Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Experimentation

Today I had the new experience of being a test subject for investigating linguistic sequencing in the brain; simply put I was a glorified lab rat.  I got to wear this intensely cool cap that had a whole bunch of wires coming out from it.  The fancy name for what they were doing is called an electroencephalography (EEG), a neurological test that measures and records electrical activity in the brain. This wasn't just any brain though it was my brain.




The strangest part for me was when they gave me a mirror so I could see what they were doing. They used what look like a hypodermic needle, the ones nurses use on frightened children and adults, to release a gel like substance that would act as a conductor. For lack of a better word these needles had no sharp bit that punctured the skin, but my initial reaction was to close my eyes and count to ten regardless. At any given time I had two or three of these sticking out of my head and I wanted to laugh out loud but was worried I would ruin all of their hard work.

The prep phase was the most exciting part, once that was over with I sat in front of a computer and did word arrangement tasks. I had to hold as perfectly still as possible and repeat the phrases out loud. Once I had done this for what seemed like an hour, in actuality it was 20 minutes, they gave me a break. I was a little bit miffed at the words I had messed up for example I had to organize the following words from general to specific,  undergraduate, sophomore, and individual. My brain froze at the word sophomore because it is an american term and I couldn't remember what it meant. It would be interesting to know what my brain waves were doing when I came across that, probably spun into hyper gear. 

After another round of word rearrangements I was free to go but before I left they showed me an MRT scans of the brain ( not my brain) and explained what they were trying to learn from it. All I saw was a bunch of vivid colours but to them it was this complex language. I appreciated the care they took to explain everything to me and it piqued my interest in studying more about the brain. I have to say though that the part I enjoyed the most was wearing the cap, that was pretty darn cool. 



    

2 comments:

  1. Hey Honey! what an adventure you have had so far.. love love love your posts! keep them coming. And love you tons! Miss you like crazy, but wouldn't want you to miss these experiences for the world. Hugs MOM

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  2. you look like a racecar driver!

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