The strangest place I’ve ever reworked a protocol

20 08 2019

Adding to my ‘unusual places’ theme, last week I found myself exchanging text after text about experimental design while perched on a 17th century windowsill surrounded by stuffed stags’ heads. The venue? The fabulously eccentric, run-down pile of Calke Abbey.

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And the reason? Another mistake in the ‘judgment bias’ study, spotted in time but needing a swift, nimble solution that could accommodate A & A’s growing exhaustion, the extinction of some mice to the unreinforced ambiguous cue, and noisy renovations planned in the CAF on Monday (by which time this experiment had been supposed to be safely over).

We pulled it off, all will be well, and the experiment will be good  (if very unlikely to validate the task). But the surreal final twist was that the mouse retraining that had to happen on the noisy Monday was accompanied by the faint sound of drilling, which apparently sounded like crying. So, Augustina, Aileen and Sylvia  each thought one of the others was quietly weeping. Now that’s judgment bias! These women need a well-deserved rest, that’s for sure.


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