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Vayishlach: On Being Alone

In July 2014, a series of experiments conducted by Dr. Timothy Wilson and his colleagues at University of Virginia and Harvard were published in Science, a scholarly research journal[1]. The experiments involved hundreds of undergraduate research participants who were asked to spend some time (about 15 minutes) alone in a room without specific activities to occupy them. They were asked to put away their phones and other devices but were also told that there was a button they could press that would administer an electric shock. Though prior to the experiment most participants reported that they’d strongly prefer or even pay to avoid electric shock, 67% of male and 25% of female participants chose to shock themselves rather than just sit alone with their thoughts for a short period of time.