Some Dead Week academic fun

Dr. Krantz playing a nice, difficult game of catch.
Dr. Krantz playing a nice, difficult game of catch.

As classes are winding down, and due dates are quickly approaching, it’s good to have a little academic fun. This semester, I’ve taken my first lab course, and it just so happened to be Sensation and Perception with Dr. John Krantz, a psychology course.

This whole semester we’ve been doing experiments on vision and audition, as well as a few other senses, and written a few lab reports to get us used to them; it is an intro lab course, after all.

With the mess of studying for finals and countless essays and projects being due in the next few days, for our final lab, Dr. Krantz didn’t want to do anything too stressful. Instead we got to get out of our seats and put on some pretty weird goggles.

The first were distortion goggles, which moved the whole world about 15 degrees to the left. We were charged with the daunting task of playing catch. It seemed simple at first, we had to throw the ball to our partner and they’d catch it. We just had to do it six times.

The thing is, when your whole world is off to the side, you tend to throw a little screwy. Luckily, after about 15 minutes, we had finally adapted to our new way of seeing, and we were actually quite successful.

Then the fun part came, taking off the goggles and doing it again. With our vision back to normal we were convinced it’d be much easier. Boy, were we wrong. Having adapted to the new vision, we immediately responded by throwing the ball in the opposite direction, about 15 degrees to the right.

It felt like our hands were being controlled by someone else, and it was strange. After a few tosses, we finally got back to normal, and it was pretty easy again. This wasn’t even the best part.

Drinking from a fountain's not as easy as it looks.
Drinking from a fountain’s not as easy as it looks.

We then put on the next pair of goggles, and these were even more trippy. We simply had to walk down the hallway, get a drink from the drinking fountain, then walk outside. Sounds simple enough, right?

These glasses did more than move your vision left or right; they flipped your world upside-down. So walking down the hallway, the floor was the ceiling, and you felt like you had to watch out for exit signs when you walked.

And don’t even get me started on the drinking fountain, which was impossible to see, and if you finally did see it, it was turned completely around. Needless to say, there were plenty of wet faces.

Our next task, walking outside, should have been easy, right? It’s just out a few doors, then you’re fine. But like I said earlier, the ceiling is the floor and once you’re outside, there is no ceiling, so every step becomes a step of faith since it appears there is no ground.

All in all, this class was by far one of the best I’ve taken since I’ve been here. Not only is Krantz great at keeping your attention in lectures, but he knows how to have a little fun with his subject, too.

And don’t worry, he wasn’t a hypocrite either, he put on the goggles and did everything with us. We even got him to try to sit in a chair, a daunting task when you don’t know where it is.

Dr. Krantz trying to find a chair.
Dr. Krantz unsuccessfully trying to find a chair.

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