This is one of our quiet weeks, but we still bring you our customary Values Lab. This week looks at the concept of laziness through the values prism, after a social psychologist wrote a blog suggesting laziness doesn’t exist. We’ll be back next week with a full Weekly, and in the mean- time have a great week.
We were interested by this recent piece by a social psychology professor, claiming that laziness does not exist. The blog – which draws on the author’s experience of watching students struggle to motivate themselves to do assignments – suggests that idleness is used to describe a whole set of other behavioural barriers.
We thought we’d drag ourselves off the sofa and head down to the Values Lab, to see which segments are most likely to agree with the above sentiment. We’ve used two opposing statements about benefits and work – which is, of course, a topic where accusations of slothfulness are common – to do this.
People who say that…
“Poor people today have it easy because they can get benefits without doing anything in return”
“Poor people have hard lives because benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently”
There’s actually much less difference between the values groups than we were expecting, given that both statements are fairly strongly-worded. But, as you might expect, Pioneers are the least likely to link poverty or benefit use with laziness. Prospectors, who are more individualistic, lean the other way – reflecting their view that what you put in is what you get out.
Settlers are interesting here, in that they agree with both statements more strongly than Prospectors do. This is interesting, and reflects a finding we often come across, which is that Settlers are more prone to strong opinions at either end of the spectrum, whereas Pioneers and Prospectors have clearer leanings in one direction or another. This perhaps reflects greater levels of anger and concern about threats among Settlers, and more emotions-driven sentiments as a result. Hence, in the question above, you perhaps find both a concentration of Settlers who are frustrated with a system which doesn’t reward work, and you see a frustration with a government who doesn’t offer enough protection.