Dull Tasks Tougher on the Entitled

People who feel they're 'owed' special treatment may find the mundane more of a burden, study suggests

MONDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- People with a sense of entitlement are more likely to view dull tasks as a waste of their time, which makes it feel like time is passing slowly while they do these jobs.

Those are the findings of a new study by University of Michigan researchers who conducted a series of experiments with college students.

Entitlement is "the feeling that you are owed something without necessarily putting in effort to attain it," study author Ed O'Brien, a graduate student in the psychology department, said in a university news release.

For example, a student may feel he deserves an "A" on a test regardless of whether he studied for it, or an employee may expect extra vacation days regardless of whether she worked overtime or not.

O'Brien said the belief that a dull task is a waste of time could affect time-related interpersonal tasks that some might consider dull, such as recycling, volunteering or driving. It could also influence how much a person is willing to commit to time in a relationship.

In the study, researchers did a series of experiments that measured people's sense of entitlement and their perception of time.

In one, for example, participants were asked to fill out a survey about their mundane, daily activities. Those with a greater sense of entitlement perceived that the survey took longer to fill out than others, and also considered it a greater waste of their time.

The study appears in the October issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on personality disorders, some of which have a sense of entitlement as one symptom.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, news release, Sept. 30, 2011

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