Rather than sitting alone and doing nothing, a new study has found that people will be happy to do any kind of activity, even if it is as unpleasant as giving themselves electric shocks.
A new psychological investigation led by the University of Virginia found that people generally did not enjoyed spending even brief periods of time alone with nothing to do but think, ponder or daydream but they liked doing more external activities such as listening to music or using a smartphone, in fact, some even preferred to give themselves mild electric shocks than to think.
The study analysed that 67 percent of men self-administered shocks to the 25 percent of women during the 15-minute "thinking" period.
The researchers found that simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.
Timothy Wilson, U.Va. Psychologist said that even older people did not show any particular fondness for being alone thinking.
The mind was designed to engage with the world, moreover, even when people are by themselves, their focus usually would be on the outside world and without training in meditation or thought-control techniques, which still are difficult, most people would prefer to engage in external activities.
The research is published in the journal Science.