This post was written many months ago at the beginning of Monkey’s participation in the Vanderbilt theater group research study. I held off on posting it for fear of tainting the study in any way. With the completion of this weekend’s performances, it feels safe to share how the study began all those months ago.
I wrote about my afternoon picnic and relaxing stroll all around the Vanderbilt campus, but what was Monkey up to while I was enjoying myself?
Quite a lot.
She did some neuropsychological testing which included facial recognition processing: She looked at a series of faces, waited a bit, then had to indicate if she had seen the faces before while looking at a new group of faces.
She started with the testing on paper, then a computerized version which showed her a face from three different angles, then they showed one of the three pictures with two different pictures, and she had to pick the one she had seen before.
Then it showed her six faces straight on and she had to pick one of those faces out from a new grouping of faces, with a variety of angles.
Then they added colored “noise” over the faces, which adds an extreme level of difficulty.
After this there were two social interaction activities. When telling me about them, Monkey said, “I’m sure they were intended to just pretend they were just humans talking to each other, but they were obviously part of the research.”
This made me laugh.
For about 5 minutes she interacted with a person who was friendly and talkative, initiating most of the conversation starters.
The second person she interacted with was terse and slightly uncomfortable, initiating nothing, asked only one question, and when questioned, responded with one word answers.
Finally the electroencephalography (EEG) tasks.
Bless this kiddo’s heart. I had asked if I could be with her for this specifically, and since I couldn’t, she made sure to get a picture for me.
While wearing this stylish head gear she had to examine pictures on the video screen and click on a button if a smiley face showed on the screen. (Not a person smiling, just a smiley face. :-)) It was pictures of the front porches of houses and pictures of people smiling slightly too widely.
Second test was pictures of people in purple or blue frames, and she had to click the button if they were purple. The people were showing various emotions of all sorts.
After that she was grateful to take off the helmet and head out into the beautiful afternoon.
It was an interesting afternoon, and I love that she has such an amazing memory that she was able to tell me all about the things she had done.
Next up will be a Zoom visit in May with more self-reporting, then another in-person follow up in June.