Hacker News Re-Imagined

People behave more sadistically when they’re bored

  • 154 points
  • 2 days ago

  • @DocFeind
  • Created a post
  • • 155 comments

People behave more sadistically when they’re bored


@arcastroe 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

People also behave more masochistically when they're bored. When placed in a room with no other stimulation other than a button that (painfully) shocks you when pushed, people push the button out of boredom.

Reply


@stormouse 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Is this experiment fair? People were bored and the only alternative given was to grind worms and conclude that boredom catalyze sadistic behavior? What about give something kind as alternative (like giving away stuff to homeless ppl), what would that give?

Reply


@fosterdill 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I don't know if putting a maggot through a grinder counts as acting sadistically. Boredom is dangerous though, sometimes when people are bored they do things like sneak a gun into a situation they know could turn violent and then pretend they're a hero

Reply


@quacked 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

If this is indeed true, it is yet another piece of evidence in the case for prison reform. Prisoners are universally bored, yet in many cases insufficiently protected from one another. Read accounts of any long-time convict's time in prison and you'll hear about excruciating boredom punctuated by acts of outrageous sadism.

Reply


@thoughtsimple 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

"Bored now"

Reply


@MrDrDr 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Impressed the author resisted using the phrase “The devil finds work for idle hands”.

Reply


@encryptluks2 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

There are a lot of factors that could contribute to sadistic behaviors aside from simply boredom. When people are bored, often they lack purpose and in the modern world a purpose can be difficult to find and follow, especially when depending on someones socioeconomic status it may seem near impossible to accomplish larger goals that they've already dismissed as near impossible (and rightfully so) that may prove to give them value.

Maybe they need a career change. Depending on someones age and commitments, the idea of changing careers can be very difficult. How do you keep paying bills and working in a job you hate, taking care of family, but learn something new that will become fruitful. I can relate to feeling like you want to lash out at people, unfortunately often these can be people that just seem like easier targets.

At least for me my lashing out is more about just being honest with people that normally I'd normally ignore, but have decided that I should just tell them the cold hard truths.

Reply


@reactspa 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

"an empty mind is a devil's workshop".

Reply


@ahallock 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Does this bode well for when low-level (and even high-level) jobs are mostly automated and we need UBI?

Reply


@dang 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I have a similar thought about flamewars on the internet, or rather about why generic discussions so often turn into flamewars: the mind resorts to indignation to amuse itself in the absence of anything more interesting.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...

Reply


@sleepysysadmin 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Pleasure is fleeting. It must be or else you'd still be glowing from your first orgasm.

Inevitably the search for pleasure will require variety and inevitably that variety brings you to inflicting pain on others.

We do it publicly. The romans fed people to the lions. We have lots of violent sports. Nascar isn't about driving left. It's about the crashes. Hockey is about the fights and checking. Lets not even evaluate violent videogames.

The real trick is understanding what's happening in your brain and controlling this before it gets to the need to inflict pain.

Reply


@givemeethekeys 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

"If I'm alone too long I think too much, and I'm not interested in doing that. That won't lead anywhere good, I'm sure. If I'm busy I tend to stay out of trouble. An idle mind is the devil's playground." Lisa Marie Presley =)

Reply


@enduser 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

This is a good case for redistribution of wealth.

Reply


@austincheney 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I don’t know how true this is in general but upon a bit of reflection I will say I am more honest when I am bored. That is pretty extreme coming from somebody who normally has no resignations about social awkwardness from blunt honesty.

The common response to my bored honesty is typically a positive mix of bewilderment and curiosity. People tend to find the unexpected hyper criticality a bit entertaining.

Reply


@jacob019 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

So do cats.

Reply


@edmundsauto 1 day

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

It's interesting how little this forum respects social science results due to the reproducibility crisis. Except when it tickles our brains via confirmation bias.

Reply


@Borrible 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I'm burned by social sciences so I'll wait for a replication study. But as an aside, grinding maggots is not exactly my idea of sadism. I prefer when they feel physical pain. Or at least think they look like they do. Although, mental atrocities are actually my specialty. They must excite my empathy, I'm more the sensitive type. The icing on the cake is, when they like it.

Confiscating one of their most important holds on reality, their smarthphones, stealing their time and making them watch boring 20-minute videos about waterfalls on the other hand...

There I sense a really sneaky kind of evil. A bit like that Milgram stage drama.

Yeah, I know, I'm such a bore.

Reply


@hermannj314 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

How do you monetize it?

Create a boring livestream of you doing nothing, where people can pay money and then you experience pain.

Make it a SaaS, sell an IOT pain inducer to your streamers and collect a percentage.

Reply


@omarhaneef 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

You can see this effect on school playgrounds and twitter.

Reply


@ARandomerDude 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

As my grandfather used to tell me when I was a child, "An idle mind is the Devil's workshop."

Reply


@lr4444lr 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

This is why the Roman generals in Britain built Hadrian's Wall. They knew it wasn't defensively useful for crap, but it kept a lot of trained soldiers far away from home stuck in a cold unpleasant land with people they did not view as civilized from becoming a dangerous idle mass of people.

Reply


@ppeetteerr 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Scientific proof that "The devil makes work for idle hands to do" is accurate

Edit: not in a religious sort-of-way

Reply


@mrkentutbabi 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Another argument against UBI

Reply


@SavantIdiot 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

> bored people will give themselves electric shocks

That's masochism, not sadism.

When I get incensed on the internet it is due to overt display of -isms, and not a desire to hurt someone (or get hurt), but more of: your attitude and behavior is hurtful to others and here is why. However, trying to change someone's attitude in non-troll way when they are entrenched in their belief system leads to a flame-wars 98% of the time. I'm always hoping for that 2%.

Reply


@antux 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Makes a lot of sense. A study found that boredom could lead to early death (source: https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/bored-death-no...)

That means any kind of stimulation is preferred over no stimulation. If sadism is the only kind of stimulation one can get, they'll take it for the sake of survival.

Reply


@intrepidhero 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I like the relevant quote from Pascal, "All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone" mainly because it's allows me to feel smugly superior while procrastinating work.

Reply


@HWR_14 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I wonder if this tendency is the reason for the stereotype of the sadistic prep school trust fund kid that is so dominant in popular culture. In some cases it's obvious that they are easy opposition to the main character, but even in other stories they tend to be characterized that way.

Reply


@xtiansimon 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I believe it! I am surrounded by retirement-age non-workers, one who is an alcoholic, one with severe medical condition, a practically non-verbal who lives like a hobo—oh, and one does resent having to work part-time, and let’s you know it.

The first one will go nuts and scream his head off all night and has been arrested so many times they know him by name. The next just bought a rolling chair and likes to roll around his apartment, the next wakes up all hours during the night and is constantly moving his milk crates and lawn furniture and dropping things that roll (these two live above me) and the last stomps around the building and can be heard at 0400 in the morning whining about her life and talking $#!t about everything and everyone.

Fracking Miserable people who spread misery.

I mentioned to the people above me and the one denies he rides the chair and then uses his medical condition as an excuse. The other said flatly, “too bad”.

Reply


@VladimirGolovin 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I have a pet theory that smartphones and the mobile Internet are the primary reasons for the decline of violent street crime. People these days don't need to be violent to entertain themselves -- because they now have porn, dating, gossip, games, and gambling in their pockets. Plus it's a lot safer than violence.

Reply


@lprubin 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

There is an interesting exploration of this in the Altered Carbon universe. If people can become functionally immortal, will they inevitably grow tired of societally acceptable pursuits and move on to sadism?

Reply


@polskibus 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Is there a link between proliferation of smartphones with games and lower violence? Most people are never bored these days because they escape to their smartphones.

Reply


@dpeck 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

Perhaps this is why there is all the anecdotal evidence of people being asses to one another, and especially to “low status” retail workers and clerks over the last 2 years.

(economic/influence based status here, of course all people should be given the same amount of default respect regardless of occupation or income level, but real life seldom plays out that way)

Reply


@pddpro 2 days

Replying to @DocFeind 🎙

I mean, the entire premise of Squid Games is just this.

Reply


About Us

site design / logo © 2022 Box Piper