Lazing around may not be as bad as you think
Science may have just given people an excuse to laze around, with a study showing that individuals with high IQs rarely become bored and spend more time lost in their own thoughts while living a more sedentary lifestyle.
Conversely, the researchers found that people who fill their day with physical activity often do so to stimulate their minds and avoid boredom.
In a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, researchers from the Florida Gulf Coast University explained that “the relationship between cognition and physical activity is an important question for the human experience, and the interaction likely extends across the lifespan.”
The Florida team tested a group of 60 undergraduate students with a questionnaire that has been used for over 30 years to examine the link between “enjoyment of effortful cognitive endeavours and other variables related to cognitions,” according to the study.
This “Need for Cognition” questionnaire rates people with how strongly they agree or disagree with statements such as “I only think as hard as I have to” and “I really enjoy a task that involves coming up with new solutions to problems.”
On completion of the Need for Cognition questionnaire, half of the students were deemed “thinkers” and the others “non-thinkers.”
To determine if laziness is a sign of intelligence, each student was then given an “actigraphy device” to wear over the next seven days.
The device allowed the researchers to monitor the students’ movement and activity levels and provided a stream of data for analysis.
The results indicated that the “thinkers” were much less active than the “non-thinkers,” apart from at the weekend, which proved to be similar for both groups.
The researchers pointed out that part of the “weekend effect” in the study could be due to its sample population of college students.
“Although college students are a standard participant pool in the vast majority of experimental psychology studies, their behaviour and habits may be more indicative of young adult behaviour than adult behaviour in general,” the researchers said.
“It is reasonable to assume that this ‘weekend effect’ may change as people progress through different life stages, which is a question that future researchers may want to consider,” they added.
The researchers also noted that those who were more intelligent and lazier may endure negative side effects from their sedentary lifestyle.
The British Psychological Society commented that with 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.”