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Men Prefer Electric Shocks to Being Alone With No Phone

a worrying realisation about today's digital age

Molly Holt
Men Prefer Electric Shocks to Being Alone With No Phone© 2018 kjperreault - Flickr

We all know that gutting feeling when your phone dies when you’re out. Suddenly you feel all separate from the world. All disconnected and alone. Its a little bit weird. But never did we realise that our dependence on technology had reached such worrying levels. In fact, a new study reveals that people, especially men, hate being away from their phone and with only their thoughts so much that they’d rather be in pain.

“In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.”

A quarter of women (6 out of 24) and two-thirds of men (12 out of 18) chose 9 volt electric shocks over their own company, and the element of curiosity was ruled out by each individual receiving a shock before the start of the experiment. In fact, one man even gave himself a horrifying total of 190 shocks over a 15 minute period, although his anomaly data was not included in the final results.

Initially the study occured without electric shocks, but after participants became irritated and restless, the experimenters introduced new conditions. When conducting the study in a home rather than a lab, many people admitted to cheating and playing on their smartphone. Data from all age groups was collected, with older people being just as worryingly bored and anxious with only their minds to keep them company.

The gender difference was explained by scientists as due to men apparently being more willing to take risks for the sake of more intense and complex experiences than women. The findings mark a scary realisation of the effect of today’s digital age, in which technology is becoming an increasing threat to the world.

The study follows news that new UK airport regulations insist that passengers will have to prove the gadgets in their hand luggage are charged “or face not being allowed to bring the device onto the aircraft”, due to concerns that bombs may now be disguised as batteries.

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