When I was a kid, I used to lie in bed at night listening to Mets games on the transistor radio, or to the top 40. Sunday evenings were hard because there was no baseball and most of the music stations went to talk.
As I got older, I came to take comfort in the talk. I learned to love Father Bill Ayers’ call-in show late on New York’s WPLJ.
I thought about my impulse to turn to noise and distraction at an early age when I heard about a paper, published last summer in Science, touting the finding that people would prefer electric shocks to being left alone with their own thoughts. Psychology papers that get a lot of press tend to be the ones that tell us what we already know, or at least what we think we know. And this was no exception. The finding — “that the untutored mind does not like to be left alone with itself” — had the ring of truth about it. And, moreover, I think a lot of us these days are worried not just about all the noise, but about our nearly irresistible impulse to seek it out. Texting, email, social media — we use these to self-stimulate throughout the day and, for some of us at least, throughout the night as well.
Read the whole story: NPR