Last week I was a subject in a psychology experiment. To be more precise I was actually a participant. Whereas in the old days I would have been labelled as a 'subject', these days we are participants in such things. Anyway, the procedure I was subjected to included filling in a cluster of personality questionnaires. Questions ranged from how often I trusted my hunches or instincts (I've got a feeling I answered that one wrongly) to whether I found it hard to make decisions (I left that one blank).
Following the questionnaires were a series of tasks. In one of these I had to arrange small wooden coloured blocks to match a pattern shown to me by the experimenter.
These were simple geometric shapes but the task for some reason reminded me of the joke in which a psychologist is showing one of his patients a series of Rorschach inkblots. "What do you see in this picture?" the psychologist asks as the first inkblot is shown. The patient hesitates for a moment before a replying "a man and woman having sex".
"And in this picture...?" the psychologist asks as he displays the second inkblot.
"A man and a woman having sex" the patient replies.
"And in this one?"
"A man and a woman having sex" comes the reply.
"I think you are preoccupied with sex" concludes the psychologist.
"I'm preoccupied with sex?" replies the patient, "you're the one with all the dirty pictures!".
Okay, I didn't say it was a funny joke. Sadly, the psychologist testing me didn't have any dirty pictures. At least none that he was showing me.