Anyway, my life's trials and tribulations are not what this post is about. This post is about what really made my day. So, for my Practical Psychology course I have to partake in a few studies through the "Sonar System". The Sonar System is basically a site where Psychology students at Aberdeen can find studies to participate in for class credit. We're expected to do at least 6 credits worth. I did one last Thursday called "Dining on Your Imagination" which was worth 1 credit. I was suppose to do one about Blind Communication and how two people communicate when they can't see each other (this one was particularly interesting to me as I have and interest in the blind and visually impaired). It was worth 2 credits, but the researchers never showed. I still got the credits since I was there, but still, I wish I could have done it. Today though, I did the one I was really looking forward to. It's called "Eye Movement and Emotion".
Basically what happened is I went into the room and got hooked up to electrodes on both sides of my eyes and on my right ear. The researcher was my Practical Tutor, so I had no problems with her scrubbing my skin down and placing tiny things on my face. Then I faced a monitor and was told that a few faces would appear on the screen really quickly and all I had to do was move my eyes towards the faces as quickly as I could. I was warned before hand that I wouldn't be able to notice anything in particular about the face as it would be on the screen for too short a period. There were 5 rounds of *I believe* 80 faces. We took breaks in between each trial because it is tiring! After all of those trials were done I was asked to look at the faces again and rate their emotions and how emotional they were on a scale of 1-5. Again, the faces popped up on the monitor far too quickly for me to actually see them, so I just guessed for a few of them. Then I was done.
The point of this experiment was to judge whether or not we can tell the emotion "FEAR" apart from all other emotions even if we aren't aware the fact that we are seeing a scared person. It has to do with a survival technique. Here's a bit of my debriefing sheet: "Previous research has shown that emotional facial stimuli resul in faster saccadic eye movements." In this study the "not knowing that the person has a scared look on his face" was taken farther in that they also tweaked the faces ever so slightly. Some were upside down and others and different spatial frequencies.
It was pretty fun, but very tiring on my eyes. But, I really enjoyed getting to know my Practical Tutor a little better during the breaks and she was able to help me in writing my report. It's my first one whereas most of the class have done one from last semestre.
All in all, a good day. If I can get two more sections of the report done today I'll go to the pub quiz tonight!
Oh, and guess what came under my door while I was gone doing the study today?
What is this you ask?
Why, it's a census. Erin is filling out her very first ever census. Otherwise I get finned a lot of money.