A new study says people would rather be zapped with an electric shock than be alone with their own thoughts.

The new paper in Science looked at 11 studies conducted at the University of Virginia. The researchers say our being afraid to be alone with just our thoughts has nothing to do with short attention spans made shorter by the Internet.

Instead, the story from BoingBoing.com says it’s more of a survival instinct. The idea: Mammals (and people) evolved by constantly monitoring their environments for “dangers and opportunities.” That’s why “focusing completely internally for several minutes is unnatural.”

But that doesn’t mean you should give up your meditation practice. The researchers did find a “small correlation between meditation experience and [the] ability to entertain oneself.” They plan to continue researching how practicing being alone with your thoughts affects your ability.

 

Source: Washington Post