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A science team asked more than 500 people in five different studies to determine which traits, jobs and hobbies are considered stereotypically boring.
In the first two studies, the team asked participants to rank which features are considered uninteresting. The results showed that many volunteers categorized jobs such as data analysis, cleaning and banking as the most boring jobs. As for hobbies, they put religion, watching TV and observing animals – e.g., bird watchers – as uninteresting.
Meanwhile, participants also ranked the lack of a sense of humor, having no opinions or complaining a lot as boring.
“The more typical the features of stereotypical boringness described a person, the more the person was perceived as boring,” the team writes.
In the next two studies, researchers presented a pool of participants with descriptions of imaginary people with the stereotypical boring characteristics found in the first study. The bad news for the bores was that they were perceived as lacking warmth and competence, and were socially avoided.
The last study put another nail in the coffin: Participants demanded a significant amount of money when asked how much they’d need to be rewarded monetarily for spending time with a “stereotypical bore” depicted in a vignette.
While the study is primarily based in the United States, it is one of the first to probe stereotypes about boring people across different areas. Researchers also said that such results help break down such labels.
“Perceptions can change but people may not take time to speak to those with ‘boring’ jobs and hobbies, instead choosing to avoid them,” said lead author Wijnand Van Tilburg. “They don’t get a chance to prove people wrong and break these negative stereotypes.”