Once Again: Scientists Continue to Prove That Scientists Just Hate Mice
From Joe Z. Tsien's article "The Memory Code" from the July 2007 issue of Scientific American (emphasis mine):
Witnessing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, surviving an earthquake or even plummeting 13 stories in Disney's Tower of Terror are things that are hard to forget. So we developed tests that would mimic this type of emotionally charged, episodic event. Such experiences should produce memories that are long-lasting and strong. And encoding such robust memories, we reasoned, might involve a large number of cells in the hippocampus, thus making it more likely that we would be able to find cells activated by the experience and gather enough data to unravel any patterns and organizing principles involved in the process.
The episodic events we chose include a lab version of an earthquake (induced by shaking a small container holding a mouse), a sudden blast of air to the animal's back (meant to mimic an owl attack from the sky) and a brief vertical free fall inside a small "elevator" (which, when we first started doing these experiments, was provided by a cookie jar we had in the lab).
Really, the part that had me ROTFLing was the image of some undergrad at Boston University who gets to explain to people that he got his research credits for picking up a mouse cage and shaking it around.