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Don't leave me alone with my thoughts Nowadays, we enjoy any number of inexpensive and readily accessible stimuli, be they books, videos, or social media. We need never be alone, with no one to talk to and nothing to do. Wilson et al. explored the state of being alone with one's thoughts and found that it appears to be an unpleasant experience. In fact, many of the people studied, particularly the men, chose to give themselves a mild electric shock rather than be deprived of external sensory stimuli. Science , this issue p. 75
DOI: 10.1126/science.1250830
, 75 (2014);345 Science
et al.Timothy D. Wilson
Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind
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or by postsynthesis treatments (28,29). By con-
trast, separations such as H
that involve a
fast-permeating species are not appreciably af-
fected by membrane defects. IMMP is also in-
herently a modular and parallel approach that
should allow independent and simultaneous pro-
cessing of membranes in multiple fibers. To test
this hypothesis, we applied IMMP to the simulta-
neous processing of three hollow fibers. The total
bore flow rate was increased by a factor of 3 so
that the flow rate through individual fibers was
maintained. The ends of the module were capped
with PDMS, as described earlier. Figure 3, C and
D, shows that the H
and C
aration behavior is essentially identical to the
single-fiber case, demonstrating the potential for
scalability of IMMP. Given the overall importance
of tunable ZIF materials for a range of hydro-
carbon and light-gas separations, the membrane-
processing approach reported here overcomes
many limitations of current processes and is a
notable step toward realizing scalable molecular
sieving MOF membranes.
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This work was supported by Phillips 66 Company. S.N., A.J.B.,
and C.W.J. conceived the research. A.J.B. and N.A.B. designed
the synthesis reactor. Hollow-fiber fabrication was carried out
by J.R.J. and W.J.K. Membrane synthesis, characterization, and
permeation measurements were carried out by A.J.B., K.E., and
F.R. Permeation modeling was carried out by S.N. and A.J.B.
All authors contributed to manuscript writing and editing. We thank
W. Qiu, R. P. Lively, and A. Rownaghi (all at Georgia Institute of
Technology) for helpful discussions. The Supplementary Materials
includes a detailed description of materials and methods, details
of the IMMP reactor, time-dependent flow profiles and synthesis
cases, SEM images of ZIF-8 membranes, XRD patterns of
membranes, schematics of permeation apparatus and gas bypass
effects, EDX mapping of the ZIF-8 membrane, permeation
modeling equations, and gas permeation data. A patent application
related to this work has been filed [U.S. patent application
61/820,489, filed 7 May 2013; S. Nair et al., Flow processing
and characterization of metal-organic framework (MOF)
membranes in tubular and hollow fiber modules].
Materials and Methods
Supplementary Text
Figs. S1 to S11
Tables S1 to S4
22 January 2014; accepted 19 May 2014
Just think: The challenges of the
disengaged mind
Timothy D. Wilson,
*David A. Reinhard,
Erin C. Westgate,
Daniel T. Gilbert,
Nicole Ellerbeck,
Cheryl Hahn,
Casey L. Brown,
Adi Shaked
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.
The mind is its own place, and in it self/
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
The ability to engage in directed conscious
thought is an integral partperhaps even
adefiningpartof what makes us human.
Unique among the species, we have the abil-
ity to sit and mentally detach ourselves from
our surroundings and travel inward, recalling
the past, envisioning the future, and imagining
worlds that have never existed. Neural activity
during such inward-directed thought, called
default-mode processing, has been the focus of a
great deal of attention in recent years, and re-
searchers have speculated about its possible
functions (15). Two related questions, how-
ever, have been overlooked: Do people choose to
put themselves in default mode by disengaging
from the external world? And when they are in
this mode, is it a pleasing experience?
Recent survey results suggest that the answer
to the first question is not very often.Ninety-
five percent of American adults reported that
they did at least one leisure activity in the past
24 hours, such as watching television, socializ-
ing, or reading for pleasure, but 83% reported
they spent no time whatsoever relaxing or think-
ing(6). Is this because people do not enjoy having
nothing to do but think?
Almost all previous research on daydream-
ing and mind wandering has focused on task-
unrelated thought, namely cases in which people
are trying to attend to an external task (such as
reading a book), but their minds wander invol-
untarily (7,8). In such cases, people tend to be
happier when their minds are engaged in what
they are doing, instead of having wandered away
(9,10). A case could be made that it is easier for
people to steer their thoughts in pleasant direc-
tions when the external world is not competing
for their attention. We suggest, to the contrary,
that it is surprisingly difficult to think in enjoy-
able ways even in the absence of competing ex-
ternal demands.
To address these questions, we conducted
studies in which college-student participants
spent time by themselves in an unadorned room
(for 6 to 15 min, depending on the study) after
storing all of their belongings, including cell
phones and writing implements. They were typ-
ically asked to spend the time entertaining them-
selves with their thoughts, with the only rules
being that they should remain in their seats and
stay awake. After this thinking period,partic-
ipants answered questions about how enjoyable
the experience was, how hard it was to concen-
trate, etc.
Table 1 summarizes the results of six studies
that followed this procedure. Most participants
reported that it was difficult to concentrate
(57.5% responded at or above the midpoint of
the point scale) and that their mind wandered
(89.0% responded at or above the midpoint of
the scale), even though there was nothing com-
peting for their attention. And on average, par-
ticipants did not enjoy the experience very much:
49.3% reported enjoyment that was at or below
the midpoint of the scale.
SCIENCE 4JULY2014VOL 345 ISSUE 6192 75
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA, USA.
Department of Psychology,
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Perhaps the unfamiliar environs of the psy-
chological laboratory made it difficult for people
to become lost in and enjoy their thoughts. In
study 7, we instructed college-student participants
to complete the study at home, by clicking on a
link to a Web program when they were alone
and free of external distractions. Many partic-
ipants found it difficult to follow these instruc-
tions: 32% reported that they had cheatedby
engaging in an external activity (such as listen-
ing to music or consulting their cell phones) or
getting up out of their chair. Furthermore, there
was no evidence that participants enjoyed the
experience more when they were in the privacy
of their homes. The mean reported enjoyment was
lower when they were at home than when they
were in the laboratory [t(188) = 2.47, P=0.014],
and participants reported that it was harder to
concentrate on their thoughts when they were at
home [t(188) = 2.87, P=0.005](Table1).These
differences must be interpreted with caution, be-
cause we did not randomly assign participants to a
location, but they suggest that just thinking is no
easier at home than it is in the laboratory.
Would participants enjoy themselves more
if they had something to do? In study 8, we
randomly assigned participants to entertain
themselves with their own thoughts or to en-
gage in external activities (such as reading a
book, listening to music, or surfing the Web).
We asked the latter participants not to commu-
nicate with others (e.g., via texting or emailing),
so that we could compare nonsocial external ac-
tivities (such as reading) with a nonsocial internal
activity (thinking). As seen in Table 1, participants
enjoyed the external activities much more than
just thinking [t(28) = 4.83, P< 0.001], found it
easier to concentrate [t(28) = 4.16, P<0.001],
and reported that their minds wandered less
[t(28) = 3.61, P= 0.001].
To see whether the difficulty with just think-
ingis distinctiv e to college s tudents, in study
9 we recruited community participants at a
farmers market and a local church. The par-
ticipants ranged in age from 18 to 77 (median
age = 48.0 years). As in study 7, they completed
the study online in their own homes, after re-
ceiving instructions to do so when they were
alone and free of any external distractions. The
results were similar to those found with college
students. There was no evidence that enjoyment
of the thinking period was related to partici-
pantsage, education, income, or the frequency
with which they used smart phones or social
media (table S2).
There was variation in enjoyment in our
studies, and we included several individual dif-
ference measures to investigate what sort of
person enjoys thinking the most (summarized
in table S3). The variables that consistently pre-
dicted enjoyment across studies were items from
two subscales of the Short Imaginal Process
Inventory (11). The Positive Constructive Day-
dreaming subscale (e.g., My daydreams often
leave me with a warm, happy feeling)corre-
lated positively with enjoyment, and the Poor
Attentional Control subscale (e.g., Itendtobe
easily bored)correlatednegativelywithenjoy-
ment. None of the other correlations exceeded
0.27 (table S3).
So far, we have seen that most people do not
enjoy just thinkingand clearly prefer having
something else to do. But would they rather do
an unpleasant activity than no activity at all? In
study 10, participants received the same instruc-
tions to entertain themselves with their thoughts
in the laboratory but also had the opportunity
to experience negative stimulation (an electric
shock) if they so desired. In part 1 of the study,
participants rated the pleasantness of several
positive stimuli (e.g., attractive photographs)
and negative stimuli (e.g., an electric shock). Par-
ticipants also reported how much they would
pay to experience or not experience each stim-
ulus again, if they were given $5. Next, partic-
ipants received our standard instructions to
entertain themselves with their thoughts (in this
case for 15 min). If they wanted, they learned,
they could receive an electric shock again during
the thinking period by pressing a button. We
went to some length to explain that the pri-
mary goal was to entertain themselves with
their thoughts and that the decision to receive
a shock was entirely up to them.
Many participants elected to receive nega-
tive stimulation over no stimulationespecially
men: 67% of men (12 of 18) gave themselves
at least one shock during the thinking period
[range = 0 to 4 shocks, mean (M)=1.47,SD=
1.46, not including one outlier who adminis-
tered 190 shocks to himself], compared to 25%
of women (6 of 24; range = 0 to 9 shocks, M=
1.00, SD = 2.32). Note that these results only
include participants who had reported that they
would pay to avoid being shocked again. (See
the supplementary materials for more details.)
The gender difference is probably due to the
tendency for men to be higher in sensation-
seeking (12). But what is striking is that simply
being alone with their own thoughts for 15 min
was apparently so aversive that it drove many
participants to self-administer an electric shock
that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.
Why was thinking so difficult and unpleasant?
One possibility is that when left alone with
their thoughts, participants focused on their
own shortcomings and got caught in ru-
minative thought cycles (1316). Research shows,
however, that self-focus does not invariably lead
to rumination (17), a finding that was confirmed
in our studies. At the conclusion of the thinking
period, we asked participants to describe what
they had been thinking about, and we analyzed
these reports with linguistic analysis software
(18). There was no relationship between the ex-
tent of self-focus (as assessed by the use of first-
person personal pronouns) and participants
use of positive-emotion words, negative-emotion
words, or reported enjoyment of the thinking pe-
riod correlations = 0.033, 0.025, and 0.022, re-
spectively; 218 participants, ns) (see table S4 for
other results of the linguistic analyses).
Another reason why participants might have
found thinking to be difficult is that they simul-
taneously had to be a script writerand an
to think about (Ill focus on my upcoming sum-
mer vacation), decide what would happen
(Okay, Ive arrived at the beach, I guess Ill lie
in the sun for a bit before going for a swim), and
then mentally experience those actions. Perhaps
people would find it easier to enjoy their thoughts
if they had time to plan in advance wh at they
would think about. We tested this hypothesis in
studies 1 to 7. Participants were randomly assigned
to our standard thinking periodcondition (the
results of which are shown in Table 1) or to condi-
tions in which they first spent a few minutes
planning what they would think about. We tried
several versions of these prompted fantasyinstruc-
tions (summarized in table S1) and found that
none reliably increased participantsenjoyment
of the thinking period. Averaged across studies,
participants in the prompted fantasy conditions
reported similar levels of enjoyment as did partic-
ipants in the standard conditions [M=4.97ver-
sus 4.94 (SDs = 1.80, 1.84), t(450) = 0.15, ns].
There is no doubt that people are sometimes
absorbed by interesting ideas, exciting fantasies,
76 4JULY2014VOL 345 ISSUE 6192 SCIENCE
Table 1. Reactions to the thinking periodunder different conditions.
Studies 1 to 6:
In the lab
Study 7:
At home
Study 8: At home
Enjoyment* SD
Hard to concentrateSD
Mind wanderingSD
*Mean of three items, each answered on nine-point scales: How enjoyable and entertaining the thinking
period was and how bored participants were (reverse-scored). Cronbachsalpha=0.89. Extent to
which participants reported that it was hard to concentrate on what they chose to think about (nine-point
scale; the higher the number, the greater the reported difficulty). Extent to which participants
reporte d that their mind wandered during t he thinking period (nine-point scale; the hig her the n umber, the
greater the reported mind-wandering).
and pleasant daydreams (1921). Research has
shown that minds are difficult to control (8,22),
however, and it may be particularly hard to
steer our thoughts in pleasant directions and
keep them there. This may be why many people
seek to gain better control of their thoughts with
meditation and other techniques, with clear ben-
efits (2327). Without such training, people prefer
doing to thinking, eve n if what they are doing is
so unpleasant that they would normally pay to
avoid it. The untutored mind does not like to be
alone with itself.
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We acknowledge the support of NSF grant SES-0951779. The data
from all studies can be accessed at
We thank J. Coan for his help with study 10 and E. Winkler, the
pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, for his help in
recruiting participants for study 9.
Materials and Methods
Additional Analyses across Studies
Fig. S1
Tables S1 to S4
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upwelling ecosystems
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In 1990, Andrew Bakun proposed that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations would
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about whether contemporary wind trends support Bakunshypothesis,weperformeda
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associated with climate change. Overall, reported changes in coastal winds, although subtle
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boundary current systems.
coastal upwelling fuels high productivity,
supporting vast and diverse marine popula-
tions. With a surface area of only ~2% of the
global oceans, EBCSs provide upward of 20%
of wild marine-capture fisheries (1)aswellas
essential habitat for marine biodiversity (2).
Understanding upwelling variability is also key
to assessments of marine ecosystem health, in-
fluencing factors such as ocean acidification and
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welling under anthropogenic climate change is
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sify (6). Although the increase in global tem-
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May to August in the Northern Hemisphere and
November to February in the Southern Hemi-
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warm seasonor annual(all months). Bakun
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undertook formal statistical analysis, they used
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nominally nonsignificant trends to half the weight
SCIENCE 4JULY2014VOL 345 ISSUE 6192 77
Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research, Suite
Q, 101 H Street, Petaluma, CA 94952, USA.
Faculty of
Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the
Sunshine Coast, Locked Bag 4, Maroochydore DC,
Queensland 4558, Australia.
Department of Biological
Sciences and Marine Science Program, University of South
Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Box
355674, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
Marine Science Institute,
University of Texas, 750 Channel View Drive, Port Aransas,
TX 78373, USA.
Environmental Research Division, National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest
Fisheries Science Center, 1352 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific
Grove, CA 93950-2097, USA.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
... For instance, solitude can increase life satisfaction (Long et al., 2003), promote emotion regulation (Nguyen et al., 2018;Rodriguez et al., 2020), and reduce stress (Larson & Lee, 1996). However, solitude may also lead to negative affect (Lay et al., 2019), boredom (Wilson et al., 2014), anxiety (Rubin et al., 2002), and loneliness (Williams & Nida, 2011). The psychological effects of solitude are shaped by diverse factors, including individual differences (e.g., introversion), self-perceptions (e.g., social self-efficacy), demographic characteristics (e.g., age), and sociocultural context (e.g., social norms; Coplan et al., 2021;Lay et al., 2019;Rodriguez et al., 2022;Weinstein et al., 2021). ...
... Furthermore, extraversion is highly prized in American society (van Zyl et al., 2018); according to cross-cultural research, extraversion robustly predicts life satisfaction among Americans but is unrelated to life satisfaction in non-North American samples (e.g., Germany, Japan, United Kingdom; Kim et al., 2018). Moreover, even brief periods of solitude are uncomfortable and emotionally distressing for many Americans (Wilson et al., 2014). In the words of philosopher Philip Koch (1994, p. 220), American society views being alone as "unnatural, pathological, and dangerous." ...
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Objective: Solitude is a common experience that can elicit both positive (e.g., relaxation) and negative (e.g., loneliness) emotions. But can changing the way we think about solitude improve its emotional effects? In a previous study, our team found that positively reframing solitude buffers against a reduction in positive affect when alone. Yet, it is unknown whether people who are lonely—and thus more likely to experience solitude negatively—benefit from modifying their beliefs about being alone. Method: Here, we test whether reframing solitude as a beneficial experience or de-stigmatizing loneliness helps people experiencing moderate-to-severe loneliness (N = 224) feel more positive emotion and less negative emotion during solitude. We randomly assigned participants to read about either the benefits of solitude, the high prevalence of loneliness, or a control topic. Then, participants spent 10 min alone in the laboratory. State affect was assessed before and after the solitude period. Results: Across conditions, the solitude period reduced high-arousal positive (e.g., excited) and high-arousal negative (e.g., anxious) affect, and increased lowarousal positive affect (e.g., relaxed). Notably, people who read about the benefits of solitude experienced a significantly larger increase in low-arousal positive affect compared with the control condition. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that lonely individuals can more readily reap the emotional benefits of solitude when they reframe solitude as an experience that can enhance their well-being.
... In solitude, people more often engage in some types of activities, because people would feel more comfortable when they do something (e.g., have an activity to choose from) than nothing when alone (e.g., think) (31). Accordingly, Ruiz-Casares (32) investigated what activities adolescents (ages 10-17 years) engage in at home alone and found that the most common solitary behaviors include watching TV, surfing the Internet, doing homework, and playing games. ...
... the lowest proportion of all profiles, suggesting a relatively small proportion of adolescents that may exhibit such characteristics when they spent time alone. Such a result echoed previous findings (31) to some extent, suggesting that people may enjoy doing mundane external activities more than doing nothing when they spend time alone. The positive relationship between exercise and mental health has been widely supported in previous findings (55), thus, it is not difficult to understand why late adolescents in this group are well-adjusted. ...
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Objectives From the perspective of person-centered research, the present study aimed to identify the potential profiles of solitude among late adolescents based on their solitary behavior, motivation, attitude, and time alone. In addition, to echo the paradox of solitude, we further explored the links between solitude profiles and adjustment outcomes. Methods The participants of the study were 355 late adolescents (56.34% female, M age = 19.71 years old) at three universities in Shanghai, China. Measures of solitary behavior, autonomous motivation for solitude, attitude toward being alone, and time spent alone were collected using adolescents' self-report assessments. The UCLA Loneliness Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Basic Psychological Needs Scales were measured as indices of adjustment. Results Latent profile analysis revealed four distinct groups: absence of the aloneness group (21.13%), the positive motivational solitude group (29.01%), the negative motivational solitude group (38.03%), and the activity-oriented solitude group (11.83%). Differences emerged among these four groups in terms of loneliness, depressive symptoms, and basic needs satisfaction, with adolescents in the negative motivational solitude group facing the most risk of psychological maladjustment. Conclusion Findings revealed the possible heterogeneous nature of solitude among Chinese late adolescents and provided a theoretical basis for further understanding of adolescents' solitary state.
... 6 However, other studies portrayed daydreaming as a source of distraction, 3 with individuals rarely considering daydreaming to be pleasurable. 7 In addition, it has been suggested that mindful awareness enhances more creativity than daydreaming 8 and that daydreaming may be indirectly related to creativity through individual differences. 9 Nevertheless, it has been argued that a distinction between different types of daydreaming and creativity should be made for accurate conclusions to be drawn, as different types of daydreaming benefit different types of creativity. ...
An extensive number of studies have been conducted on the relationship between daydreaming, creativity and well-being, with mixed results, nonetheless. Particularly, research has demonstrated both positive and negative effects of daydreaming on creativity and well-being, as well as of creativity on well-being. In addition, most studies have been conducted on adults. Therefore, the purpose of this survey-based study conducted in, Delhi University in May 2023 was to further explore the relationship among the aforesaid constructs on a sample of late adolescents. To this aim, 622 Indian were asked to complete three psychometrically validated scales. The following research hypotheses were proposed: H1) Daydreaming would be a statistically significant predictor of creativity; H2) Daydreaming would be a statistically significant predictor of overall distress, stress, anxiety and depression; H3) There would be a statistically significant difference in daydreaming among severity levels of stress, anxiety and depression; H4) Creativity would be a statistically significant predictor of overall distress, stress, anxiety and depression; and H5) There would be a statistically significant difference in creativity among severity levels of stress, anxiety and depression. Results showed that daydreaming was not a statistically significant predictor of creativity, but greater daydreaming was related to higher distress, stress, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, participants with higher creativity experienced greater anxiety. Nevertheless, creativity was not a statistically significant predictor of distress, stress and depression. Finally, participants with extremely severe depression displayed lower creativity than those with moderate depression. Further research is advised before practical implications are recommended.
... Rats were never forced to touch the shock rod, but they could voluntarily touch it while exploring, and if so, would receive a mild electric shock sufficient to cause the rats to flinch away. Normal control rats (without amygdala stimulations) touched the electrified object once or twice (as humans may also do when bored [99]), but then retreated as far as possible from the shock rod, and often began to emit fearful anti-predator reactions called 'defensive burying' toward it [100]. ...
Individuals typically want what they expect to like, often based on memories of previous positive experiences. However, in some situations desire can decouple completely from memories and from learned predictions of outcome value. The potential for desire to separate from prediction arises from independent operating rules that control motivational incentive salience. Incentive salience, or 'wanting', is a type of mesolimbic desire that evolved for adaptive goals, but can also generate maladaptive addictions. Two proof-of-principle examples are presented here to show how motivational 'wanting' can soar above memory-based predictions of outcome value: (i) 'wanting what is remembered to be disgusting', and (ii) 'wanting what is predicted to hurt'. Consequently, even outcomes remembered and predicted to be negatively aversive can become positively 'wanted'. Similarly, in human addictions, people may experience powerful cue-triggered cravings for outcomes that are not predicted to be enjoyable.
... On the other hand, boredom can also have negative consequences such as decreased productivity, poor mental health, and even physical health problems. In one study a significant percentage of participants−67% of men and 25% of womenpreferred to administer electric shocks to themselves rather than experience boredom while sitting alone with their thoughts (Wilson et al., 2014). This finding highlights how much people generally dislike being bored. ...
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Research in psychological science has predominantly focused on the importance of social interaction to health and well-being, neglecting how solitude relates to optimal functioning. Although solitude is sometimes perceived as an aversive state associated with loneliness and ostracism, solitude can also serve as a time for self-reflection and spiritual awakening. The aim of the current set of studies was to examine if the experience of awe might serve as an important state influencing people’s attitudes toward solitude. We propose that experiencing awe makes people feel alone but not lonely—dispelling the myth that solitude incurs loneliness—and, importantly that awe leads to positive attitudes toward solitude. Seven studies, using complementary designs (big data analytics, experiments, experience sampling, and intervention), tested these hypotheses. We found that awe changes people’s preference for solitude via self-transcendence. Furthermore, we probed the downstream consequences of this effect, showing that a brief awe intervention enhanced spiritual well-being and peace of mind by augmenting positive attitudes toward solitude.
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In “Behavior-Aware Queueing: The Finite-Buffer Setting with Many Strategic Servers,” Zhong, Gopalakrishnan, and Ward develop a game-theoretic many-server Markovian queueing model with finite or infinite buffers to study the behavior of strategic servers whose choice of work speed depends on managerial decisions regarding (i) how many servers to staff and how much to pay them and (ii) whether and when to turn away customers. In order to predictably control system performance (e.g., lost demand, customer wait times, server burnout, etc.), they show that the system manager must either staff enough servers or pay them enough. For example, when servers are not paid enough, increasing their workload beyond a tipping point may result in a sharp drop in system performance because of server “rebellion.” Their work also establishes key foundational building blocks to advance the analysis of behavior-aware queueing models where both customers and servers are strategic and customers’ decisions endogenously induce a finite buffer.
The current research examined how people forecast and experience screen time, social interaction, and solitude. When participants could freely use their smartphone, they forecasted (Study 1) and experienced (Study 2) better mood for face-to-face conversation, but worse mood for sitting alone. When participants were instructed to engage in specific screen time activities, they forecasted (Study 3) and experienced (Study 4) the best mood after watching television; followed by conversation, texting, and browsing social media (no difference); then sitting alone. Although participants in Studies 1 and 2 ranked conversation as their most preferred activity, participants in Studies 3 and 4 ranked it below television and texting, even though conversation improved mood compared to baseline (Study 4). These findings suggest that people may use their smartphones because they enable them to escape the unpleasant experience of being alone, or because they do not recognize or prioritize the mood benefits of social interaction.
An overview is provided of the psychological constituents of the emotional register, and special focus is given to the longer-lasting existential moods—our being-attuned to being—that we as humans experience. The classic concepts of existentialism (Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre) are reviewed and challenged. Moods, such as emptiness, meaninglessness, existential anxiety for freedom and nothingness, have not always been dominating aspects of human existence, nor are they today. These moods primarily stem from urbanity and modernity; but worldwide the majority of people do not know what autonomy, freedom, and relativity means. The outer as well as the inner nature of humans, and of human existence, are underexposed in classic and modern existential thinking. The aim here is to remedy this shortcoming by presenting an empirically anchored outline of a natural existential psychology, which, based on modern neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, comparative psychology, and phenomenology, provides further knowledge about our basic existential moods and our species-specific resonances of being-in-the-world.
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A distinction between ruminative and reflective types of private self-attentiveness is introduced and evaluated with respect to L. R. Goldberg's (1982) list of 1,710 English trait adjectives (Study 1), the five-factor model of personality (FFM) and A. Fenigstein, M. F. Scheier, and A. Buss's(1975) Self-Consciousness Scales (Study 2), and previously reported correlates and effects of private self-consciousness (PrSC; Studies 3 and 4). Results suggest that the PrSC scale confounds two unrelated motivationally distinct disposition-rumination and reflection-and that this confounding may account for the "self-absorption paradox" implicit in PrSC research findings: Higher PrSC sources are associated with more accurate and extensive self-knowledge yet higher levels of psychological distress. The potential of the FFM to provide a comprehensive Framework for conceptualizing self-attentive dispositions, and to order and integrate research findings within this domain, is discussed.
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Nearly 60 years ago, Jerome L. Singer launched a groundbreaking research program into daydreaming (Singer, 1955, 1975, 2009) that presaged and laid the foundation for virtually every major strand of mind wandering research active today (Antrobus, 1999; Klinger, 1999, 2009). Here we review Singer's enormous contribution to the field, which includes insights, methodologies, and tools still in use today, and trace his enduring legacy as revealed in the recent proliferation of mind wandering studies. We then turn to the central theme in Singer's work, the adaptive nature of positive constructive daydreaming, which was a revolutionary idea when Singer began his work in the 1950s and remains underreported today. Last, we propose a new approach to answering the enduring question: Why does mind wandering persist and occupy so much of our time, as much as 50% of our waking time according to some estimates, if it is as costly as most studies suggest?
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The negative effects of mind-wandering on performance and mood have been widely documented. In a recent well-cited study, Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) conducted a large experience sampling study revealing that all off-task episodes, regardless of content, have equal to or lower happiness ratings, than on-task episodes. We present data from a similarly implemented experience sampling study with additional mind-wandering content categories. Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood. However, subsequent analyses reveal situations in which a more positive mood is reported after being off-task. Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes. These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.
Utilizing sophisticated methodology and three decades of research by the world's leading expert on happiness, Happiness challenges the present thinking of the causes and consequences of happiness and redefines our modern notions of happiness. shares the results of three decades of research on our notions of happiness covers the most important advances in our understanding of happiness offers readers unparalleled access to the world's leading experts on happiness provides "real world" examples that will resonate with general readers as well as scholars Winner of the 2008 PSP Prose Award for Excellence in Psychology, Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers.
Human beings are unique in their ability to think consciously about themselves. Because they have a capacity for self-awareness not shared by other animals, people can imagine themselves in the future, anticipate consequences, plan ahead, improve themselves, and perform many other behaviors that are uniquely characteristic of human beings. Yet, despite the obvious advantages of self-reflection, the capacity for self-thought comes at a high price as people's lives are adversely affected and their inner chatter interferes with their success, pollutes their relationships, and undermines their happiness. Indeed, self-relevant thought is responsible for most of the personal and social difficulties that human beings face as individuals and as a species. Among other things, the capacity for self-reflection distorts people's perceptions, leading them to make bad decisions based on faulty information. The self conjures up a great deal of personal suffering in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, envy, and other negative emotions by allowing people to ruminate about the past or imagine the future. Egocentrism and egotism blind people to their own shortcomings, promote self-serving biases, and undermine their relationships with others. The ability to self-reflect also underlies social conflict by leading people to separate themselves into ingroups and outgroups. Ironically, many sources of personal unhappiness - such as addictions, overeating, unsafe sex, infidelity, and domestic violence - are due to people's inability to exert self-control. For those inclined toward religion and spirituality, visionaries throughout history have proclaimed that the egoic self stymies the quest for spiritual fulfillment and leads to immoral behavior.
A theory of ironic processes of mental control is proposed to account for the intentional and counterintentional effects that result from efforts at self-control of mental states. The theory holds that an attempt to control the mind introduces 2 processes: (a) an operating process that promotes the intended change by searching for mental contents consistent with the intended state and (b) a monitoring process that tests whether the operating process is needed by searching for mental contents inconsistent with the intended state. The operating process requires greater cognitive capacity and normally has more pronounced cognitive effects than the monitoring process, and the 2 working together thus promote whatever degree of mental control is enjoyed. Under conditions that reduce capacity, however, the monitoring process may supersede the operating process and thus enhance the person's sensitivity to mental contents that are the ironic opposite of those that are intended.
The difficulties inherent in obtaining consistent and adequate diagnoses for the purposes of research and therapy have been pointed out by a number of authors. Pasamanick12 in a recent article viewed the low interclinician agreement on diagnosis as an indictment of the present state of psychiatry and called for "the development of objective, measurable and verifiable criteria of classification based not on personal or parochial considerations, but on behavioral and other objectively measurable manifestations."Attempts by other investigators to subject clinical observations and judgments to objective measurement have resulted in a wide variety of psychiatric rating scales.4,15 These have been well summarized in a review article by Lorr11 on "Rating Scales and Check Lists for the Evaluation of Psychopathology." In the area of psychological testing, a variety of paper-and-pencil tests have been devised for the purpose of measuring specific
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In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Reviews recent research on the relevant functions, personality characteristics, and cognitive correlates of "inner" phenomena (e.g., daydreaming). A tentative conceptual model of the "stream of consciousness" concept is presented which suggests a complex processing system involving reverberating content from long-term storage and almost continuous processing of input material from the physical and social environment. Studies of individual differences using the Imaginal Processes Inventory are reviewed. Differences between daydreaming and reflective thought in social situations are considered, emphasizing the nature of eye shifts in each type of experience. The need for further research in selected areas is pointed out (e.g., the so-called "altered states"). It is concluded that most of these states can be dealt with as manifestations of our basic information-processing mechanisms and that further research will help clarify the range of creative possibilities that exist in ordinary mental ruminations. (11/2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)