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People Would Rather Endure Pain Than Be Left with Their Own Thoughts
by Meg Duley,posted Jul 8 2014 4:34AM
When was the last time you simply sat in a quiet room to think? New data reveals people really don't like the idea of sitting idle. In eleven studies researchers had participants spend up to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do except think. When participants were given the option of receiving an electric shock or simply sitting in the quiet room, they overwhelmingly chose the pain.
Sixty-seven percent of male participants in one study shocked themselves at least one time during the thinking period, and on average, study participants gave themselves 1.47 shocks in a 15-minute interval. But why? One researcher states, "When left alone with their thoughts, participants focused on their own shortcomings and got caught in ruminative thought cycles."