An Experimental Analysis of Questionable Discrepancy in Female Patients at Fairfield Hills

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Anderson. How are we this...? Oh my, look at the time, it's almost 9. Let's begin, shall we?"

Today I will be administering an experiment. It is a sound experiment. I know it is sound because I was told by very sound people, "This is a good one. Very sound. Lots of interesting variables and smart words joined by hyphens like high-fear, verbal-behavior, experiential-expressive, post-self-assessment, etc." I think it goes without saying the reason you are here today is because you are crazy. Crazy people are called subjects, sane people are called proctors. I am the proctor, you are the subject. Listen to my voice as I describe the experimental design fo the room. Do not talk. I talk. I instruct. You listen. You follow my instructions. Understand? Yes? Good.

The floor of this room has been divided with tape into five 4-foot increments, and a harmless boa constructor housed in a covered terrarium has been placed on that table 20 feet from the entrance. Now listen to me carefully, and let's begin.

At the end of the room there is a harmless snake securely enclosed in a glass cage. The purpose of this session is simply to find out how afraid you are of the snake. At no time will I force you to do anything which you are afraid to do. I can tell you that the snake is very tame, and that he does not crawl out of the cage if the top should be opened.

Now I would like you to look at the five levels marled off on the floor. When I ask you to do so, please see if you can walk to the first level marked off and stop. I will only ask if you can go further after you have completed a level. Remember, I will not force you to do anything you are afraid to do. Do you have any questions?

1. Can you walk to the 2nd level marked off on the floor?

2. Can you walk to the 3rd level marked off on the floor?

3. Can you walk to the 4th level marked off on the floor?

4. Would you see if you can approach all the way to the snake?

5. Would you please see if you can place the palm of your gloved hand against the glass where the snake is lying?

6. Would you please see if you can place the palm of your bare hand against the glass where the snake is lying?

7. If I draw back the wire cover of the cage a little bit, would you try to stand there and look down at the snake? (If "yes," I will draw it back now. May I, Mrs. Anderson?).

8. Would you see if you can reach into the cage with the glove on and get your hand far enough in so that your wrist is below the top of the cage? You do not have to touch the snake.

9. Would you please see if you can reach into the cage with the glove on and touch the snake once?

10. Would you please see if you can reach into the cage barehanded and touch the snake once?

11. Would you please see if you can reach in and pick the snake up barehanded at least a few inches, and hold it for as long as you are able? (I am going to time you, Mrs. Anderson. I am going to record to the time. After you have held the snake in your barehand for 30 seconds, you may put it down. Do you understand, Mrs. Anderson?)

12. Thank you for participating in today's experiment, Mrs. Anderson. There is a sink for washing your hands in the corner. On your way out, please tell Miss Collins to come in. I am ready for her now.