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Dudley Dowell
boredom
Wed, Dec 31, 2014 - 12:00 AM

What is boredom?


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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About Bo Bennett, PhD

I am the host of this show :) For my complete bio, please see http://www.bobennett.com.
PrintWed, Dec 31, 2014 - 12:00 AM
Vodanovich (2003) did a wonderful job answering this question by looking at 25 years of research on boredom, including the many scales that are supposed to measure it. They concluded that how the researchers defined boredom in most cases (operational definition) was quite different. There is chronic, pathological, agitated, and apathetic boredom—all describing different constructs. So what is clear, is that there is no clear definition—at least not psychologically.

My take on boredom—it is an affective state, like all affective states, that is integrated with cognitive processes. It makes sense from an evolutionary perspective within a motivational framework as one end of the motivational spectrum—a state in which little is accomplished and where our reproductive success is at risk. Homeostasis suggests that in order to restore us to a more productive state, boredom will be associated with a negative feeling.

References
Vodanovich, S. J. (2003). Psychometric Measures of Boredom: A Review of the Literature. The Journal of Psychology, 137(6), 569–595. doi:10.1080/00223980309600636

Bo Bennett, PhD
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