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Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence, Study Suggests (independent.co.uk) 254

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Independent: Findings from a U.S.-based study seem to support the idea that people with a high IQ get bored less easily, leading them to spend more time engaged in thought. And active people may be more physical as they need to stimulate their minds with external activities, either to escape their thoughts or because they get bored quickly. Researchers from the Florida Gulf Coast University gave a classic test -- dating back three decades -- to a group of students. The 'need for cognition' questionnaire asked participants to rate how strongly they agree with statements such as "I really enjoy a task that involves coming up with new solutions to problems," and "I only think as hard as I have to." The researchers, led by Todd McElroy, then selected 30 'thinkers' and 30 'non-thinkers' from the pool of candidates. Over the next seven days both groups wore a device on their wrist which tracked their movements and activity levels, providing a constant stream of data on how physically active they were. Results showed the thinking group were far less active during the week than the non-thinkers. "Ultimately, an important factor that may help more thoughtful individuals combat their lower average activity levels is awareness," said McElroy, according to The British Psychological Society. "Awareness of their tendency to be less active, coupled with an awareness of the cost associated with inactivity, more thoughtful people may then choose to become more active throughout the day."
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Being Lazy Is a Sign of High Intelligence, Study Suggests

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 08, 2016 @11:34PM (#52669035)

    but did'n feel like doing it

    • Well, apparently, I'm smarter than you!
    • "wore a device on their wrist which tracked their movements and activity levels"

      Um.. I think I may have found a flaw in their methodology? They may have caught a whole fistful of arbitrary data with that "Wrist Motion" monitor.. Data that could force them to toss all their conclusions, which could choke off their funding and really stain their reputations. I don't want to come off as a know it all but this study seems a bit anti-climactic.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That saying was everywhere when I was a kid.

    • So were plenty other, equally retarded sayings. Most still exist today and are considered axioms. How fucked up is that?

    • Since I've had children I've come to realize that being able to be bored is quite a luxury.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 08, 2016 @11:38PM (#52669051)

    As Calvin once said, "You know how Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well mine are even worse!"

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @11:42AM (#52671317)

      As Calvin once said, "You know how Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well mine are even worse!"

      This is of course quite amusing as I'm sure you are referring to the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. But did you know said comic strip is a satire around two characters that represent two prominent historical figures with two very different philosophical points of view:

      John Calvin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Thomas Hobbes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      If you read into their differences of opinions on many things related to society, you'll find relevance to this topic. We can't really understand why our society and culture values things and whether those things are appropriate today or ever even were rational to begin with if we don't understand the roots of where that thinking came from. The comic strip of course is more digestible in popular culture instead of having read comparably dry historical text but understanding the true historical context is very important especially as we evolve our values and ideas forward into the future.

  • I can buy that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Monday August 08, 2016 @11:40PM (#52669055)
    First time I have to do something I do it.
    Second time I think of how to automate it
    Third time I test my script
    Fourth time I refine my script
    Fifth time I run my script and go back to whatever I was doing.
    • by bain_online ( 580036 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:38AM (#52669213) Homepage Journal
      I just hire bright people to write my scripts :p
    • by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish,info&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:47AM (#52669237) Homepage

      And all I have a copy of this [xkcd.com] on our team server's home page, darn.

      • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @02:14AM (#52669419)
        Think about it, our modern world mostly exists because of the huge automation processes going on.

        I concur with the GP, if a problem is being repeated, then I seek solution on how to automate it. Over the year i automated a lot of stuff from testing, to revenue accounting. I also learned to always foresee additional cost equal to the initial development, over the next ten year, as debugging or maintenance, and when somebody ask me to automate stuff I ask them to sign it off with the knowledge and understanding of that maintenance cost.
      • If that's the way your software development processes work, you probably should get out of the software development business.

      • by Zak3056 ( 69287 )

        And all I have a copy of this [xkcd.com] on our team server's home page, darn.

        I like that one, but the one hanging on my wall is this one [xkcd.com], which I like even more. No one seems to like when I use it as a visual aid during meetings.

    • And this is where the "learn to code" stuff is going. There are a lot of processes out there ripe for automation. Small and mid sized businesses are still being run by manual processes. I've shown multiple people that Excel can sort. (Yes, they were sorting by hand).

      I'm a mechanical engineer that has been doing the above since I started. I now have my hardware in the loop integration testing in a script run by jenkins. I already did it once and it's boring and tedious. Jenkins can do it faster and 24/7.

      • And this is where the "learn to code" stuff is going. There are a lot of processes out there ripe for automation. Small and mid sized businesses are still being run by manual processes. I've shown multiple people that Excel can sort. (Yes, they were sorting by hand).

        In my old company we used to have secretaries who would email people the day before they had a meeting room booking to check to see if they still needed it. It turned out that a lot of meetings were actually being moved/cancelled and people were

    • by SeattleLawGuy ( 4561077 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @07:24AM (#52670059)

      You can really imagine the conversation that led to this research question.

      "So you're too lazy to come up with a research topic?"


      "That's not very smart."

      "... I beg to differ."

    • I've always said that to be a good IT pro, you have to be lazy in a particular way. Automation is a good example of it. Another is the tendency to come up with a permanent fix instead of constantly dealing with the fallout.

      For example, I remember working one place where a particular server crashed in the middle of the night every week. When I came into the company, it had been happening for six months, and once a week, one of the IT guys had to come in early to make sure the server got started up before

      • It was an act of laziness-- I didn't want to keep fixing the problem over and over again, so instead I spent extra time to fix it properly the first time.

        The laziness came from not fixing the problem in the first place. Some IT managers love to throw people at a problem rather than assign someone to fix problem.

        • The laziness came from not fixing the problem in the first place.

          My point is that they're both laziness. Yes, not fixing the problem could be seen as laziness, but fixing the problem could be seen as just being a smarter form of laziness.

          • [...] but fixing the problem could be seen as just being a smarter form of laziness.

            That's how I find time to comment on Slashdot at work. ;)

    • Of course if you are really lazy you don't bother commenting any of them!

      I have 5th Gen (as per your example) scripts I wrote more than a decade ago that I still use and work. However without doing a bunch of work to go through it, I've sort of forgotten exactly what some of them do, only that I need to run them at a certain point for particular processes...

      Anyway I agree. I'd rather be lazy by that definition than to plod through the same work each year and be labeled hard working. I recall several instanc

    • https://xkcd.com/1319/ [xkcd.com]


      https://xkcd.com/1205/ [xkcd.com]

      The one thing I've found with automation to solve repetitive tasks is that the are two things that can happen to make the time savings spiral out of control. 1) is other people getting a hold of it, using it for something it was never intended to be used for, as part of some system, which know by default you have to try and support or something. 2) Is when whoever you are providing it to see the results and how good they are, they want more, then differently,

  • I'm just allergic to manual labor. And being active.

    So I do tend to spend a lot of time thinking.

    • So I do tend to spend a lot of time thinking.

      Thinking or letting the mind go into a cycle of obsess, ping pong, ponder, zone out and repeat.
      Damned medication.

    • I'm just allergic to manual labor. ... So I do tend to spend a lot of time thinking.

      And I'm not asleep, just resting my eyelids.

    • I am not lazy either.

      I just really enjoy doing nothing.

      I will take vacation time and just sit at home.

  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Monday August 08, 2016 @11:46PM (#52669079)

    "Being lazy is a sign of high intelligence" -- I knew it, this means I must be an underappreciated super-genius!

  • "lazy" !? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sittingnut ( 88521 ) <sittingnut@@@gmail...com> on Monday August 08, 2016 @11:46PM (#52669081) Homepage

    being physically inactive and being lazy are two different things.

    one can be physically inactive, or less active, while doing a lot and expending lots of energy, through metal activity and stationary activity.
    any one who codes, or writes papers/books, designs stuff, or paints pictures, etc, or even watch and read thought provoking books/plays/movies know that such things can take a lot out of one.

    may be only people who do nothing of the kind, and write absurd careless/thoughtless summaries here, that are full of silly errors and duplicates, mistake all that for 'laziness'

    • And what kind of statement is "I only think as hard as I need to"? I do a lot of thinking but I don't really think in terms of hard or easy thinking, so do I only think as hard as I need to or not?
      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        Agreed. Unless you're just sitting there watching TV or something, aren't you always thinking about something? It just turns out that I'm thinking about how I could improve my work.... is that any more taxing than thinking about a burrito or an upcoming movie I'm looking forward to, or planning out my weekend? In none of these cases is there steam coming off my forehead from thinking "too hard."
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          When it comes to thinking, is it not always going to be thinking about what you are doing, whether that is physical activity or mental activity. Thought is required to move, it is just the extent of thought and the type of movement, the reward for the desired thoughts, will always be the responding flow of rewarding brain chemicals, that zone of pleasurable thought. So that zone can be achieved either by focusing on low level thought physical activity or high levels of thought with limited complexity of ph

    • I've gotten in to Tim Ferris' Podcast lately. I don't always agree with him, but definitely interesting. I listen to one recently and he said: "Being busy is a form of laziness." Essentially a lot of people fill up their schedule with tasks that aren't very valuable so they don't have to do the most difficult things on their todo list.
    • I do isometrics in the office every day... there is no other work out like it trying to push away the immovable stupidity of office politics.

  • by no-body ( 127863 ) on Monday August 08, 2016 @11:54PM (#52669107)

    if you're smart, thing happen more efficiently or are dropped when unnecessary - also a type of laziness, avoiding chaff.

  • by Falos ( 2905315 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:00AM (#52669129)
    Oh God that headline. C'mon guys. C'mon.

    But sure, there's going to be some kinds of correlation. When you "Work smarter, not harder" the obvious interpretation is that you don't work needlessly hard (lazy) because you were smart (intelligent) about the situation.

    Being "intelligent" is naturally going to trend towards optimized points on diminishing return curves. For an easy example and the obligatory car analogy, you might be "lazy" about where you buy your gasoline. The curve will shift if the price gaps become too punishing and demand more scrutiny, but otherwise you have bigger concerns than the tiny (after travel losses) savings gained from using the station across town. Conversely, the curve will shift the other way if the gaps become zero, or if the sheer scale drops (eg we're talking $0.12/gal vs $0.18/gal) so it's now too many orders of magnitude away from your income context (presumably) that giving it attention is a waste of your brain's fucks. You give it zero fucks. You don't even look at the price. You're "lazy".

    That's probably a measure of intelligence right there. You can quickly ballpark how many orders of magnitude is too far away to warrant fucks. To wit, you sense where increased effort only gains diminishing yields, and get lazy. Or smart. Or both.
    • I wonder if the term lazy made you misunderstand the result - which was more about physical activity than mindset, was it not?
    • savings gained from using the station across town

      With as much as fuel prices fluctuate, you'll save far more by buying on the correct day rather than from the cheapest station. Around here, that tends to be Thursday mornings.

  • Yay! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:04AM (#52669137) Homepage

    That's actually a very

  • It isn't laziness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:16AM (#52669149)
    I'm not lazy, I'm efficient. That it takes me less time to do the job, so I have more time to goof off doesn't mean I'm lazy. I'm just more efficient.
    • "The brilliant and energetic man makes the best staff officer. He handles routine work with accuracy and completeness.
      The brilliant and lazy man makes the best commanding officer. He tends to see the big picture accurately and avoids preoccupation with detail work which might distract him.
      The stupid and lazy man makes the best subordinate. He will do what he is told properly, no more no less.
      The stupid and energetic man, however, is to be avoided at all costs. He is quite capable of ruining the best laid pl

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:33AM (#52669181)

    They never tested IQ, and IQ is not intelligence. They passed out a questionnaire where people self selected with bullshit questions, then tracked them for a single week.

    To put it another way, this is like sorting fruit salad into grape and kumquats by shaking the bowl so the small ones end up on the bottom and so everything on top is a kumquat, everything else is a grape, without even checking that the fruit salad was in fact made with blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, and tomatoes(technically a fruit).

    This is shit science I would chew out a fifth grader for it, because they failed to determine if the factor they were testing was present, and used a shit sorting method. A questionnaire with questions like that isn't going to get you any useful results unless you're testing self perceptions of inteligence related to something(to which I'd argue that this study proves that lazy gits think their smart to excuse their laziness, which is just as valid as their conclusions).

    Where the hell do these people get the idea that it's alright to call this shit science? A first year student of any science other than social or political would be able to see what they've fucked up, and I've only excluded those two because they generally work with questionnaires and so might assume a competent questionnaire was created, which I highly doubt due to the absolute shit example questions. Mien Gott.

  • I have a couple problems with this concept. I doubt levels of physical activity correlate that highly with intelligence. For one, as others have here have noted, intellectual activity is often physically draining. Secondly, serious physical activity can likewise be mentally taxing. Ask any athlete about the level of concentration required to compete in their chosen sport, and the knowledge required to perform at a high level.

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      Conversely, as I mentioned in another post, I like hiking, jogging, and don't like mowing the lawn despite the fact I have to do it occasionally. None of these are really mentally taxing. Hiking is great if you can enjoy the scenery, but even then, like with those other activities, I'm often thinking about other things, and often do my best thinking while doing them. Just because someone is physically active doesn't mean they are a pro at some sport.

      +1 for "thinking" being physically draining, though. I

  • BAM! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:35AM (#52669201) Journal

    See, honey? I been telling you. I'm not napping, I'm contemplating.

    As Bertrand Russell said,

    “I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.”

    Now can I please order No Man's Sky?

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @12:42AM (#52669223)
    See. I've always said, Me Smart!
  • Greed is generosity
  • by Tomahawk ( 1343 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @03:06AM (#52669525) Homepage

    "Over the next seven days ...wore a device on their wrist... the thinking group were far less active during the week than the non-thinkers"

    It doesn't mention if these people had a week off work, or if they had to work normally during those hours. So one wonders if there is a correlation here between "thinking people" having desk job, and "non-thinking people" having more active jobs, like pizza delivery -- was the job they do taken into account in the study?

    I know after a day working out problems and stretching my mind, when I get home I just want to sit and unwind. About the most active thing I would do is walk the dog. So I can understand why thinking people may be lazier, to some respect (at least to _my_ respect), but I know a lot of intelligent "thinking people" who would be quite active, which would go against the reported findings of this study.

    Without access to the paper itself I can't answer these for myself.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Do thinkers have less active jobs?

      This question is irrelevant. The only thing of value is value. Producing value with the least amount of work is efficient. It's just math. See: LEAN, Toyota Production System, etc.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @03:24AM (#52669557)
    A lazy person does the least amount of work necessary to do a job. If that involves doing nothing and letting someone else do it for you then that counts, too.

    That philosophy also includes working out which jobs are worth doing and which are unnecessary or futile. An active person might clean their house every day. A lazy person might only do it when visitors are due. Which one is correct?

    It is also worth noting that anyone who has read the Perl Book (one of life's necessities, no matter how lazy you are) already knows this.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      A lazy person does the least amount of work necessary to do a job

      Yep and that concept is counter-intuitive in America to the substantially sized group of people who have roots in Puritanism. In the extreme cases, Puritanism would say digging a ditch with a spoon is a better use of one's time than than usage of a back hoe. You'll find that this value placed on back-breaking manual labor has its roots in religion the extreme cases of which are the Amish and the Mennonites. It's that mentality that is whining about "lazy" people and how they had to walk to school up and

    • This concept is nothing new....

      Choose a Lazy Person To Do a Hard Job Because That Person Will Find an Easy Way To Do It

      http://quoteinvestigator.com/2... [quoteinvestigator.com]

  • How have we defined laziness? -activity levels seems rather vague. Grouping "thinkers" and "non-thinkers" sounds like bias.

    I know some very intelligent people that are constantly on the go due to kids, work, training and a restless nature. How have we defined "intelligent"?

    Lazy people, as I define them; are those that choose inaction at the expense of others. Like not taking out the trash until someone else is fed-up and does it for them. You could argue it is intelligent to force others to expend more
  • by DrXym ( 126579 )
    I'd take these findings more seriously if someone started this report but couldn't be bothered to finish it.
  • by twosat ( 1414337 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2016 @04:13AM (#52669669)

    "Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active." - Leonardo da Vinci

  • Even from the very bried summary, it is clear that this does not suggest that "being lazy is a sign of high intelligence"; it only says that intelligent people get bored less easily, which makes sense, since they are more likely to think of something interesting. If layness was a sign of high intelligence, then the brightest people would be the ones sitting on their sofas gobbling snacks and watching soap operas.

  • Do they mean lazy as being efficient or mazy as meaning sittng in front of a TV and do nothing?

    Correlation is not causation.

    I can imagine that intelligent people will have the intelligence to figure out a way to do things more efficiently.e.g. a smart waiter will sooner figure out that it is better to pay attention to customers, because it will save you from doing the same distance twice. So yeah, you will walk less. So it is true that lazy people move less.

    However if you are smart, you will also realize th

  • Interestingly the original article says nothing of the sort but it looks the independent have warped it into a nice story!
  • I think the problem with being lazy but having an appetite for thought, is that many physical exercises are extremely tedious and repetitive. There are some sports that I think are more demanding of the mind, I know all competitive sports have a form of strategy, but the technical skill of sports vary greatly. Thinking "i'm lazy, I need to do exercise" and then going to the gym, is a recipe for failure... if you want to do it consistently then you need to enjoy it.

    My sport is rock climbing, from an outside

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      And if you were a competitive rock climber, by the time you were done analyzing the wall, your competitor would be done climbing it. I do find jogging tedious, which is why I think about other things while doing it. I enjoy hiking because I like nature, but even then I'm typically thinking about other things. I do my best technical thinking doing mundane activities.... hiking, jogging, mowing the lawn, taking a shower... and have woken up in the middle of the night with "eureka!" moments. The reason I d
  • More "intelligent" (perhaps more aware is a better term?) people tends to realize things existentially. They tend to ask questions like "what is the point of this task?" as well as many other things. When they really consider the possible rational, logical answers to these questions, they arrive at interesting conclusions some of which erode their motivation to do certain things but spark their interest in things that are more purposeful.

    A great example is Alan Watts in his famous talk "Life is a Hoax": h [youtube.com]

  • "Ultimately, an important factor that may help more thoughtful individuals combat their lower average activity levels is awareness," said McElroy, according to The British Psychological Society. "Awareness of their tendency to be less active, coupled with an awareness of the cost associated with inactivity, more thoughtful people may then choose to become more active throughout the day." Seems like the correct prescription would be mindfulness meditation.
  • Wow this must means I am the Einstein of our generation. I could probably write the greatest intellectual paper of all times, but I really can't be bothered.

  • If you want to know the easiest way to do a job, give it to the laziest man and he will find the way.
  • I've always suspected that sloths are intelligent. Think of all the advancements to science we could discover if sloths spilled their secrets.

    We need to start a sloth torture facility. Torture them until they tell us the secrets of Nuclear Fusion generators.

    • For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons.

      Douglas Adams - the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

  • ...new study validates sedentary tech guys.

    "Because of (handwavy psych 101 rationalization shoehorned to fit some trivial data) this PROVES that
    - women are actually aroused by familiarity with obscure code jargon
    - avoiding sun in close proximity to one's maternal forbear (say, in a basement) leads to much higher intelligence
    - obesity is a sure sign of sexual prowess"

    Nerds go wild at the information.

  • The publication is pay-walled so I can't read the original study but the write up does not mention how they determined intelligence. It sounds like they had two groups of people - those who said they think a lot and those who do not. The news article suggests that they assumed that those labeled themselves as thinking more are therefore more intelligent. That doesn't seem very logical to me. Furthermore, anyone with an above average intelligence can tell you just how easy it is to be bored in meetings,
  • So those that don't RTFA are actually the smart ones?

  • Another labeling/pigeonholing study. I've worked with a lot of extremely intelligent people who never sat still and were very athletic as well. I have a ridiculously low threshhold for boredom, leading to my during meetings behavior of building little things out of whatever is sitting around on the table. To the point where the boss warns some people so they don't think some autistic guy got into the meeting. But the pace of all meetings is way too slow, and I'm not good at hearing information rehashed agai
  • by NetNed ( 955141 )
    What about all the people that comment without even RTFA? They do that because they are lazy and yet they make some of the stupidest fucking comments ever.
  • Lazy engineers make for the best engineers. We only want to fix a problem once, not over-and-over again.

    Just one example.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.