BLOOMINGTON (AP) — When they snapped on plastic gloves to hold a real human brain last week, Bloomington Project School students said they weren't even nervous.
"It's cool to think it was an actual human being who thought and cried," said Zoe Mantha, a 12-year-old BPS student.
Lily Macneil-Kitscher, 13, said she thought, "This is a person," when she ran her fingers over the rough folds and wrinkles.
"Every sensory experience you have comes from this small lump of tissue," Lisa Thomassen told the students while cupping a brain the color of tuna fish in her hand. "It's surprisingly small," she said, noting the brain, about the size and weight of a small cantaloupe, holds every memory you have in a lifetime.
The brains were donated to Indiana University, where the BPS students met up with Thomassen from the department of psychological and brain sciences. The group of seventh- and eighth-grade girls from BPS are involved in a mentoring program with IU students enrolled in a course on the psychology of adolescent girls, The Herald-Times reported.
There were some timid smiles and wide eyes, but when it came time to touch the brains, the girls didn't hesitate.
"I was so excited to touch a brain," said 13-year-old Zoe Adams. She hopes to enter the medical field and is on the fence about being a cardiovascular surgeon or neurosurgeon. "This made me more open-minded about being a neurosurgeon."
In addition to touching a human brain, the girls tested their taste buds with miracle berry tablets made from a berry in West Africa. The berry alters the tongue's taste receptors, fooling your brain into thinking foods taste different than usual.
After rolling one of the berry tablets over their tongue, the girls tried a lemon, and it wasn't sour. It was like sipping a sugary lemonade.