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Books, Journals, New Media
April 16, 2003


Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(15):1997. doi:10.1001/jama.289.15.1997-a

All semester in Psych Lab I shocked
the nictitating membrane of a white rabbit
(every ten seconds for seven minutes).
Our professor was making his name
puréeing smart planaria and feeding them
to dumb ones who then became smart.
It all had to do with DNA and learning
and memory, as I recall, and maybe
the Pill, or possibly the pacification plan
for Vietnam. Deliver direct electrical current—
It's mild, he assured us—to that opaque bit
of ocular tissue, then enter the subjects'
responses into the charts in our cross-hatched
notebooks. I recall the experimenter (E—me)
seemed upset, far more distressed
than the subject (S: sleek fur, berry eyes),
though in time E would master the art of labeling
someone else's pain a little discomfort.
—Roy Jacobstein