What a week it has been in Granada! Lab work has been going well - I haven't had quite the rush Dan/Brittany/Kelsey have since my participants are still a ways off from final exams, but I'm certainly keeping myself busy! As of 48 hours ago, I had two sessions scheduled for next week. I now have 17. I've been running only eyetracking this week, and I must say, there's a true sense of fulfillment to be reflected on when you see your participants following your hypothesis. The tracker symbol on the screen and I are well acquainted at this point, and it is enormously satisfying watching it jump exactly where I anticipated it to; I can't help but smile a bit when I see things working out. This summer is a very important one, needless to say - I feel like it is going to be the strongest case I have for or against research as a career, and I'm putting all my efforts into making it as genuine an experience as possible. Time will certainly tell!
On a more extracurricular note, we've been graced to have Eleanora in the lab with us this week! I'm actually double dipping in her fMRI experiment - once at PSU, and once in Spain; even though she presented her work to us yesterday I'll be doing my best to blindly follow the instructions on the screen and forget about all of the conditions and other paradigms. Honestly, though, even if she sat and worked me through every individual photo slide it probably wouldn't help. Though the human brain is a remarkable organ in that it named itself (ponder that over a glass of wine sometime), mine doesn't seem to want to work. I'm noticing a strange shift in language skill now that I've been here - Spanish is becoming easier to speak at times, and certainly easier to access in general, (the "shift" from whatever language to Spanish takes less effort than usual) but my English is actually starting to, to use a colloquialism, take "hits". Since English is so uninflected, we host a beautiful variety of adjectives that are used in infuriatingly specific places to express even more specific nuances, and the retrieval of such slightly related adjectives (consider the differences between pretentious, narcissistic, and pompous - a hair's breadth apart in meaning, but separated by a hair's breadth even so) is absurdly difficult for me now. For the first time in my life, I mixed up the English question vs. statement construction and politely asked a friend "What it is?" in English, only to then realize that I seem to have lost all control of the words coming out of my mouth. I'm not alarmed, only surprised - as someone who studies languages, a large part of what I do is keeping everything straight; not an easy task when you're in a lab, in Spain, full of Russian/Spanish bilinguals, and your roommate speaks French. (Eleanora simply speaks everything and was thus excluded from the previous sentence for the sake of avoiding redundancy). It's just never been quite this hard before, but then again this is my first time immersed in a culture I can actually communicate in. It seems like there are going to be many more surprises to come, and I'm pleasantly expectant of future challenges.