (McCoy, 2007).
The study of social deprivation or the...
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