A joint research study from Duke University School of Business & Stirling University highlights why so many people are comfortable with choosing a dull job over a more stimulating one.

“Effort aversion” is the concept that one will select a simpler task over a more engaging one even though it pays more simply because they cannot justify the extra effort needed through pay.

The research consisted of the following. A group of people was asked to chose between two tasks at a cultural festival – that of a job monitor, where the only task was to alert the security guard of any problems. The second one was of being an usher, which required publicizing the event, welcoming guests and other tasks. The latter was paid more, and yet was the least favourite option.

“Ask someone which of two jobs they like better, and they will often pick the more interesting job, even if it requires more mental or physical effort,” Explained David Camerford, assistant professor at Sterling University. “But ask them how much the two jobs should pay, and now that their mind is focused on wages, they often conclude that all that extra effort ought to be rewarded, otherwise they will take the boring job.”

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