Not To Be Trusted With Knives

{July 4, 2006}   I Am A Guinea Pig

So I’ve signed up to take part in a study being conducted by a friend of mine. I know how hard it is to get people to participate in studies and, since I was eligible and available for the time needed, I volunteered. I won’t go into the details of the procedure, since it’s not my research and I don’t want to reveal too much info on the study, but suffice it to say that I have a nice collection of urine samples in my freezer now*.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been a guinea pig. Back in my first year, I took part in a few psychology studies, because it meant that I could get out of writing some of the assignments for my first-year psychology class. When future civilizations dig up the remains of our civilization, there will be a plethora of info on first-year psychology students on which they will be able to base their understanding of our time (or, at the very least, they will learn that first-year psychology students will do just about *anything* to get out of having to write assignments).

The coolest study I ever took part in, though, was getting a fMRI** done — again, it was someone I know who was working on a study and needed control subjects to compare to patients with schizophrenia. You lie down inside this tube with a giant magnet and have pictures of your brain taken while you take part in some kind of an activity — in my case, I had to match up pictures and sounds. As remuneration I could either get $10 or a picture of my brain. So, of course, I took the picture. I would put the picture up here, but (a) it’s really hard to scan since it is kind of like an x-ray, where you have to view it on one of those light box things, and (b) I don’t want my enemies (of which I have many) to have access to the secrets of my genius.

*OK, I concede that perhaps that is TMI!

**functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging – it lets you see what parts of the brain are activated during different activities.


Jorge says:

The coolest thing I ever did (science-related) was to take a photograph of cancer cells.

Pretty shnazzy.

I wonder if you could scan your brain picture by putting a white sheet or mirror on top of the sheet with the picture on it.

Beth says:

Is this really Jorge, or is it one of my many enemies, cleverly disguising themselves as Jorge, in order to get the 411 on my genius?

Courtney-O says:

I wish I had a picture of my brain.

I’m so jealous.

[…] Be a Guinea Pig. You know you want to. As you know, I love being a participant1 in research studies.  As a scientist myself, I know how difficult it can be to recruit participants, so I thought […]

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