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Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Hubrecht Anecdote

   I always think of myself as a terribly boring person. Not one to date if you like to laugh. But maybe I'm wrong?
    Writing my previous post about the Hubrecht Laboratory, I remembered a little prank I pulled. A two stepped prank.  It was a behavioristic experiment. Fitting a biologist who opposes behaviorism.

  The histology lab was a cosy, busy lab where hard work and laughter were mixed gracefully.
Histology is about preparing and dyeing tissues, to make them visible under the microscope. [Me a stickler for details??]
   One day I brought along two print outs of a shield, used in 1866 in the Amstel Hotel at Amsterdam.

This room is equipped with Edison's Electrical Light.
Please, do not try to switch it on with a match.
Just turn the black switch next to the door.

The use of Edison's Electrical Light
is not detrimental to your health,
does not cause diseases and
doesn't have an adverse effect your night's rest.

The Board of Direction.

    I put up these papers on both entrances to the histology lab. Two windowless doors. No one knew who did it. I secretly enjoyed all the comments and the consequent apologies of the lab manager  "I have no idea who put these on my doors."  But I guess he liked it, he didn't remove them. 

    It happened just as I expected it:  people used the signs for orientation. It was a long corridor and to enter the histology lab you practically had to count doors. With these signs, it was easier to locate the histology and  juxtaposed labs.
   After a few weeks I moved the sign on the left door to the door on the lab at the right of the histo lab. The signs were still on two consecutive doors...
   Yet now one of the signs was on the door to Pim's lab. A researcher whit his own private lab which no one hardly ever entered. While the histo lab was a real beehive.  Poor Pim, so many people entered his lab that day, They must have looked surprised. I heard so many apologies made to him....

   That's how easily people slip into habitual behavior.

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