Purposeful and nonpurposeful tasks were performed by 30 normal college-age students (15 male, 15 female) in a study examining the effectiveness of the two types of activity in prolonging tolerance to electrically induced pain. The subjects acted as their own controls, indicated their own threshold for stimulation, and were monitored for peripheral skin temperature and heart rate. Duration of tolerance was measured in seconds from attainment of threshold until the request by the subject that stimulation be stopped. Results indicated that the subjects tolerated pain significantly longer (p = .02) while performing the activity designated as purposeful. No significant differences in peripheral skin temperature or heart rate were found under the two conditions.