Bored Test Subjects Electrocuted Themselves for Something to Do

By Gary Cutlack on at

Some people in a test that looked at how being left alone affected their minds preferred to electrocute themselves rather than sit alone and quietly think, perhaps showing we're not particularly good at amusing ourselves when there's no mobile phone or Lego around.

The test examined what would happen when people were left alone in a featureless environment for up to 15 minutes. Apparently, 67 per cent of men and around 25 per cent of women took the option of giving themselves mild electric shocks as something to use to break up the boredom.

Professor Timothy Wilson, from the University of Virginia, said: "Our study participants consistently demonstrated that they would rather have something to do than to have nothing other than their thoughts for even a fairly brief period of time."

It's similar to how large chunks of the nation torture themselves mentally by watching Britain's Got Talent week after week. [Naked Scientist via BBC]

Image credit: Electrocution from Shutterstock