Are you jaded? Filled with ennui? A so-called millennial who keeps being told to stop asking for handouts? Then oh boy, do I have a fun game for you — let's figure out what kind of apathy you have!
Image: Getty Images
While scientists observe apathy or a "reduction in motivation" as a symptom of some brain disorders, they don't have a metric for measuring it in healthy people. A team of scientists from the University College London and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom plan to solve that problem with the perfect tool for us lazies: An Apathy-Motivation Index (AMI). The researchers divided apathy up into three different flavours: Behavioural, social and emotional.
The team based their AMI on the Lille Apathy Rating Scale, used for measuring apathy as a symptom of Parkinson's. Participants filled out a 51-question questionnaire, ranking each question on a scale of zero to four. After some data analysis, the researchers whittled the questionnaire down to 18 items, and assigned each question to one of three categories: "Behavioural activation", "social motivation" and "emotional sensitivity".
Behavioural activation refers to your ability to accomplish some goal on your own, without a reminder. Social motivation means taking part in social interactions, for instance, initiating a conversation. Finally, emotional sensitivity means expressing "feelings of positive and negative affection," according to the study published in the journal PLoS ONE today.
The researchers also compared their scale to other existing depression or fatigue scales. More behavioural and social apathy (meaning less behavioural activation and social motivation) correlated with higher depression scores, but those with more emotional apathy (less emotional sensitivity) tended to receive lower depression scores.
The new apathy scale joins the many other metrics that exist to measure the behaviour of healthy individuals. Of course, if you actually think you're suffering from a clinical disorder, you should go ahead and talk to your doctor, not sit here and take a quiz you found on a blog.
But come on, let's get to the fun part — calculating our own apathy scores!
Below are the 18 questions divided into three sections. For each question, give yourself a score between zero and four, where zero is "completely true", one is "quite true", two is "neither true or untrue", three is "mostly untrue" and four is "completely untrue". Take your average for each section to get a score for each apathy subscale — the higher your score, the more apathetic you are. Compete with your friends! Or don't, I don't really care.
- I feel sad or upset when I hear bad news.
- After making a decision, I will wonder if I have made the wrong choice.
- Based on the last two weeks, I would say I care deeply about how my loved ones think of me.
- I feel awful if I say something insensitive.
- I feel bad when I hear an acquaintance has an accident or illness.
- If I realise I have been unpleasant to someone, I will feel terribly guilty afterwards.
- I start conversations with random people.
- I enjoy doing things with people I have just met.
- I suggest activities for me and my friends to do.
- I go out with friends on a weekly basis.
- I start conversations without being prompted.
- I enjoy choosing what to do from a range of activities.
- I make decisions firmly and without hesitation.
- When I decide to do something, I am able to make an effort easily.
- When I have something I need to do, I do it straightaway so it is out of the way.
- I get things done when they need to be done, without requiring reminders from others.
- When I decide to do something, I am motivated to see it through to the end.
- I don't like to laze around.