A Day At The Zoo

Also this entrance reminds me of Jurassic Park

Also this entrance reminds me of Jurassic Park

A couple months ago I signed up to be part of a psych study.

The University of Southern California is a research university and happens to be the home of the Brain and Creativity Institute, which I get a kick out of. I’m interested in the topic of the brain and creativity, but I’m not a scientist. My interest is purely¬† based upon enthusiasm, not actual empirical research, so I don’t have much to offer when it comes to research studies except to volunteer as a test subject. There is a part of me that wants to know how my brain works. I sometimes feel like it might work differently from other peoples’ brains: being introverted, being creative, being artistic, thinking in pictures before words, etc. The curiosity part of me has always wanted to do an fMRI to see inside my own head. The wallet part of me says that this will never happen.

But I live in hope.

So I signed up for a psych study that I saw advertised on the University’s internal website. It required only an afternoon of my time and would mean a free trip to the zoo, so really, I saw no downside. I’d never been to the LA Zoo before, although I had driven past the exit for it multiple times. It didn’t seem like the kind of place that grown-ups-with-no-children went, but this gave me an excuse.

Being a Saturday, the zoo was, well, a zoo. Wall-to-wall children. Most of the study took place in one of the administrative buildings away from the crowds, but also away from the animals (but I got a comp pass to go back again to see the actual zoo another time). It was largely an afternoon filled with saliva swabs and questionnaires, but I got to take a nice nature walk as well. This turned out to be surprisingly informative. As a Midwestern transplant to southern California, which means I can name native and invasive species of prairie plants and animals, but still can’t identify half the trees in my new neighborhood.

All in all it was an interesting experience and a fun day.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 20, 2014.

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