Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Study, Part I

I participate in a psychological study!

I arrive and am admitted into a darkened room, full of computers and fans. The researcher is a student, in jeans and sneakers. She slips on a white coat and leads me to a smaller, darker room, with a reclining chair and a large monitor. I am instructed to sit in the recliner and relax.

I fill out a lengthy survey, in which I am repeatedly asked whether I have ever done drugs or used a weapon to gain something I wanted. I clarify that sex is not a weapon. As I check "no" endlessly on the questionnaire, the researcher begins sticking electrodes to my arms, chest, and face. She wrestles a cloth cap onto my head and attaches more electrodes.

This is a study about gambling, she tells me. The electrodes will measure all sorts of responses my body has to the tasks I will be given.

"Gambling? Then I'll need you to bring me a cocktail," I joke.

She barely smiles as she hooks wires from my skull cap to a large device to my right. I'm to press buttons in response to prompts on the monitor in front of me. There are a number of tasks to complete, and bonus payments are available if I am successful in completing them.

The researcher closes the door behind her as she leaves to start the study.

"Is someone going to start controlling my mind now?" I ask into the darkness.

The monitor turns on and my tasks begin.

1 comment:

Dana said...

Oooh, how do I get signed up for one of those studies? That sounds interesting!