- Most people blame boredom on the circumstances, but psychologists say this emotion is highly subjective and rooted in aspects of consciousness—and that levels of boredom vary among people. Some individuals are less—and others considerably more—likely to be bored than others.
- Boredom is not a unified concept but may comprise several varieties, including the transient type that occurs while waiting in line and so-called existential boredom that accompanies a profound dissatisfaction with life.
- Boredom is linked to both emotional factors and personality traits. Problems with attention also play a role, and thus techniques that improve a person’s ability to focus may diminish boredom.
In a quiet, darkened lecture room, you begin a frustrating fight against fatigue. The overhead projector hums, and you cannot concentrate on the slides. You stop absorbing information and doodle mindlessly. The professor lost you eons ago. You are bored.
Virtually everyone gets bored once in a while. Most of us chalk it up to a dull environment. “The most common way to define boredom in Western culture is ‘having nothing to do,’ ” says psychologist Stephen Vodanovich of the University of West Florida. And indeed, early research into the effects of boredom focused on people forced to perform monotonous tasks, such as working a factory assembly line.
This article was originally published with the title Bored?.