So, here we are with the second part of the recent sleep study. Yesterday was very interesting and showed me a couple of things I didn’t know about myself. I shall come to that later.
The session began with another couple of paper studies that to be honest, were very easy I thought and I was through them inside of 10 mins. Off to a good start. Then we came to the computerised parts. The software was casing a few problems, which meant switching rooms and computers halfway through.
The first test was in 3×5 minute sections and were not too bad. On the screen was a little + icon, dead centre. I had to focus on that. Then, a series of arrows would pop onto the screen, either above or below the + icon. What I had to do was, concentrate on the centre arrow of the five and click a mouse, either left button or right button depending on which direction the middle arrow was pointing. Example,
Four arrows point right, but the centre arrow points left, so left click the mouse. Simple huh. It gets a bit harder as they throw in a few * before the arrows, just to try to catch you out. So instead of seeing the five arrows, you will see *+*, then the arrows. 5 minutes of doing that hurts my eyes, that’s for sure. The first batch went ok, a few mistakes made, that’s certain. The second batch went well I thought and the third batch were so-so. Once that part was over, I took a five minute break, just to close my eyes and relax. The room was way too hot for me, but the windows were sealed so they couldn’t be opened. At the start of the session, had to provide another saliva sample, which is difficult when your mouth is so dry. But I managed, then gave another two samples at 5pm and 6pm.
The next test was easy enough. One the screen, there were a random set of squares. The squares lit up in sequence and you just had to replicate the sequence. Thats easy when its only three squares, but once you get up to seven and eight, it gets a little harder. But I got through it, right up to the 9th sequence where I failed twice, that was test over. I was happy enough with that. I wanted to crack on whilst I could as I was starting to tire. This is the first time in over three years I have tried anything remotely like this.
The next part was something similar to the previous one. On the screen were a series of circles, we call them cups, as that is what they represent. Underneath one of the cups is a marble. You touch the cups to see if it reveals a marble, if it does, you move the marble over to the right hand side of the screen where it is deposited in a column. Then you repeat the process. Easy peasy, pudding and pie [haven’t said that for many a year]. But, there’s a twist. Once you touch a cup and it has revealed a marble, you have to remember which cup it is, then not go back to it for the rest of the test. Its easy with four cups. Once each cup is eliminated and marble deposited, you try not to look under that cup again. I did well in this one and was up to nine cups. I got 9 cups wrong the first time, but hit it second time, 10 cups was too many to remember and that’s where I stopped. I wish I could recreate on the screen, but I can’t, I hope you get the gist of it though.
I took another 5 minute break, but was waiting to move rooms to get onto the 2nd part. The lad in there was taking forever. 90 mins he was in there when it should take 50-60 mins max. I had to wait until he had finished before I could progress.
The final tests were tougher. If you can, imagine your screen is split into two, right down the centre. On the left hand side are four icons, a train, a plane, a book and a pencil. They are just placed randomly around the area. You have to look at it for a specified time period, then the icons disappear from the screen. On the right hand side, they are four dots replicating where the icons were. You have to put the icons back onto the dot that represents where they were originally on the left hand side. Thats easy with four icons and the dots to know where to place them. But try it with nine icons. Then, there’s another twist. The dots are taken away from the right hand side. Now you get four icons on the left hand side for a specified time. Then they disappear and you have to try to replicate in the right hand side not only the correct icon, but also where you think it was positioned. Its tough when you get to seven. I really struggled with this, which surprised me. I didn’t do well at all throughout and was slightly annoyed with myself.
Next came the faces. A face appeared on the screen and you had six options. Was the face angry, fearful, disgusted, happy, sad, neutral. It was very difficult to decide, just from a persons face what emotion they were feeling. This again was in 3×5 minute blocks and again, with the popping up of images, it hurt my eyes. But I got through it and thought I did ok, but nothing more than ok.
The final test was with the faces again. 3×5 minute blocks, but with a twist. There are two boxes on the screen, left and right. They each measure 10cm x 8cm. In one box, a face flashes for a millisecond, then a small icon appears in one of the boxes. It could be the same box as the image flashed in, or the other one. So if a face flashed in the left box, then the little icon appeared in the same box, you click left, if the icon appears in the right box, after the face flashed left, then right-click. Sounds easy enough right. Pffft, you would be mistaken, just like I was. It fools your brain, you see a brief image and you reaction is to click where you saw that image, but then the icon appears, its like 5mm x 5mm and your brain gets a little confused. First block was terrible. The second block I really focused about as hard as is possible and did ok, I think, but can’t confirm, I made 2 errors in 5 mins. The last block was tough. I focused so hard on the second block, my brain was on overload and I just skipped through them, not really too concerned about getting them right or wrong.
Its been a very interesting exercise. I have enjoyed doing it, even though it was hard on my brain. My spatial awareness is terrible. Trying to put icons into a smallish area, they way they were when you saw them proved that. I dealt with sequences quite well. They tend to be more logical and I have always been ok with logic. I tended to think in a logical way before 2008, so its good to know some of that still works. Flashing images tend to hurt my eyes, which I already know, and trying to focus and concentrate is difficult and tiring.
I hope in the future I can get involved in more studies like these as I think I can learn more about myself and that’s what I need to do. The fellas who are doing the study were really pleasant and always encouraged me, which was pleasing. I finally arrived home about 7.30pm, which was later than I thought it would be. I should have been out not long after 6pm and a ten minute taxi ride and I am home, but that’s neither here nor there. I enjoyed it overall and learnt something from it, that’s the important part.