Friday, January 23, 2009

The things I do for a little cash...

I've been incredibly busy this week at work. My projects are catching up with me and deadlines all seem to be hitting at once. I'm finding there aren't enough hours in the work day to get everything done.

But this is my fault. I contributed to my busy schedule by signing up to participate in some research studies. One of the benefits of working at a University is the opportunity to earn cash being a human subject in a research project. (You know the cereal commercial that boasts you loss weight by eating one bowl of cereal for breakfast, one bowl of cereal for lunch, and a light dinner? Yeah, that study was done at my University.)

I once spent 84 days in row ingesting eight servings of grape juice. That's 5,376 ounces in 12 weeks. (Needless to say, I can no longer drink grape juice.) Sure I gained 10 pounds but I made $100 in the process.

This week, I'm doing a speech perception study. Four days in a row, I've been going to the speech lab to listen to Alice, Beth, Claire, Dave, Earl, and George on the computer. (Yes, George. This has been puzzling me. Why the A, B, C, D, E names and no F? Instead of something easy like Fred, they skipped the F and went straight to G for George.) I get to hear them say sentences like, The tip of the knife is sharp and The queen likes to wear silk socks, only their voices sound unnatural because they've been altered to mimic the sound that people with hearing loss may hear through their cochlear implants.

Although the sessions only last an hour, they are painstakingly boring. I hear a sentence and I'm supposed to click on the picture of the person who said it. I can barely tell the different between the men and women, much less which one actually said it. It's hard to stay awake. Unless I'm doing the sentence transcription part. That's my favorite. I listen to a voice who says 60 different sentences. I'm supposed to type what I hear or what I think they say. As with the voice identification testing, the voice is altered. Its very deep and muffled and sort of reminds me of a voice from a scary movie. This makes me think it's saying very dreary, dark things so I end up typing things like The dog likes to go to the cemetery and She is very afraid to die. I can picture the researchers laughing their asses off at my translations.

For the four sessions, I'll earn $40. I'm also starting another study and had to do the preliminary testing this week. Its looking at the relationship between Vitamin D and strength training. I have to lift weights with a trainer three days per week while taking Vitamin D (or a placebo). The study lasts 12 weeks. I'm still going through the initial testing (I met with a trainer so he could record how strong I was. Yeah, I'm below average. That's right, I'm a wuss.) Next I have to lie in some sort of weird machine while it scans my body for a half an hour. And then I have to do a three hour glucose/blood test. Sweet. All this for $250.


Deanna said...

Only $250? Ugh! It'd take more than that for me. If you've never done one, I recommend, from personal experience, keeping a bucket nearby. I like sweet, but that stuff...*shudder*.
Good luck! ;-)

MTR said...

Let me know the results of the vitamin D test if you can. I'm interested in that one...