You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

People prefer electric shocks to thinking alone, says study


You really are your own worst enemy. A new study found people will do anything to avoid being alone with their own thoughts, to the point of actually physically hurting themselves.

University of Virginia researchers conducted 11 experiments testing people's ability to keep themselves entertained and focused without any external distractions. No matter the age, environment or background of the participants, each study turned up the same results — nobody likes to be alone in their head. (Via The Washington Post)

In the most extreme study, participants were given a choice between six to 15 minutes of "me time," and a painful electric shock. Surprisingly, 67 percent of men and 25 percent of women opted for getting zapped over quiet contemplation. One participant even shocked himself 190 times over the course of 15 minutes.

Study lead Timothy Wilson says the results came as a complete shock. "We have this huge brain and it's stuffed full of pleasant memories, and we have the ability to construct fantasies and stories. We really thought this [thinking time] was something people would like." (ViaScience)

So why is doing nothing such an awful experience for many people?

Well, our growing tech obsession has long been a prime scapegoat.

LOUIS C.K.: "You need to build an ability to be yourself and not be doing something. That's what the phones are taking away. The ability to just sit there." (Via TBS / "Conan")

It came up again in the reporting on this story, too. A Healthline writer says "Spending so much time shooting at angry birds and texting our friends could deprive us of opportunities to practice entertaining ourselves with plans and daydreams."

And this NPR headline leaves little doubt where the blame for our meditation aversion lies.

But while Wilson and his team don't have a clear answer for why people find contemplation so awful, he told The Atlantic it might have more to do with our distant past than our technological present.

"Mammals have evolved to monitor their environments for dangers and opportunities, and so focusing completely internally for several minutes is unnatural. 'It would be a little odd to see a chimpanzee posed like Rodin's thinker for extended periods of time.'”

The study did come up with some good news: people with meditation experience held up slightly better than their peers.

 



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Health

New ‘oldest person in world’ is 117, explains secret to longevity
New ‘oldest person in world’ is 117, explains secret to longevity

Violet Mosse-Brown of Jamaica is officially the oldest living person in the world, at 117 years of age. Mosse-Brown earned the title after the death of Emma Morano of Italy, who died earlier this week at 117 years, 137 days old. Mosse-Brown has a simple secret to her longevity. “Really and truly, when people ask what me eat and drink to live...
Police officer helps boy tie necktie in heartwarming viral photo
Police officer helps boy tie necktie in heartwarming viral photo

A police officer is going viral after teaching a boy how to tie a tie when he was “too embarrassed” to ask for help. X’zavier was at the Indiana Statehouse recently to receive the “Youth of the Year” award from his local Boys and Girls Club, according to Inside Edition. X’zavier was escorted to the ceremony...
Spring cleaning your computer

As you’re doing spring cleaning around the home, don’t forget about your computer! It needs taken care of, too. Here are a few things you should consider doing to keep your computer in tip-top shape: Run a malware scanner to remove junk: Along with having an anti-virus installed, consider a secondary anti-malware program. They can catch...
D.L. STEWART: Enjoying Major League Baseball by the numbers

In the latest example of fascinating Major League Baseball statistics, studies show that a 29-year-old centerfielder saves an average of four fewer runs per season than a 28-year-old centerfielder, The New York Times reported this week. While you may wonder why a prestigious newspaper would use valuable space to report stuff like that, baseball fans...
Study: Diet drinks can lead to stroke, dementia
Study: Diet drinks can lead to stroke, dementia

Diet sodas — one of America's favorite caffeine-delivery systems — appears to be just as unhealthy as their sugary cousins The Washington Post reports that a new study refutes the theory that diet drinks are a better option than those made with sugar or corn syrup. The new study in the journal Stroke says people who drink diet soda...
More Stories