What happens when you lock a woman in a tiny room with a mannequin for 11 days? This:
Mom never fully recovered from this experiment. Neither did Mandy. (She disappeared in 1998; the last time I saw her she was modeling a dress made of pretzels for my friend Yvonne in an art show. (My mannequin, not my mom.))
Full transcript, plus outtakes, after the jump.
Our intent was to examine the behavior of a human test subject when trapped in an empty room with a mannequin. We really didn't know what to expect. The basic premise is extremely exciting. Our whole team felt like we were breaking dramatic new ground in the field of human behavior.
At first, our subject became nervous and uneasy with her surroundings. Here we see her approaching the one-way mirror hiding our observation booth. General observations of her newfound habitat seemed more important than social interaction in these crucial first hours.
Now watch closely. Here we see the subject's first attempts at interacting with the mannequin. She begins by touching and poking the mannequin. And then comes the behavior that surprised our whole team. The subject began to strike up a conversation with the mannequin. We're excited to see what happens as the experiment progresses.
By day four we really hadn't seen anything new. The subject continued to converse with the mannequin, but the level of interaction didn't proceed beyond that point. That's why on day four we were so surprised at the state of the experiment.
Here we see our subject attempting to play cards with the mannequin. This behavior defied explanation, as no one understood why the previous lack of a response didn't discourage our subject from further interaction. Now watch this. The subject casually approaches the mannequin, quickly exchanges a card in her hand with one in the mannequin's hand, then jumps back to her seat. Apparently, she thought she could fool the mannequin.
Now here, exhausted by her tomfoolery and card-playing antics, she seems to have made tea. Apparently she is under the delusion that the mannequin can somehow drink! Yep, I'd say we're breaking new ground here.
On day 11, we were met with a big scare. In this footage, you can see that the subject suspiciously approaches the glass and examines it. For a moment I thought she was catching on. We all held our breath and waited for the mannequin to once again grab her attention.
Once again, engaged by her silent friend, she attempts to play some sort of game with her feet and a miniature beanbag. This was where the experiment turned ugly. No one was prepared for what came next. Now watch closely. As she invitingly hands the beanbag to the mannequin to give her a turn, the mannequin's right arm dislocated and comes loose in our subject's hands. For the subject's own safety, we halted the experiment immediately. I suppose this would be a case where behavioral studies and human rights come into conflict, and it left us a harrowing picture of the mannequin that lives within us all.
I'd say we learned a lot from this experiment. Mainly, in future experiments similar to this one, one must always remember to attach the arms much more securely to the mannequin.
Related: Look Around You: The Brain