"The aim of the project is to obtain basic information on how TheSpoof.com writers will react in situations where nothing is happening," said Lowton aide Victor Frankenstein.
"The purpose is not to cut individuals off from sensory stimulation entirely, but to remove all preset patterned or perceptual stimulation, so far as we can arrange it. We had very positive results with rats, so we wanted to take it down a notch and use spoof writers as a control comparison."
The research is sponsored and funded by the Canadian Mad Science Research Board in an attempt to solve a specific problem, Professor Lowton informed us via e-mail.
"It seems that spoof observers, site monitors, turd story writers, and others whose lives become very monotonous and routine for endlessly long and boring periods without admin editorial intervention are often subject to unusual sensory effects," Lowton reported.
"They see conspiracies that aren't there; they make wild claims about site ranking counters, they suspect secret coded messages that aren't real, they see spies who don't exist, they begin to accuse one another of acts of complicity, and they experience a wide variety of other sensory distortions."
The subjects are all TheSpoof.com contributors with access to their familiar, comfortable lighted discussion Forums and Writer's Desks 24 hours a day, with time out for meals (which they typically eat sitting at their keyboards) and going to the toilet. Auditory perception is limited by a U shaped foam rubber pillow for their heads plus a continuous hum of computer fans to mask small sounds.
They were instructed to press the "panic button" if they wished to end the experiment.
Lowton believes the suggestion of "panic" created or reinforced the writers' negative expectations, noting that several of the Top 15 have already pressed the panic button in the course of the experiment.
Even if a writer is placed in a completely soundproof chamber, reads Lowton's preliminary summary, where no external information will reach him, he (or she) will still experience hallucinatory information-input sensations that may trigger the panic reaction. He will fabricate conspiracies out of forum threads and personalities. He will hear breathing movements as well as occasional rumblings of the stomach, and it can be easily appreciated that to deprive a spoof writer totally of sensory and information stimulation would be a very difficult, if not impossible task.
There are many who claim that if a TheSpoof.com writer were so deprived his brain would cease functioning.
This altogether reasonable belief holds that sensory stimulation and active editorial response, in addition to having its normal function of bringing information to the individual, serves to keep the brain active, alert, and alive.
Tragic Rabbit, Mad Science Journal, TheSpoof.com