I have participated in plenty of psychological studies in my time, as has anyone who has an undergraduate psychology degree (universities often require that you participate in experiments run by final year and postgraduate students in order to pass the course). And I must admit that I’ve always loved it (and not just for the course credit or money). I like to think that I am in a teeny weeny way contributing to science, and am always interested to hear what the researchers tell me in the debrief, which is when you are told what the study was really all about.
Last month I participated in a PhD project investigating how the brain reacts when doing spatial tasks. The task involved lying in an fMRI machine for about an hour. People are often really anxious about going into an fMRI, because you have to lie very still, in a very tight space, in a very noisy machine. I have to admit I kind of enjoyed it. It was cosy, like being back in the womb or something. Anyway, as a total surprise, the PhD student today emailed me pictures of my brain from the study! I was absolutely delighted, such a cool thing to get. If you’re ever asked to participate in a scientific study, I would totally recommend doing it – you get to contribute a bit to science, the researchers really appreciate it, and in some cases like this, you get to see a part of yourself you have never seen before.
BEHOLD… THE BRAIN O’ LAUREN!