5-speed listening (Isolation - Level 6)

Volunteers experience 40 days of isolation in a cave



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Could you survive for a few days without your smartphone or without being connected to the Internet? How about living in a cave with no mod cons for 40 days? Fifteen people did just that. They took part in a project called Deep Time to see how they would react to and cope with being totally disconnected from the modern world. Scientists from the Human Adaption Institute led the $1.9-million project. They wanted to understand how people would adapt to drastic changes in living conditions. They put the volunteers in a cave for nearly six weeks. There was no sunlight and the cave dwellers had no contact with the outside world. They had to rely on their body clock to know when to wake up, go to sleep and eat.

Most of the volunteers said they enjoyed the experience of total isolation. Two-thirds expressed a desire to remain underground a while longer in order to finish projects they had started. Deep Time's director Christian Clot said the experience would, "test humans' ability to adapt to the loss of their frame of reference for time and space". He said: "Our future as humans on this planet will evolve. We must learn to better understand how our brains are capable of finding new solutions, whatever the situation." One striking observation is that participants lost their sense of time. Mr Clot said: "In our heads, we had walked into the cave 30 days ago". One team member estimated the time underground to be 23 days.

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