In 11 studies conducted at Harvard University and other places - researchers found that most people would rather electrocute themselves than spend 15 minutes alone in a room with nothing to do but think.
Now the research subjects were not strapped to a death producing electric chair. But all they had in the room with them – in addition to their minds – was a machine for administrating small electrical shocks – which were indeed painful.
In the 15 minute time period, almost two thirds of the subjects gave themselves three or more electric shocks out of sheer boredom – seemingly unable or unwilling to spend a short amount of time exploring their own minds. One man administered 190 shocks to himself rather than just sit quietly with nothing to do.
So what does this mean?
Some would argue that this means that the attention span of the general population is slowly eroding away to non-existence. Why? It seems our addiction to electronic devices like smart phones and television and the allure of computerized media tools such as Facebook and Twitter is causing our attention to dwindle. Simultaneously the non-in-person interaction all these digital options provide makes us crave more stimulation so much – that electric shocks are better than the boredom of silent thought.