In Which Our Hero Gets His Brain Scanned

This morning, tired from last evening's gales of laughter, I stumbled into my office at 9:30. Upon checking my email, I found a reminder of a Social Sciences Experimental Lab experiment that I was to take part in today. It told me to report to the MRI center at 10:15.

So I remov'd the earrings and dropped off my iPod and walked on over to the Broad Center (the MRI center is located therein). Down the elevator and to the appointed mustering point I went.

When I arrived, I was briefly interviewed and asked to fill out some documentation. Since I'm free of internal metal parts and in reasonable health, I was determined to be a suitable subject.

The experimenter had me get up on the little conveyor-thing and gave me earplugs, headphones, and a little goggle-display. Then she gave me this little keypad (for the experiment) and a pneumatic panic button. Presently, my head was strapped in snugly, and I was advanced into the scanner.

As I moved in, I thought I felt a little rotation about my nose- the high magnetic field can disorient people when they move through it- but it may have been my imagination. Surprisingly, I was mostly comfortable, despite the fact that I ended up in there for about an hour, prone, and unable to move (for the most part). I think that my interest in what was going on overcame my fidgetyness.

The experiment was a gambling experiment, where I had to guess beforehand if the second of two cards flashed would be higher or lower than the first. Then I had to indicate if I'd guessed correctly. (It's not ESP, I had to push a button for higher/lower, and correct/incorrect) There were 3 sessions of 30 trials, each.

The first run through I didn't realize there was a time-limit, and so I missed a couple of trials. I started with $25 and ended up with $23 ($1 automatic bet, $.25 for indicating right(wrong) when wrong(right)). The second time, I ended with $28. The third, I ended with $38.

Unfortunately, my winnings were determined randomly from those three values- and I got the least of them. Dang! Still, the experimenter was impressed with my winning ways and so was I. I came out with $28 ($5 for showing up), and the promise of a JPEG version of one of my scans in the near future.

'Twas fun, interesting.

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