The cloud of unknowing: Cognitive dedifferentiation in whole-body perceptual deprivation

Michele Pellegrino, Joseph Glicksohn, Fabio Marson, Francesco Ferraiuolo, Tal Dotan Ben-Soussan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


An altered sensory environment, especially a homogeneous one like a ganzfeld, can induce a wide range of experiences in people immersed in it. The ganzfeld of our current focus is the OVO Whole-Body Perceptual Deprivation chamber (OVO-WBPD). Previous literature has found this specific immersive environment to be capable of softening and dissolving perception of boundaries across time and sensory modalities, among other domains. Since recent published electrophysiological results demonstrated that immersion in the OVO-WBPD significantly increased delta and beta activity, in the left inferior frontal cortex and in the left insula, we sought to better understand the subjective experiences of participants utilizing this altered sensory environment via semi-qualitative methodology. Consequently, semi-structured interviews of participants were analyzed by three independent evaluators focusing on several domains of experience often reported in perceptual deprivation environments. We found a significantly shared consensus on the presence of experiences belonging to semantic domains of altered experience, demonstrating that the OVO-WBPD chamber consistently elicits positively connotated, bodily-oriented and cognitively dedifferentiated subjective states of consciousness in the majority of 32 examined participants.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in Brain Research
PublisherElsevier B.V.
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cognitive dedifferentiation
  • Ganzfeld
  • Mindfulness
  • Space perception
  • Synesthesia
  • Time perception
  • Whole-body perceptual deprivation


Dive into the research topics of 'The cloud of unknowing: Cognitive dedifferentiation in whole-body perceptual deprivation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this