Friday, June 30, 2006

Airport Psychology Class

A few years ago, I read of a collegiate study which I'll call "Pretend Prison".

In this study, half of the Psych class was deemed "guards" and the other half "prisioners" - they would act in these roles. All of the students knew each other and hand been in the same class for nearly a semester. The study was scheduled to last a week and was to record the interactions between the two sets of people.

The study had to be stopped after one day.

It seems that those that were given power (the guards) took advantage of their situation and were more-than-anticipated abusive to the prisioners. This was just role-playing, but the role-playing guards were "on it".

This morning, I participated in one of the traveler's tasks that I just can't stand -- I went through the security checkpoint. Each time I go through, I absolutely cannot stand having to take off my shoes. Remember the guy that was going to blow up the plane with something flammable that he had smuggled on the plane in his shoes? Well, I don't blame him for the shoeless security frakus. I blame the knee jerk reaction.

Perhaps those in the know saw this as an opportunity/excuse for checking/x-raying shoes . . . but what is going to happen if someone smuggles something in the bra? Or how about between one's hair and neck (me excluded).

This morning while going through security, a TSA agent said that she was going to check my shoes for explosives -- Fine. After she took them, she realized that she didn't have the sniffer (some other poor slob was being sniffed left and right). So she gave them back to me without doing the test.

One could say that she was just doing a random test and that she was filling her daily quota, but I think that she (and her co-workers) are becoming the Guards and the travelers are becoming the Prisioners.

I am looking forward to the end of the day when this psych-class/collegiate-study is stopped -- and the guards and prisioners return to normal again. Posted by Picasa

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