Why do people read negative Internet comments and do other things that will obviously be painful? Because humans have an inherent need to _____ (1) uncertainty, according to a recent study in Psychological Science. The new research reveals that the need to know is so strong that people will _____ (2) to satisfy their curiosity even when it is clear the answer will_____ (3).
In a series of four experiments, behavioral scientists at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Wisconsin School of Business tested students' willingness to _____ (4) themselves to unpleasant stimuli in an effort to satisfy curiosity. For one _____ (5), each participant was shown a pile of pens that the researcher claimed were from a previous experiment. The twist? Half of the pens would _____ (6) an electric shock when clicked.
Twenty-seven students were told which pens were rigged; another twenty-seven were told only that some were electrified. _____ (7) left alone in the room, the students who did not know which ones would shock them clicked more pens and incurred more jolts than the students who knew what would _____ (8). Subsequent experiments replicated this effect with other stimuli, _____ (9) the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard and photographs of disgusting insects.
The drive to _____ (10) is deeply ingrained in humans, much the same as the basic drives for _____ (11) or shelter, says Christopher Hsee of the University of Chicago, a co-author of the paper. Curiosity is often considered a good instinct-it can _____ (12) new scientific advances, for instance-but sometimes such _____ (13) can backfire. The insight that curiosity can drive you to do _____ (14) things is a profound one.
Unhealthy curiosity is possible to _____ (15), however. In a final experiment, participants who were encouraged to _____ (16) how they would feel after viewing an unpleasant picture were less likely to _____ (17) to see such an image. These results suggest that imagining the _____ (18) of following through on one's curiosity ahead of time can help determine _____ (19) it is worth the endeavor. "Thinking about long-term _____ (20) is key to mitigating the possible negative effects of curiosity," Hsee says. In other words, don't read online comments.