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Basic Info ---------- **Lead Researchers** Nick Buttrick & Hyewon Choi, University of Virginia **Target # of Collaborators/Sites** 10 sites, all outside of the United States, would be ideal. We give priority to researchers with access to participants in Brazil, Portugal, Thailand, and Turkey. **Recruitment Deadline** October 31, 2015 **Primary Contact** Nick Buttrick - ---------- ## Project Overview ## **Background** The ability to pleasurably decouple ourselves from our often hectic, uncontrollable environment and create a refuge against the world should be one of the great skills of our contemporary age. Yet research in our lab has shown that people find thinking enjoyably, in the absence of any external stimulation, to be difficult ([Wilson et al., 2014][1]), a failing that has real-world consequences (e.g., [Eastwood et al., 2012][2]; [Hsee et al., 2010][3]). It is an open question, however, as to whether the challenge is a universal element of the human condition or whether it is just a product of a particularly American ethos. While our past research has found that enjoying one’s thoughts is difficult for Americans of all ages, income levels, and educational backgrounds, we have no data from non-Americans. **Research Question/Goals** Our goal with this research is to determine whether the inability to enjoy one's thoughts is a uniqely American phenomenon, and, if not, whether there are reliable predictors for an individual's thought-enjoyment power. This project is largely an exploratory one, but initially there are four cultural factors we’ll be looking at initially as moderators: *Pace of Life:* The pace of life in a location has tremendous influence on the lives of its residents (e.g., [Levine & Norenzayan, 1999][4]). If a faster pace of life leaves less time for reflection, then we anticipate people living in a faster-paced society to find the idea and practice of stopping to enjoy one’s thoughts especially aversive. *Religious Foundation:* Religious traditions differ in their attitude towards contemplation ([Smith, 1991][5]). We anticipate that people in traditions that emphasize the importance of mental control relative to action (e.g. Buddhism) should enjoy their thoughts more than traditions that emphasize the reverse (e.g. Catholicism). *Mobility:* [Singer & McCraven (1961)][6] found that urban participants daydreamed more than rural ones as a reaction to the greater solitude found in cities. Societies with greater residential mobility, and thus weaker social ties, ought to have longer periods of loneliness, more daydreaming, and thus a better ability to control their daydreams and a greater enjoyment of thought. *Inequality:* People living in societies with greater income inequality find more meaning in their life ([Diener et al., 2011][7]), likely due to a need for control. If a retreat into thought when circumstances are bad is adaptive, people in more unequal societies (especially with lower economic mobility) should be more willing and able to make the escape than those in more equal societies. **Methods & Materials** At each site, we plan to recruit 200 students, randomly assigned to one of two groups. Once they are comfortably alone at home (following Study 8 of [Wilson et al., 2014][8]), half of the participants will be assigned to take time to enjoy their thoughts, while the other half, providing an interpretable baseline, will do some other solitary activity (such as reading a book). We will be running the study using a Qualtrics-based survey link, the text of which is available by request. Study should take about 30 minutes for participants to complete. **Project End-Goals** Publication in a journal, as yet TBD. [1]: [2]: [3]: [4]: [5]: [6]: [7]: [8]: ---------- Requirements for Collaborators ------------------------------ - Translation of survey materials (and backtranslation of survey free-responses) - Recruitment of at least 150 student participants (200 being the ideal) - If a participant pool isn't used, identification of a payment system Since the survey will be taken at home by participants via emailed link, no lab space or computers will be needed. IRB materials will be provided. ---------- Authorship & Ownership -------------------- The lead authors will write up the paper, but will obviously send around drafts for comments/revisions. Author order in publication will be: lead authors, collaborating researchers (ordered alphabetically), then any advisors. If collaborators fail to hit the 150-person recruitment minimum, but still provide usable data, then they will still be on the paper, but will be demoted in the authorship order. If they provide no usable data, then they will be dropped from the paper. ---------- ## Project Timeline ## *All dates are estimates* **Experimental Design** Completed **Collaborator Recruitment** July 2015 **IRB Material Distribution & Survey Translation** July-August 2015 **Data Collection Begins** August 2015 **Data Collection Ends** Early November 2015 **Data Analysis** November 2015 **Manuscript Writing/Reporting** December 2015 **Manuscript Submission** January-February 2016
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