One of the joys of living in a college town (PSU) is the amount of research studies you can be a part of-- I’m not kidding. It all depends on what you’re willing to do and for how much. Story of our lives, right?
If you sign up for the pistachio study, then you get to eat pistachios for every meal- and they provide the meals for weeks at a time! Talk about cutting down your grocery budget! But you have to pick up the food from campus in a cooler every day. But they pay you a couple hundred dollars. Hmmmmm.
There is a similar study about avocados. They will provide you every meal. Like a celebrity! This is so tempting to me. Plus, I love avocados.
Another study where they pay you to participate involves a steady video taken of you driving. They fasten cameras to your car interior and exterior. Road Rage? Fender Bender and cell phones? Texting? Hand eye coordination? Your guess is as good as mine on what they are studying with this test. For five hundred dollars how much do you need to know? Hmmmmm.
Now, some studies have caveats that you have to “qualify.” This could mean several blood draws, or putting your hand in cold, cold water (no joke), or having a certain BMI. They are looking for women in their childbearing years, or people with diabetes, or people with infertility, or people with weight issues. Or people with all those things. (Geez, Sorry!)
This school does a lot of studies! It’s neat being on the edge of such curious and innovative research.
Once or twice I have taken the plunge and participated in a study.
One I really enjoyed was called The Bliss and Blues of Motherhood. I don’t talk about my kids very much on my blog because I want to respect their privacy. It would be TOO easy to entertain you with their hilarious quotes and cute-isms. But gregorific is about writing, thinking, and reading. And anything that affects those three passions.
But this specific study gave me great insight and tools to move through my day with better grace and more peace of mind. It helped focus my ‘conscientious living.’ The Bliss and Blues of Motherhood--what a great title.
So they called me five times a day on a phone that they provided and they asked me many questions. The call lasted 5-8 minutes each time. On the back of the phone was a rating scale. The calls went something like this:
What have you been doing since we last spoke?
Were the kids there? Who? What were their moods?
What is your mood now?
[Here is where I say from 1-5 how I feel. 5 is super great like double coupon day. 1 is baby’s diaper blows out in the grocery store on your-coupons-are-all-expired-day.]
What is the best thing that happened in the last two hours? What is the worst thing? On a scale of 1-5 how good was the best thing? Same scale: how bad was the worst thing?
How tired do you feel? (1-5)
Have you been around any other adults?
Okay! So you see what they were getting at, right? I mean as a blind research subject I do not know their hypothesis or anything. But I believe I ate out of their hands for this study.
I LOVED having someone call me every two hours and ask how I was feeling. I loved thinking about the best and worst thing that had happened. And then reflecting on what made a meaningful interaction in my day.
That scale on the back of the phone was intriguing. Throughout the day the phone would be in my pocket. My finger would run along the scale:
1 = Sour milk spill in the house but can’t find where it is. Just know it smells BAD.
2 = Fell asleep during nap time- felt like a bad mom.
3 = Went to the park. Kid fell and scraped knee. (middle zone mood)
4 = Kitchen is clean; read book with funny voices to kid. Kid thought I was hilarious. Felt awesome.
5 = Playdate: Kids played beautifully with no arguments and friends got to chat and compliment each other.
It’s been a while since I participated in that study. I have yet to see a report or article about it. I hope they are still doing it. Even as a community service J to moms. We are overlooked as part of the workforce, population, and cultural influence. If we weren’t so busy raising our kids we could do something about that.
Well, my challenge is this: Take a pretend ratings phone with you throughout your day. Find out the worst and the best and then put it into perspective. Maybe you’ll find a pattern you didn’t see until you looked. Maybe you can get rid of those low ratings and swerve up. Hey, maybe you’ll write a study on it.