Wilson favors the “scanner hypothesis”: Mammals have evolved to monitor their environments for dangers and opportunities, and so focusing completely internally for several minutes is unnatural. “It would be a little odd to see a chimpanzee posed like Rodin’s thinker for extended periods of time,” he said.
Participants then read that during the thinking period they “can also experience one of the stimuli (sounds, shock, pictures) you rated earlier, but only if you want to. Different participants may get different stimuli in Part 2.” They were asked to wait a few seconds for the computer to display the stimulus that would be available to them. All participants learned that the electric shock would be available during the thinking period, that they could experience it again if they wanted to , but that “Whether you do so is completely up to you -- it is your choice.”
[From the main text] Many participants elected to receive negative stimulation over no stimulation—especially 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 administered 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.
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