Here’s an article discussing a study conducted in 2014 at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. They left people alone with their thoughts for a period of time and gave them the option to inflict an electric shock on themselves.
The experiment showed that “even though all participants had previously stated that they would pay money to avoid being shocked with electricity, 67% of men and 25% of women chose to inflict it on themselves rather than just sit there quietly and think.”
I’m thinking those who shocked themselves did so out of curiosity or thrill more than out of dread of their own thoughts, but even so, the experiment holds. When faced with nothing to do, we’d rather potentially hurt ourselves. Why is silence so painful to our minds that we would rather have bodily pain to distract from it?
How deep is our addiction to distraction?