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Study: People Apathetic Because They Don't Care
MANHATTEN, Kan. (CAP) - A new study out of Kansas State University finds apathy to be most prevalent among people who simply don't care. The results fly in the face of previous research which had suggested that apathetic people did care, just not about the things upon which the study was based.
"Pretty much everybody cares about something, but apathetic people don't care about anything," said KSU psychology professor Dick Harland. "It's this disinterest that feeds the apathy, which in turn fuels greater feelings of indifference.
"If we as a society can turn this around and get apathetic people to care," added Harland, "we can change the very definition of apathy."
The two-year study analyzed the social and interpersonal habits of 734 people from different age groups and varying walks of life. Subjects were observed putting off important tasks, delaying decisions until it was too late, and shrugging their shoulders.
"Apathetic people could not give less of a shit if they tried," said research assistant Tai Gautry. "You don't know how many times I wanted to smack these people and tell them to just make a fucking decision already! But no matter how mad I got, they just didn't care."
Gautry said that finding the right people to take part in the study proved to be a daunting task. The researchers' first attempt involved placing a classified ad in local papers, but they were unable to use any of the hundreds of people who responded because their initial level of interest in the study already indicated too little apathy.
"We had to resort to observing apathetic people in the wild," Gautry said. "But when you enter their world, you run the risk of not being able to get out. We lost two interns in the name of science."
Gautry noted that research techniques involved a lot of "standing around, hanging out and, you know, whatever." Drawing conclusions also provided a level of difficulty as most research comes to an end when certain results are achieved, not from a lack of results over some unspecified period of time.
"Oh, we could have studied these people for another five years and I think the results would have been the same," said Harland. "But we stopped at two years because that's when our grant money ran out."
The results of the study will be published in the slacker journal Whatevs next month. Harland and his team say they hope to parlay the success of this study into their next grant, which will focus on determining whether or not people are lazy because they don't do anything.
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