Studies show that some people would rather endure physical pain than use their brainpower.
The idea that people will avoid exerting mental effort is not new. It has been discussed since the days of William James, a 19th-century psychologist. We know intuitively that mental effort can be exhausting. But the aversion to mental tasks can also stem from the anxiety of getting something wrong.
MORE IDEAS FROM People sometimes prefer burning hot pain to thinking too hard
Off course, some people will also seek out cognitive effort, rather than to avoid it.
A study found that participants who reported finding mental tasks "intrinsically rewarding" were more likely to seek a cognitive task over pain than those who find mental tasks less rewarding.
Procrastination is fundamentally an emotional reaction to what you have to do. The more aversive a task is to you, the more you’ll resist it, and the more likely you are to procrastinate.
Aversive tasks tend to: be boring, frustrating, difficult, lack intrinsic rewards, be ambiguous and unstructured.
Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress.
Most people have a problem focusing when there is a distraction. Learning can suffer by distracting background sounds.
A study found that background and office noises decreased the performance of introverts in tasks involving reading comprehension and mental arithmetic. Performance during silence was the same for both personality types, suggesting introverts need silence when studying.
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