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An isolation booth is a cabinet used to prevent a person or people from seeing or hearing certain events, usually for television programs or for blind testing of products.
Its most visual use is on game shows, where an isolation booth (either portable or built into the show's set) is in use to prevent a contestant from hearing their competitor's answers, or in the case of Family Feud, their fellow family member/friend's response to the "Fast Money" survey questions. Examples of the former include Twenty-One, Win Ben Stein's Money, 50 Grand Slam, Raise the Roof, The $64,000 Challenge, Whew!, Solitary and Double Dare (the 1976 version entitled as such unrelated to the children's game show). Another use is to prevent the audience from shouting the answer to them, as seen on The $64,000 Question, The $1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime, and Name That Tune. A comical use was in the show Idiot Savants, where a plastic tube was placed on the contestant's head.
In addition to isolation booths, blindfold sleep masks are often use to prevent the isolated contestant from seeing what is going on, and as technology has improved, noise-cancelling headphones with music piped in are also used to shield the contestant from noise.
Isolation booths are also frequently used in audio recordings, with non-reflective walls, lined with acoustic foam that eliminate potential reverberations.
Use as punishment
School children in the UK are punished in isolation booths in a policy known as "occupy and ignore". In some cases, children have been punished in this manner for 22 hours in one week. Such punishment has led to suicide attempts.
- "Will schools ever learn?". Centre for peaceful solutions. April 15, 2019.
- "Mother sues over daughter's suicide attempt in school isolation booth". The Guardian. April 15, 2019.
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