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Sunday, June 18, 2017

As the singer Amy Winehouse reminded us, "Life's short. Anything could happen, and it usually does, so there is no point in sitting around thinking about all the ifs, ands and buts."

Today, we live in a culture of thoughtlessness. The American Time Use Survey found that although 95 per cent of respondents said that they did at least one leisure activity during the previous 24 hours, 84 per cent had spent no time at all relaxing or thinking. A study by researchers at Harvard University found that when we engaged in thought that was not directly related to present activity (so-called mind-wandering), we tended be less happy. A recent study by psychologists at the University of Virginia asked subjects to simply sit in a room and ‘just think’ for 6 to 15 minutes. In the room was a button allowing subjects to electrocute themselves if they wanted. The researchers found that the majority of subjects would rather electrocute themselves than just sit quietly and think. One person electrocuted himself 190 times during this short period.

-from Aeon, a fascinating report on the evolution of the modern voter.

#Thinking #Cognition #Aeon

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