Leary et al. have defined boredom as “an affective experience associated with cognitive attentional processes” (Leary, Rogers, Canfield, & Coe, 1986). What this means is that boredom primarily arises not so much from a lack of things to do, as one might expect, but due to one’s inability to latch onto any specific activity. Quite simply, nothing engages us — despite an often profound desire for engagement.
Our own research on boredom has highlighted the potentially strong influence of attention and memory deficits on boredom proneness and that it in turn may even lead to depression (Carriere, Cheyne, & Smilek, 2008). However, additional research is still necessary to discover how seemingly mundane problems like inattentiveness can have such broad affective consequences, and how the two may interact.
Our research studies the nature of everyday attention and memory failures and how they impact our daily lives. All our research is being conducted under the supervision of Dr. Dan Smilek, Department of Psychology of the University of Waterloo, Canada. If you would like to help our research by completing our questionnaires, simply click Complete Our Questionnaires below.
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Leary, M. R., Rogers, P. A., Canfield, R. W., & Coe, C. (1986). Boredom in interpersonal encounters: Antecedents and social implications. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 968–975, p. 968.
Carriere, J. S. A., Cheyne, J. A., & Smilek, D. (2008). Everyday attention lapses and memory failures: The affective consequences of mindlessness. Consciousness and Cognition, 17, 835-847, doi:10.1016/j.concog.2007.04.008.