The Anatomy Of Boredom

Written By Nadia Yadallee


Do you ever feel unsatisfied in class? Ever feel de-motivated? Ever feel like you're really trying to listen to someone, but you just can't? Yeah? Well that feeling is boredom. Boredom is an emotion characterised by an individual's perception of their environment as being uninteresting and bland. It happens when you're disinterested in both the outside world and your own mind. In a learning environment, boredom can occur when someone has a lack of understanding towards a subject - or when a student knows too much about a subject. But is boredom a bad thing? Neuroscientists tested brain functionality during periods of boredom and found the brain to be highly active, with only 5% of energy lost. This small reduction in energy effects the individual's perception of time; seconds seem to go by slower than usual. Examples of high activity in the brain during boredom result in an individual’s participation in creative tasks, such as doodling, making paper aeroplanes or daydreaming. Boredom, what you feel when you're waiting in line, or waiting to respawn in a game, is neither a mood or a disorder. It's an emotion. Robert Plutchik devised a chart entitled 'the wheel of emotion' categorizing emotions in terms of intensity. According to Plutchik’s chart, boredom is a light form of disgust. Jean Paul Sartres says 'Emotion's are there to help us react to, register and regulate our response to stimulus from our environment. Boredom therefore can be a kind of warning system' Psychiatrists from the 1970's studying the effect of boredom on human behaviour, found participants in their trials in fact demonstrated higher levels of activity and enhanced creative thinking when bored. Boredom is a sign of a healthy mind, so next time you're bored, be proud of it, embrace it and let it trigger creative thinking.

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