Our adventurer explores the wonders of psychological testing… those poor scientists.. – Editor
I suppose I should start at the beginning, though Eastern writers have spent centuries telling tales in circular patterns and they seem to make sense when it’s all said and done.
I was asked once to participate in a research study.
As is usually the case in this type of thing, I wasn’t told the hypothesis nor the goal of the study, only the variables which I was to provide.
The tests were simple: look at one hundred faces and decide if they represented a happy or angry person.
I answered the questions with ease, though the research students conducting the study seemed very aggravated that I asked several times to know my score.
Following this, I was asked to view dozens of scenes populated with people doing various activities in various environments. The images flew past me rather quickly, but I gathered what information I could, without knowing the objective. I was then asked general questions regarding my self esteem.
How that related to a scene of people dressed in 1846 costumes playing cribbage I will never know.
I was then asked to answer a series of mathematic equations, to rearrange blocks into specific designs, and define colors by what I image their flavors to be.
Eyebrows were raised when I chose mashed potatoes for green, but I had very good reason to do so. With each test I asked to know how I was doing, whether I was making the grade.
The students at first seemed frustrated with me, but following each subsequent test began to talk amongst themselves in hushed voices, marking vigorous notes, and pointing at me.
Finally I was taken to a plain room with beige walls and nothing but a table and two chairs. I sat patiently, humming and twiddling my thumbs as I am prone to do.
The songs included the Jeopardy theme, a favorite Italian aria, and the na-na-na’s from Batman. This lasted for several encores of na-na-na’s.
The door opened and a funny little man entered, dressed in a tweed suit with leather elbow patches. His face was weathered underneath a well groomed beard that sat below tense eyes and surrounded an equally tense mouth.
He said nothing, carried nothing with him, and seemed to be vacant of thought aside from whatever was making him tense- I assumed it was gas.
He sat for several minutes in silence without moving. I sat for several minutes with a broad smile on my face, head cocked to the left, awaiting instruction. He leaned forward and placed his elbows on the table. I leaned forward and did the same. He leaned back in his chair. I followed suit. He twitched his nose and his mustache shook like a cartoon character drawn by Tex Avery.
I attempted to do the same but imagined the result to look more akin to the Cadbury bunny. He leaned forward again and this time I leaned to the right. “Ah”, he exclaimed, “that solves it!”
He then left the room and I was quickly ushered to the exit by a rather happy, or perhaps angry, research student who kept mumbling under his breath, “to the right.”
Years later I was sent a copy of the study by an anonymous source. I know it was the one I participated in due to the continual references made to the “orange variable” and the mashed potatoes.
The study was trying to determine what people interpret via a computer screen in comparison with face to face contact. The applications were endless the study boasted, as to marketing trends, facial recognition software, and nano technology.
As happy that I am to have helped the field of science, the conspiracy theorist in me has the sneaky feeling that I provided them with an insight to humanity that may be the necessary component for androids to secretly infiltrate our society and eventually take over.
That is, now that they know when to call it quits and lean to right.