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26 NDSUmagazine

PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCHERS STUDY THE EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL ON EYE MOVEMENT

The fifteen volunteers knew what going to the eye doctor was like. But this was, well, different. In a small and narrow basement laboratory not even as big as a bedroom, the darkness of four walls wrapped in black felt material makes it vaguely claustrophobic. The hum of computer fans and shafts of light from monitors add little in the way of ambiance. Sitting down in front of a computer screen, each volunteer wears functional, but clearly unfashionable, goggles.

A series of black dots passes from one side to another on the computer monitor, with each tiny movement of the eyes measured, as the goggle-clad volunteers intently follow the floating dots. Streams of data are pumped into computers, resulting in paper strips with print-outs resembling those from an EKG machine. More tests ensue. Some are famil- iar, like placing one’s chin and forehead in a tracking device that moves from side to side, similar to a test in the optometrist’s office. Others are a jumble of passing dots. After two hours, it is time to go home – at least for now. The volunteers know that their second visit here will be very unlike their first.

The fifteen participants return to the visual neuro- science research lab at North Dakota State University soon enough. No muscle-bound bouncers are present

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