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.

We appreciate your interest in our research and ask that you consider participating in it. If you decide to volunteer, you can fill out as many of our questionnaires as you wish — although completing them all is, of course, the most helpful and most of them require less than a few minutes to complete. For some questionnaires you may be asked to answer general background questions (for example, your age) but you can choose not to answer these questions if you wish, and you can withdraw your participation at any time by simply not submitting your responses or leaving the Oops! website entirely.  There are no known or anticipated risks from participating in our research.

It is important for you to know that our commitment to research ethics ensures any information you provide will be confidential. All of the data will be summarized and no individual could be identified from these summarized results. Furthermore, the web site is programmed to collect responses on the questionnaires alone; we do not collect any information that could potentially identify you (such as machine identifiers). For additional information on how we keep your data safe, please see our Confidentiality Statement.

Our research has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through the Office of Research Ethics at the University of Waterloo. Should you have any questions about our research, or would like to receive a copy of the results of our research please contact us. If you have any concerns resulting from your participation in our research, please feel free to contact Dr. Maureen Nummelin, Director, Office of Research Ethics, at 1-519-888-4567 x 36005, maureen.nummelin@uwaterloo.ca. For more information on how we keep your identity safe, please review our confidentiality statement.


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As with all research conducted at the University of Waterloo, we take care to ensure your confidentiality and the safety of your data. To view our confidentiality statement, click here.



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.