January 18, 2009

Mazel Tov, It's A Guinea Pig!

Great opening from the NY Times:

At a birthing class, Dr. [Pawan] Sinha, a neuroscience professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, stunned everyone, including his wife, by saying he was excited about the baby's birth "because I really want to study him and do experiments with him." He did, too, strapping a camera on baby Darius's head, recording what he looked at.
The article is about scientists who use their own kids as research subjects, and it's a fascinating read.

I wish there was more about the impact testing and observation has on the way the kid sees his relationship with his parents--and the world generally. It reminded me of something filmmaker Jay Rosenblatt said about making a film of raising his daughter, that she graduated quickly from being the unaware subject, and started "performing" and getting involved in production decisions. That kind of high level of involvement by the subject seems like it'd be a problem for a scientist.

And for all the dutiful quotes from ethics boards, it sounds like it's far more important to get the thumbs up from the other parent before strapping the kid to the table.

Test Subjects Who Call the Scientist Mom or Dad [nyt]

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