I was a lab rat again today.
Honestly, I was excited. I like being a social lab rat. You do’n't have to take anything – which is great because I live in fear dying and public humiliation.
For this particular study, I was told to be there five minutes early because it was going to be a partner study.
I went to union square to do some shopping…
which is pretty much always a bad idea.
I get to the building five minutes early. She told me that the couple from before is running a little late. I thought it was weird that any two people that happened to get paired in this partner study is already a couple, but whatever. That’s fine. I had a book. I could entertain myself while I waited.
I always make sure to have a book and a bottle of water in case I get trapped in an elevator. This ensures that you have something to keep your mind busy, something to hydrate you, and something that makes it so you don’t have to establish a pee corner.
After about ten minutes, the other couple left. My partner was still not there. I was starting to feel slightly abandoned.
Finally, he showed up.
He was a gawky, lanky, socially awkward young man. He was nice enough, but I can’t say he wasn’t a bit off. It’s not like I was afraid of being alone in the room with him in fear I would get murdered during my partner study, but I did move my chair as close to the wall as I could.
We were told we would be doing a study for a theoretical trial of a company who may or may not have been dumping chemicals in the water and making people sick.
I was very happy. I was about to get $20 for 45 minutes worth of pretending I was Erin Brockovich.
We went along with everything we were supposed to do… until finally we came to our personal portion of experiment.
Basically, they just wanted to make sure we were of sound mind and not serial killers (I’m assuming). We filled out our survey’s quietly. I came across one that I had a bit of moral trouble answering.
The question was: “It is always wrong to kill a person.”
Immediately I went to the “Strongly Agree”… but I wavered for a moment.
Is it ALWAYS wrong to kill someone? What if a person was trying to kill you? Surely it’s not wrong to kill them.
Or what if a person is listening to incredibly loud house music on their phone with no headphones on the subway at 9am? Surely it wouldn’t be wrong to kill them either.
Instead of “Strongly Agree” I circled “Moderately Agree”.
Now, if I was having trouble answering this question, I wondered what the other half of my couple was putting at this very moment. What if he were circling “Strongly Disagree”, should I kill him just in case it turns out he was the psychotic serial killer he seemed? I mean… he did come fifteen minutes late when he was told to come five minutes early…
Although, Dexter would never be late to an appointment.
We finished our experiment, got paid, and went our separate ways. I only once wondered if I should ask him what he put for the “It’s always wrong to kill a person”, but decided against it in case he would have to kill me if he told me the answer.
July 1st –
Another day of being a lab rat. I’m sort of surprised I can keep myself a float with all of this lab ratting and extra work I keep finding.
I could see why some people make this their full time job.
$30 to be on a pretend jury? Sure, why not? I was just going to be watching a Law and Order SVU marathon anyway, why not pay me to watch the same thing.
We watched a poorly filmed “trial” (which I realized had been filmed in the same room that our ragtag group of jury members were being shown this video).
The idea of the trial was that a white (probably important she was white for the study) woman was raped by a neighbor (who happened to be a black male).
There were some signs that the guy had probably done it, but in the end there wasn’t enough evidence. Unfortunately for some people, that doesn’t matter. It depends on what the jury thinks.
What’s supposed to happen is that you can only convict if ALL of the evidence totally makes it clear that the person on trial definitely, without a doubt, did it.
So this guy, even though there was some evidence that he may have done it, I was going to have to rule as “not guilty.”
As soon as I realized this, I hoped we wouldn’t have a situation.
We weren’t going to be allowed to leave the room until we all agreed.
The men in the room I was sure I wouldn’t have much of a problem convincing. The women on the other hand…
Since rape is a touchy subject for any woman (especially women who have watched Law and Order SVU and lives in NYC) I wondered if they were just going to immediately decide this guy was guilty whether the evidence showed it or not.
Turns out, there was only one young raver who thought he was guilty.
Everyone else was a firm “not guilty” due to the lack of evidence and shotty police work.
Once we all pointed out the lack of evidence she quickly said “oh. ok. not guilty” very unenthusiastically.
We needed to chose one member to be the head juror and go get the college students conducting the experiment and tell them our verdict. Since I had led the discussion, I figured I should have someone else do it. I turned to the guy next to me, who became my second in command to the discussion about how even though we were pretty sure he was guilty that we couldn’t find this guy guilty…
and suggested he go.
Another woman said, “No, you should go. You’re that person.” She said it with a smile.
I am always that person.
My second in command went anyway. Handing over paper is not the job of a captain.
Deliberating took us about ten minutes. The students seemed surprised we were all on the same page. I slyly wrote my contact info for filming on the scrap paper we all had to hand in with our notes on it, got my money and left.