Boredom is the unfulfilled desire for satisfying activity. It’s an unpleasant state that involves difficulty focusing our attention, a sense that time is passing slowly, and feeling tired and lethargic or irritable and restless. Boredom occurs when we can’t become engaged with our inner thoughts or the external world: we are disconnected. Given thatattention is the cognitive mechanism that controls the focus of our engagement, it could be said that boredom involves a failure of attention. The explanations we give as to why we’re disconnected are also important. For example, when bored we might explain our predicament by blaming the external world [...]
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Research into the causes of boredom is still in its infancy. At present, we know that certain personality characteristics—involving cognitive, emotional, and motivational factors—are associated with the tendency to experience boredom. In terms of cognitive factors, we know that individuals with chronic problems regulating and controlling attention—–the kind of problems seen in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)—are more likely to experience boredom. In terms of emotional factors, we know that individuals who have an impoverished imagination, a lack of life meaning or purpose, and problems understanding their emotions, are more prone to experience boredom, likely because they are not able to identify what [...]
Boredom has been associated with a wide range of psychological and social problems, including problem gambling, drug and alcohol addiction, disordered eating, anger, aggression, depression, anxiety, health problems, work place errors, and lost productivity. Boredom has even been associated with suicide and death. But is boredom really the cause of these problems, or does it simply accompany them? Our understanding of exactly how boredom relates to these serious issues has been limited by a lack of high quality research. However, based on the best available psychological studies, there is some evidence that being bored can lead to the following consequences: Poor [...]