This isn’t just me speaking from personal experience–the data confirm it. The GSS asked respondents in 1982 and again in 2004 how often they have time on their hands that they don’t know what to do with. Using the familiar categorization method employed here before*, the following table shows the percentage of each group’s members who reported to “almost never” be without something worthwhile to do in their free time:
He presented his data in tabular format. I decided to use the variables he kindly provided and produce some charts. Below are the frequency bored from lowest WORDSUM score, 0, to highest, 10. 0 meaning 0 out of 10 words correct on a vocabulary test, and 10 meaning 10 out of 10 correct. I also checked degree attainment. For those who have a hard time making out the legend, the darker the shading, the more bored the class.
I think part of the issue is gene-environmental correlation. As you grow up you tend to select your social environment, and the duller you are, the more dulls you surround yourself with. And of course the inverse is true as well.
Of course one wonders about the role of socialization here. I’ve noticed that on many issues once you control for educational attainment, differences in intelligence are marginalized. In other words, people believe Y more because they are socialized in environment X, and Z is correlated with environment X. Unfortunately the sample sizes are pretty small, but in a few educational categories they’re not bad. I recoded the WORDSUM so that 0-3 = “Dumb”, 4-8 “Average” and 9-10 “Smart.” For those with completed secondary educations (high school), the N’s were 92, 859 and 105. Here’s the chart:
As you can see, among those with high school educations as the highest level of attainment, the smart are less bored. Some of these differences are strong enough that the 95% confidence intervals don’t always overlap. The only other category with N’s of any size are those with bachelors degrees who are average or smart. Here’s the chart:
There is generally overlap across the 95th intervals, but it’s a close thing in some cases. Looking at previous data I’d expected that education would eliminate the effect, but I’d hazard to guess now that there’s something here that can be validated by larger sample sizes. I don’t know if intelligent people are happier, but they are probably less bored.