I read a report of a psychological experiment done by some college students some years ago that seems to relate to this. The test was performed in a plain white room, containing nothing but a chair and a small table with a big red button on it.

For the control group, the students, wearing plain clothes, would recruit a subject, and explain that they were doing a study on boredom. They were told that they were to sit in the chair, and push the button when they got bored. Under these conditions the experimenters noted that most of the test subjects would patiently sit for long periods--sometimes for several hours—without touching the button.

For the experimental group, the students carried clipboards and wore white lab coats while recruiting the subjects, who would then be asked to sign a "release form". In this setup, the subjects were told they were participating in a "sensory deprivation experiment", and were instructed to push the red button if anything goes wrong. They were then placed in the same room in which the control group had been tested.

Interestingly enough, the students found that the subjects in this group all pressed the button in less than an hour--some even within 15-20 minutes. Additionally, many of the subjects actually manifested symptoms of sensory deprivation.