Most people would rather be doing something than sitting alone thinking, a new study finds, even if it involves self-administering a painful electric shock.

Across 11 studies, psychologists at the University of Virginia and Harvard University had people sitting on their own in a featureless room for between 6 and 15 minutes (Wilson et al., 2014).

Professor Timothy Wilson, who led the study, which is published in the journal Science, said:

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