Science: Twilight of the Brain

How beautiful to do nothing, and afterward rest up.

The old Spanish proverb does not work out if doing nothing is carried too far. In a small attic office at McGill University in Montreal, Psychologist Woodburn Heron pays students $20 a day to lie on a soft bed in a soundproofed, air-conditioned cubicle. The students' eyes are covered by translucent goggles so that they see only a foggy glow. On their hands they wear cardboard gauntlets over thick gloves to deaden their sense of touch.

Dr. Heron's purpose is to find out by experiment how...

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