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Thread: Boredom and Intelligence

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    The ever absent-minded CChampeau's Avatar
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    Boredom and Intelligence

    When I was little and complained of being bored, I was told that "if you're bored, it just means that you're boring!"

    On a similar note, the most intelligent person I believe I have ever met said, "...only dumb people get bored. Intelligent people have far too much to think about."

    On the other hand, there is substantial evidence that highly intelligent children underperform or even begin to misbehave precisely because they are bored.

    Thoughts on what is going on here....?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CChampeau View Post
    Thoughts on what is going on here....?
    In my experience, the bright ones act up when they find the topic too easy, while the less academic ones act up when they find the topic too hard. I used to tutor 'troubled' kids between 16 and 18 who, for various reasons, did not achieve GCSEs. There weren't enough of them to split them into sets based on ability, and there was only one of me. It was a nightmare, to be honest. Thankfully, the course has since been redesigned.

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    Grand Duchess Ambrosia's Avatar
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    The people who say negative things about people who get bored are likely trying to motivate them to find something to do so they are no longer bored. That would be my guess. Or they are just being jerks.

    I personally think highly intelligent people have a greater likelihood of becoming bored because their minds need to be engaged, and so much of everyday life doesn't engage a person's brain.
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    Megalops Erectus Silver King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    ...I personally think highly intelligent people have a greater likelihood of becoming bored...
    I must be dumb as a stump, as I can't recall ever being bored in my life. No kidding. I've read boring books and seen boring films and known boring people and stuff, but I've never been actively bored. I'm not even sure what it's supposed to feel like.

    My mind wanders a good deal, though, perhaps as a mechanism to stave off boredom, so I remain entertained most of the time, regardless of my surroundings.

    It's worth noting that on the opposite end, I'm rarely excited about anything and have no idea why people become ecstatic about what appears to be the most trivial things I can think of...

    My old man told me once, "You never seem to run hot or cold, Son. You're just tepid."

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    seeing sparks milly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver King View Post
    I must be dumb as a stump
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    Now available (see sig for link)! Cliff Face's Avatar
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    I tend to think of the "bard" approach. (I coined that just then.)

    A bard, in Dungeons And Dragons, is a jack-of-all-trades - has ability in loads of things, but doesn't necessarily specialise in any one thing.

    So, to me, I try to be like a bard with multiple specialisations.

    I write, I play music, I (try to) draw, I'm interested in physics, I'll be studying philosophy, I want to work in retail while I study, I want to be organised and clean, I love fashion, I love shopping.

    However, I can usually only do 1 of those things at a time, and usually for only a short period of time. If I focus on one thing too much, I get sick of it.

    So when I get bored, it's almost always the in-between moments. When I've finished writing for the day, and don't know what I want to do next. So I just sit there, or pace, and convince myself that everything is boring because I'm already bored.

    So to me, boredom is simply what happens when you don't feel like doing something that could relieve the boredom. If I do none of my interests, I get bored.

    I don't think it has anything to do with intelligence or whether you're a boring person.
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    The thing about children is that their environment is often at the mercy of adults. I think it's fair to say that bright kids - like less-bright kids, like creative kids and less-creative kids - can get bored in a classroom, depending on who is running it. In my experience though, bright kids tend to be rarely bored outside of the classroom. (On the other hand the same can be said for less-bright but highly-motivated kids of all kinds, and for the younger members of the criminal classes as well, who are probably out swiping hubcaps or selling stocks and bonds or whatever it is young criminals do these days...)

    Generalisations only tend to hold in a very general sense.

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    Now available (see sig for link)! Cliff Face's Avatar
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    I should add that I think a lot, but not all thoughts are equally entertaining.

    "Normal" life, the day-to-day stuff, is more likely to bore me if that's all I'm thinking about. Again, it's when I don't focus on my specialisations that I get bored.
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    It's a New Year! rhymegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
    I personally think highly intelligent people have a greater likelihood of becoming bored because their minds need to be engaged, and so much of everyday life doesn't engage a person's brain.
    I agree with this.


    Kathy, a highly intelligent person who gets bored frequently
    I mostly hang out in Office Party. Mostly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhymegirl View Post
    I agree with this.


    Kathy, a highly intelligent person who gets bored frequently
    Yeah - but - surely if they're bright, they can find things to engage their brains?

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    It's a New Year! rhymegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    Yeah - but - surely if they're bright, they can find things to engage their brains?
    Hmm. Well, I could mastermind a plan to take over the world.
    I mostly hang out in Office Party. Mostly.

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    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    I have the attention span of a goldfish and am easily bored, except when plotting (dire deeds and stories) or reading. School was sheer misery. Sixteen years of bored-out-of-my-skull misery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rhymegirl View Post
    Hmm. Well, I could mastermind a plan to take over the world.
    Well - I was thinking more along the lines of a cryptic crossword, but hell yeah! Yay for world domination!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ari Meermans View Post
    I have the attention span of a goldfish and am easily bored, except when plotting (dire deeds and stories) or reading. School was sheer misery. Sixteen years of bored-out-of-my-skull misery.
    Yeah - I didn't finish. They would have expelled me, but I wasn't there often enough. I loved the library though.

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    It's a New Year! rhymegirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver King View Post
    It's worth noting that on the opposite end, I'm rarely excited about anything
    Oh really? What about half-naked women?
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    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccardey View Post
    Yeah - I didn't finish. They would have expelled me, but I wasn't there often enough. I loved the library though.

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    Megalops Erectus Silver King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milly View Post
    *saved, archived in folder with blackmail pics*
    See? That comment alone will keep me from ever being bored...

  18. #18
    MacAllister's Official Minion & Greeter AW Moderator Ari Meermans's Avatar
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    I just wanna go on record as saying for the umpteenth time: You people ain't right. Carry on.

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    Now available (see sig for link)! Cliff Face's Avatar
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    Perhaps boredom is the feeling you get when you feel you're not allowed to enjoy some down-time doing nothing?

    I mean, yesterday was the first day in 5 months where I haven't had a job. I finished up on Saturday. So naturally, on Sunday mum started in with questions like, "So, what are you going to do this week?" in that tone that means, "You better do something productive, because doing nothing, even if it's only briefly, isn't allowed."

    It's comments like that that have made me incapable (in recent years) of enjoying a day of doing nothing.

    So I feel bored, and strangely guilty instead.
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    I got so damned bored in class I could hardly stand it (not all my classes). The thing was, we weren't allowed to read, write, stare at the wall, or anything but give full attention to the teacher. When the teacher explains the same thing for 45 minutes. Aaaaaarrrghh!

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    Token mad scientist. RemusShepherd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CChampeau View Post
    On a similar note, the most intelligent person I believe I have ever met said, "...only dumb people get bored. Intelligent people have far too much to think about."

    On the other hand, there is substantial evidence that highly intelligent children underperform or even begin to misbehave precisely because they are bored.

    Thoughts on what is going on here....?
    Children are forced to pay attention in school. If that content bores them, they underperform or misbehave.

    Adults aren't forced to do anything. If they start to get bored, they have the freedom to think about something else. (Although if you look in meeting rooms around the corporate world, you will find lots of smart people who are bored and probably misbehaving; doodling, mostly.)

    It's all about what is age-appropriate. Doodling is a sign that a child lacks focus, but is also a sign that an adult has an active imagination. What used to be misbehaviour becomes a virtue when you get older. The underlying psychology doesn't change. The social acceptability of the mis-behavior changes.
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    practical experience, FTW Lucas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CChampeau View Post
    When I was little and complained of being bored, I was told that "if you're bored, it just means that you're boring!"

    On a similar note, the most intelligent person I believe I have ever met said, "...only dumb people get bored. Intelligent people have far too much to think about."

    On the other hand, there is substantial evidence that highly intelligent children underperform or even begin to misbehave precisely because they are bored.

    Thoughts on what is going on here....?
    Intelligent people get more easily bored, as well as tired of human interaction in general. People who are more medium-intelligent are probably happier, since they seldom doubt things.

  23. #23
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver King View Post
    I must be dumb as a stump, as I can't recall ever being bored in my life. No kidding. I've read boring books and seen boring films and known boring people and stuff, but I've never been actively bored. I'm not even sure what it's supposed to feel like.
    It feels like your brain is stuffed with cold oatmeal. There's a pressure behind your eyes and a deep sadness. At least that's how I felt on rainy Sunday's as a kid. No one to play with and nothing on tv.
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    Mental toss flycoon JimmyB27's Avatar
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    I only skimmed through this thread - it's kind of boring...



    I don't normally get bored, I just do something more interesting if I'm not enjoying whatever it is I am doing. However, I have had jobs before where the level of attention required was just high enough that I couldn't let my mind wander, but just low enough that it didn't interest me. Glad I'm out of that now.
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  25. #25
    "...only dumb people get bored. Intelligent people have far too much to think about."
    Oh boy. That's right up there with "only stupid people work in factories".

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