Sexes: Picking Pain

How to become a masochist

What causes masochistic behavior? University of Southern California Psychologist Gary Frieden, 25, thinks he knows the answer: low selfesteem. In a series of tests on college students, he found that lowering self-esteem leads normal people to choose suffering and painful tasks.

Frieden told 40 students they were helping out in a "Patty Hearst simulation" and could choose a simple task (listening to a propaganda tape) or a more humiliating and painful one (being blindfolded and bound, and given electric shocks). All students were given personality tests. Those whose...

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