In the latest of a series of posts delving into our photo archives, Katherine Nightingale takes a look at sailors scribing in the ‘hot room’ in what is now the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.
It’s pretty safe to say that these five sailors, shirtless as they are and with some sporting makeshift sweatbands, are being ‘cooked’ in the hot room of the MRC Applied Psychology Unit (MRC APU) in Cambridge, which became the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in 1998.
This photo was published in a 1974 research paper, but the MRC APU first began using naval ratings as experimental subjects in 1961, testing them for two hours a day on a range of tasks and paying them an hourly honorarium for their troubles.
The work was carried out on behalf of the Royal Navy Personnel Research Committee, which was interested in how the sailors made decisions when under stresses such as extreme heat, noise, boredom and sleep loss, or strange atmospheric pressures. Read more