than spend 15 minutes alone with their thoughts.
Some people blame smartphones and social media. A neuroscientist at the University of York said “during the Industrial Revolution people with mundane jobs could daydream, now they can get on the phone instead”. People might be averse to being left alone because they start to ruminate, which can become negative.
In the experiments reported in Science journal participants were asked to to sit alone for 15 minutes in an empty room. Most reported that they didn’t like the experience. They also found it difficult to do the same thing at home with 1/3 cheating by listening to music or using a mobile phone.
In another experiment participants were given the option of having a mild electric shock (which they had previously said they would pay to avoid after experiencing it).
Out of 18 men 12 gave themselves electric shocks during the 15 minute “thinking” period compared to 6 out of 24 women. The experimenters thought it showed men were more sensation-seking than women.
Or as Professor Richard Wiseman observed, they might just be bored!