Thought for the month

“You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young." "Why, what did she tell you?" "I don't know, I didn't listen.” From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams, Author (1952-2001)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Busily doing something

As people, we don’t really care what we are doing - just as long as we are doing something. That is one of the findings summarised in an article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Apparently when psychologists think about why people do what they do, they tend to look for specific goals, attitudes and motivations. But they may be missing something more general - people like to be doing something. According to the authors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign “People have this inclination to do more, even if what they do is trivial ... we want to do something, but what we do ends up not mattering much. You could end up with productive behaviour, like work, or impulsive behaviour, like drug use.” Clearly Descartes got it wrong: I do therefore I am.

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