“The mind is its own place, and in it self / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n,” John Milton wrote in “Paradise Lost.” It seems the English poet was at least half right.

In a new study, people who were asked to spend a few minutes alone with their thoughts disliked it so much that they would zap themselves with electricity during their alone time.

The experiments detailed in the journal Science hint at a fraught relationship with inward-directed thought, an ability the study authors call an “integral part – perhaps even a defining part – of what makes us human.”

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