Life

The world's most boring person works in data analytics, likes watching TV, lives in a town - scientists

Business Insider US
People working in data analytics were among those considered to have boring jobs. Jeff Greenberg / Contributor / Getty
  • Scientists say they've identified the jobs, hobbies, and traits deemed to be the most boring.
  • Data analysis is considered the most bland job and sleeping is among the most boring "hobbies."
  • Researchers want to understand how the perception of being boring affects a person's relationships. 
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

The "most boring person in the world" works in data entry, lives in a small town, and enjoys watching TV in their spare time, according to scientists, who claim they've identified what makes a person least interesting. 

Social scientists have long been fascinated with the concept of boredom. Although it can have some supposed benefits for creativity and productivity, when it comes to careers, many people tend to fear being bored. Even worse, they fear being labeled a bore by others — and the potential stigma that comes with it. 

Psychologists from the University of Essex, University of Limerick, and the London School of Economics wanted to understand the latter. 

As part of the study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers examined 500 people across five individual studies. 

They first asked participants to list the occupations, hobbies and characteristics they deemed to be most boring. People working in data analysis, accounting, tax/insurance cleaning, and banking were listed as having the most boring professions. 

Sleeping, religion, TV, watching animals, and mathematics, were seen to be the five most boring hobbies, by participants. 

Researchers then wanted to analyse the potential impact this perception could have on a person's relationships with colleagues and peers. 

It's potentially negative. Participants were more likely to want to avoid peers deemed to be highly boring. When asked, hypothetically, how much they would expect as compensation were they asked to spend time with a boring person, the average answer was $35 a day. 

Being seen as boring could impact someone's career and relationships, say the researchers

Wijnand Van Tilburg, senior lecturer at University of Essex's department of psychology and co-author of the study, suggests its findings could provide insight into the real-life impact of what happens when a person is deemed to be bland. 

"Perceptions can change but people may not take time to speak to those with 'boring' jobs and hobbies, instead choosing to avoid them," Van Tilburg said in a release on the university website. 

Boring people were also deemed to be generally less competent and less warm in the study, which could increase their chances of being ostracized.

Van Tilburg added that boring people often don't get the chance to prove these negative stereotypes wrong. "The very fact that people choose to avoid them can lead to social ostracization and increase loneliness leading to a really negative impact on their lives," he said. 

How a person is seen is likely to depend on the context, and by whom they're being perceived. As Tilburg highlights: "The truth of the matter is people like bankers and accountants are highly capable and have power in society — perhaps we should try not to upset them and stereotype them as boring!"

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