Sometimes scientific studies reaffirm things we already knew based on good ol’ common sense. You can look at those studies and be all, “Ugh, lol, duh, #wasteofmoney,” or you can say, “Wow, huh, I guess maybe now we can try to get to the root of all these human experiences we take for granted.”
This is one of those studies.
Published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the experiment found that having a 50 percent chance of receiving a painful electric shock was actually more stressful than having a 100 percent chance of receiving one.
In other words, anticipating pain — or anything bad, really — that may or may not happen, no matter what you do, feels really, really awful. If you’ve ever waited for the other shoe to drop, if you will, in any circumstance — getting scary medical test results or waiting for a meeting where you think you might get fired, just to name a couple of examples — you know that uncertainty is stressful.