People prefer electric shocks than being alone with nothing to do

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sitting alone

(July 10, 2014) – How long can you go alone with just your thoughts?

A new study at the University of Virginia shows most people do not enjoy sitting alone with nothing to do.

Researchers left people alone for six to 15 minutes, and most didn’t enjoy the experience.

Some test subjects were even given a button that gave out unpleasant, mild electric shocks.

A summary pof the study in plain English is below:

A quarter of the women and two thirds of the men chose to shock themselves during the alone time.

In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

Surveys show Americans prefer spending free time watching television, socializing, reading or playing with their smart-phones rather than relaxing or thinking.