Would you rather be in your own world? Or would you do anything to avoid it?
TL;DR - people would rather give themselves an electric shock than just sit still and do nothing.
This lab study shows that people would..
I don't know about you, but before I starting writing this I'd
spent at LEAST 10 minutes doing bugger all. And that was in between an hour
of flicking from doing bugger-all, to trying to concentrate on what I was doing
I have to confess, I'm a bit of a daydreamer. I used
to get in trouble in class for it, I still get in trouble for
it these days. Especially when I let Tom slip off the pole because I was
imagining what it would be like to be a professional pole dancer instead of a
teacher. Ooops. It's ok, he landed on his back. I even had my music planned
In class I used to look out of the window and day-dream
about running out over the field and away. As I grew up it
would be about what I'd do with my life, or on one occasion what my RE teacher
would look like in a pink-bunny outfit (think the Chandler bunny oufit from Friends).
What I'm trying to say is, I'm quite content in my own
thoughts. I sometimes even dream up entire stories and just
let them play out in my head.
Would I be content to sit still and daydream? Oh
yes. Would I be content to sit still and
daydream if I was told to? I very
much doubt it. I have obediance issues.
Day-dreaming is something I do on
my OWN time....it wouldn't be right to be told
to do it. You can't do it on demand!
What's my point? (that's often the question) My point is
that this lab study, the people
were TOLD to sit still and do nothing. What
better reason to not do it!
The trouble with these lab studies, as
I've mentioned before, is that we can never be sure they're actually
measuring what they're supposed to be measuring. Surely this study is
measuring how well
someone can do as they're told rather than would they
sit still and do nothing?
What if it's measuring obediance, or following instructions, rather than ability
to sit still and do nothing? For me, it
lacks validity. On the face of it, maybe
we have some validity, but delve deeper.
And what about demand characteristics? Hawthorn effect? All
of those little things that happen when you get given an instruction by
someone - do you comply or not?
Furthermore, yes, they were given the shock
before the experiement, but what if the curiousity to try it
again over took?
Oh, don't look at me like that. You've done it too. I put
a battery on my tongue
once. I only did it another 4 or 5 times to check
what I felt. When it's a very
minor risk, or pain, it's tempting to try it
again - just to see if it was "really" that bad. Take for example the
incident with the snorting of Paprika.
We ALL saw what it did to our
friend, yet we all tried it. Several times. Just
What I'm saying is, that humans are
curious creatures. We try something once - it
hurt, but did it hurt that bad?
Did we imagine the shock? Would we do it
again? Well, if it wasn't life
threatening, I'd bet you would. I can assure you, I've put my fingers in hot wax
many times (it IS kind of cool....), but I'd never walk out in front of a car again.
The article is interesting, and maybe it's a true
reflection on our society - we'd rather
be doing anything than be doing nothing.
It would fit with our fast paced,
instantly gratifying society but I'd just urge
you to look a little deeper.
Does it tell us what we think it tells us? Or have we found out something
else about human nature entirely?