University of Essex discovers 'most boring person in the world'

University of Essex discovers 'most boring person in the world'
Photo credit: Getty Images

It's a title surely no one wants to get, but that hasn't stopped researchers in the United Kingdom from revealing who is the "most boring person in the world".

But before you get worried, the team at the University of Essex didn't spend their time and expertise calling out one single person. Instead, they looked into the science of boredom and uncovered the jobs, characteristics, and hobbies that are considered stereotypically dull. 

After looking at more than 500 people across five experiments, researchers found the blandest jobs are seen as data analysis, accounting, cleaning, and banking.

The study, which is published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, also discovered the dullest hobbies were seen to be religion, watching TV, bird watching, and smoking.

Boring people were also perceived to shun large settlements and instead live in small cities and towns.

The research was led by Dr Wijnand Van Tilburg at the University of Essex's Department of Psychology and found that stereotypically boring people are generally disliked and avoided due to preconceptions.

He launched the study to explore the stigma of perceived boredom and how it can impact perceptions.

"The irony is studying boredom is actually very interesting and has many real-life impacts. This paper shows how persuasive perceptions of boredom are and what an impact this can have on people," he says.

"Perceptions can change but people may not take time to speak to those with 'boring' jobs and hobbies, instead choosing to avoid them. They don't get a chance to prove people wrong and break these negative stereotypes.

"The very fact that people choose to avoid them can lead to social ostracisation and increase loneliness leading to a really negative impact on their lives."

The research also found that being perceived as boring likely conveys low competence and low interpersonal warmth. Those seen as boring may therefore be at greater risk of harm, addiction, and mental health issues.

But despite the negative perceptions, Van Tilburg says the more "boring" jobs like accounting and banking are needed for a functioning society.

"It was interesting to me to see the study showed that boring people were not seen as competent," he says.

"I would have thought that accountants would be seen as boring, but effective and the perfect person to do a good job on your tax return.

"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."

The top five most boring jobs:

  1. Data analysis
  2. Accounting
  3. Tax/insurance
  4. Cleaning
  5. Banking.

The top five most exciting jobs:

  1. Performing arts
  2. Science
  3. Journalism
  4. Health professional
  5. Teaching.

The top five most boring hobbies:

  1. Sleeping
  2. Religion
  3. Watching TV
  4. Observing animals
  5. Mathematics.