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Study: People Would Rather Suffer Electrical Shock Than Sit Silently

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study found that many people would rather subject themselves to an unpleasant electrical shock than sit silently doing nothing.

The study, published in the journal Science, involved a selection of participants who were told to entertain themselves only with their own thoughts for 15 minutes. During that time, they were allowed to either sit doing nothing, or they could sit for the same length of time and give themselves a shock.

Researchers at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville said that each participant had experienced the shock before the beginning of the study and said that they would pay money to avoid feeling it again.

Still, when forced to either sit alone with their thoughts or experience the shock to take their minds off of it, 25 percent of women and 67 percent of men opted for the shock. About half of the participants said later that they did not enjoy the experience and 90 percent said they couldn't keep their mind from wandering.

Researchers say that culture, which has trained many to enjoy constant stimulation, may render quiet introspection difficult.

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