• Question: are you willing to have experiments performed on yourself?

    Asked by gabs to Damien, Rachael, Simon, Suzi, Tim on 21 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by kianared13.
    • Photo: Suzi Gage

      Suzi Gage answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi @gabs

      I’ve taken part in loads of experiments while I was a student and while I have been working as a psychologist.
      I’ve had to drink alcohol, had electrodes attached to my head to measure my brain activity – I’ve even been in a MRI brain scanner! Taking part in experiments is really fun, and also by looking at how someone else goes about answering a question, you can get ideas yourself for how to answer the questions you’re interested in!

      Would you be willing to be a participant in experiments? Where would you draw the line and say ‘I don’t want to do that’!?

    • Photo: Tim Fosker

      Tim Fosker answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi @gabs

      I’m the same as Suzi. I’ve taken part in lots of psychology experiments and I often sit my own experiments to test them out before I run them with other people.

      I’m not sure how I feel about taking part in drug trials though. I guess if I thought the study was important enough I would take part.

      How about you?

    • Photo: Rachael Ward

      Rachael Ward answered on 21 Jun 2011:


      Me too – I had an MRI and had to press buttons when lights came up on a screen – to test my reactions. It was fun and I got a piccy of the scan afterwards.

      I’d be more concerned in taking part in the drug trials though. I know people who have and got paid quite a bit to do it but I’d be worried about the side effects.

    • Photo: Damien Hall

      Damien Hall answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      I definitely like to have experiments performed on me! Linguistic and psychological ones, anyway. It’s fun to contribute to other people’s research, though I have never been asked to drink alcohol as part of my science. I’m not sure that was really an experiment …
      I actually make a point of doing other people’s experiments if I can, because all of my work depends on experiments (interviews) that I do with other people. I can’t pay my interviewees back directly for their kindness, but I hope to get some good karma or something from giving back to the scientific world in the same way as it has given to me! I’m very aware that, if people didn’t do other people’s experiments, there would be much less science done, so I try to do my bit.

      The weirdest thing I have ever had to do for an experiment was wear a niqab (a Muslim woman’s face-covering) and speak through it. It was part of an experiment to see what the effect of various face-coverings on the voice is – so I also had to wear a crash-helmet, a balaclava, a scarf around my mouth, and a piece of tape (as if I had been kidnapped). Some pictures do survive, as part of the experiment was that it was videoed, but I have made sure that they are under lock and key at an undisclosed location.

      Have you ever taken part in an experiment? Did you enjoy it?