Boredom proneness has been linked to various forms of cognitive and affective dysregulation including poor self-control and mind-wandering, as well as depression and aggression. As such, understanding boredom and the associated cognitive and affective components of the experience, represents an important first step in combatting the consequences of boredom for psychological well-being. We surveyed 1928 undergraduate students on measures of boredom proneness, self-control, MW, depression and aggression to investigate how these constructs were related. Hierarchical regression analysis indicated that self-control operated (...) as a strong negative predictor of boredom proneness. Finally, when controlling for age and self-control, we observed large decreases in the magnitudes of the relationships between boredom proneness and our other measures of interest. Together, these results imply a strong relationship between boredom proneness and cognitive and affective dysregulation, and show that individual levels of self-control can account for the lion’s share of variance in the relationships between boredom, cognition, and affect. (shrink)
Conditions of low and high perceived control often lead to boredom, albeit for different reasons. Whereas, high perceived control may be experienced as boring because the situation lacks challenge, low perceived control may be experienced as boring because the situation precludes effective engagement. In two experiments we test this proposed quadratic relationship. In the first experiment we had participants play different versions of the children's game “rock-paper-scissors” in which they arbitrarily won or lost. Despite having only dichotomous conditions, participants reported (...) experiencing a broad range of levels of perceived control. Consistent with our predictions, boredom was highest at low and high levels of perceived control. Experiment 2 tested the notion that the mere prospect of gaining control may mitigate boredom. Participants given to believe that they could gain control over the game of rock, paper, scissors were less bored than those who believed there was no possibility of winning at greater than chance levels. This suggests that beliefs concerning prospective control, rather than a given level of perceived control per se, may predict engagement and boredom. (shrink)
Self-control is critical for successful participation and performance in sports and therefore has attracted considerable research interest. Yet, knowledge about self-control remains surprisingly incomplete and inconsistent. Here, we draw attention to boredom as an experience that likely plays an important role in sports and exercise (e.g., exercise can be perceived as boring but can also be used to alleviate boredom). Specifically, we argue that studying boredom in the context of sports and exercise will also advance our understanding of self-control as (...) a reward-based choice. We demonstrate this by discussing evidence for links between self-control and boredom and by highlighting the role boredom plays for guiding goal-directed behavior. As such, boredom is likely to interact with self-control in affecting sports performance and exercise participation. We close by highlighting several promising routes for integrating self-control and boredom research in the context of sports performance and exercise behavior. (shrink)
Boredom has been characterized as a crisis of meaning, a failure of attention, and a call to action. Yet as a self-regulatory signal writ-large, we are still left with the question of what makes any given boredom episode meaningless, disengaging, or a prompt to act. We propose that boredom is an affective signal that we have deviated from an optimal (‘Goldilocks’) zone of cognitive engagement. Such deviations may be due to a perceived lack of meaning, arise as a consequence of (...) struggles we are experiencing in attending to a task, or be interpreted as a blunt call to find something different to engage with. Thus, the key to understanding boredom lies in its role in keeping us cognitively engaged. -/- . (shrink)
To explore how model building adapts to changing environments, we had participants play “rock-paper-scissors” against a computer that played a frequency bias or a player-dependent bias and then switched. Participants demonstrated their use of prior experience in how quickly they recognized and exploited changes in the computer's play strategy; in general, the more similar the strategies, the more efficient the updating. These findings inform our understanding of previously reported updating impairments in right-brain damaged patients.
Media multitasking entails simultaneously engaging in multiple tasks when at least one of the tasks involves media. Across two studies, we investigated one potential trigger of media multitasking, state boredom, and its relation to media multitasking. To this end, we manipulated participants’ levels of state boredom using video mood inductions prior to administering an attention-demanding 2-back task during which participants could media multitask by playing a task-irrelevant video. We also examined whether trait boredom proneness was associated media multitasking. We found (...) no direct evidence that state boredom leads to media multitasking. However, trait boredom proneness correlated with greater amounts of media multitasking in Experiment 1, but not in Experiment 2. Surprisingly, in both experiments, post-task ratings of state boredom were equivalent across conditions, alerting us to the short-lived effects of video mood inductions and the boring nature of cognitive tasks. (shrink)