Study Finds Boredom is Behavioural, Not Emotional

The BPS’s Research Digest recently featured an article which suggests that proneness to feeling bored is not a personality trait, but rather is linked to behaviour. The article references a research report, published in the journal Emotion, that assessed 4,000 American participants using an iPhone app. Information relating to their mood was collated, and boredom was among the emotions reported. Interestingly, boredom was commonly linked with sadness and loneliness, and was seldom reported as a lone emotion.

From this, the researchers have concluded that boredom is a result of poor time management. The article explains:

“30 per cent of the difference in boredom levels between men and women was accounted for by how much time they spent doing what turned out to be less boring activities – sports, exercise, personal grooming, time with friends and family – versus activities where boredom rates were higher, like study, working, and interacting with strangers.”

This has implications for student life. It goes without saying that boredom leads to procrastination, which leads to both a negative mind set and poorer academic performance. Therefore, this may challenge the idea that some people are predisposed to get bored easily (indeed, I know I am guilty of branding myself as a serial boredom-blamer). Therefore, this may suggest that – as the article notes – choosing to engage in activities that are stimulating and engaging can combat this cycle. For example, the SU provides a host of activities available to students.

Find the full Research Digest report here.