The current experiment I am conducting involves looking at susceptibility to false memories after viewing a stressful or neutral film. One of the variables I'm interested in looking at is the hormone cortisol, which gets released into the body when a person is stressed. The short version of one of my hypotheses is that since excessive cortisol levels can impair memories, if people are more stressed and release more cortisol they might have worse memories for some aspects of the film. This may make them more likely to accept false information about the film into their memories, which I'm going to implant - muah ha ha haaaaa.
What this means though, is I need to collect saliva samples to run analyses to look for differences in cortisol levels. This IS as gross as it sounds. Participants spit down straws into tubes, and I store them in the fridge until I can freeze them for later analysis. You'll be happy to know I wear gloves. The most disgusting part is definitely the spit noises! Oh and floaties.
What I am excited about though - is spit camp. This is a whole day where you get to learn the saliva analysis techniques and even get to test your own sample. It was initially suggested by one of my associate supervisors that I go to one in Europe while I was there on my honeymoon. The sad thing is I actually considered it - luckily my primary supervisor told me not to! So instead I have worked on one being organised here in Sydney, and it is next week! It will be a very long day - 9am to 5pm at Macquarie Uni, but I really am looking forward to it. :)