Guinea Pigs

I received an e-mail informing me that a Hungarian doctoral student who had gone to MIT was looking for native English speakers for his doctoral research. I immediately sent him a note and Ron and I volunteered for whatever he needed us to do. Having gone through the process of needing and cajoling people into being part of you doctoral research, I could certainly sympathize.

We arranged to meet this morning at his university here in Budapest, the Technical University. It was only minutes later that we realized where the Ministry of Education is allocating their funds for higher education. The buildings and the equipment were pristine.

Tamas, the researcher, is a young, attractive, soft-spoken gentleman. He had two computers set up so both of us could go through the experiment simultaneously, not waiting around for the other. We had to listen to different patterns of speech and determine different qualities about the voices we heard. It only lasted for 45 minutes, though he warned us it could take up to an hour.

After we were done, he gave each of us a box of chocolates as a thank you for participating. After us, he only 3 participants and his goal is 10. I continued to spread the word with Fulbrighters and others that I knew, but could not convince anyone else to give so little of their time for a good cause. What a shame!