Date: 23 March 1533
Proposal Number: 1136
Title: An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Dramatic Presentation as a Technology for the Unkennelling of Guilt
Principal Investigator: I. A. Hamlet (University of Wittenberg)
Requested Budget: 115 kroners (see Appendix 1)

Project Description

This project aims to determine whether a dramatic presentation that simulates a crime may be of use to investigators attempting to ascertain the guilt or innocence of a person suspected of that crime.

The experiment will be performed on a subject who is suspected of the crime of most perfidiously, vilely, and unnaturally murdering his brother. The principal investigator proposes to modify an existing dramatic presentation, The Murder of Gonzago (see Appendix 2), by inserting a speech of a dozen or sixteen lines (see Appendix 3) so that the modified representation comes near the circumstances of the murder.

This dramatic representation will then be presented to the subject and a large control group by a team of actors from the Royal Theatre Company of Denmark (see resumes in Appendix 4). The subject’s reactions will be closely monitored by the principal investigator and a colleague (H. N. Horatio, University of Rome) and evaluated using a scoring rubric developed for the purpose by the primary investigator, where ‘10’ represents “Guilty! He doth blench! His occulted guilt doth itself unkennel!” and ‘1’ represents “Not guilty! The null hypothesis prevaileth – and the principal investigator’s imaginings are as foul as Vulcan’s stithy!”

A budget is attached.

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22 October 1535

Dear I. A. Hamlet,

I regret to inform you that the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences is unable to fund your research proposal, #1136, An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Dramatic Presentation as a Technology for the Unkennelling of Guilt.

Competition for fellowships was especially keen this year.

On the attached sheet I have included some excerpts from the written comments of the panelists who reviewed your proposal. I hope that these may be useful to you as you carry forward your research programme.

Arne Asmund
Director of Fellowship Programs
Royal Danish Academy of Sciences

Reviewer C5:Recommendation: Do not fund. . . . Comments: The proposed research design is not statistically robust. With so few subjects (n=1) and so few evaluators of the subject’s reaction (n=2), it will be impossible to reject the null hypothesis at a confidence level of p < .05.”

Reviewer F2:Recommendation: Do not fund. . . . Comments: The proposal must be rejected for its failure to conform to RDAS regulations concerning human subjects research, as set out in Booklet 1529-07. The dramatic presentation the principal investigator envisions could cause the subject to suffer a heart attack, a stroke, or serious disruption of breathing. This is unacceptable.”

Reviewer K6:Recommendation: Do not fund. . . . Comments: Although the proposed research is of considerable interest, I question whether it is suitable for funding by this agency. If the principal investigator wishes to continue his investigations, he may wish to apply for a royal fellowship for study abroad in England. I have reason to think there may be an opening.”