Why do we get bored? Professor weighs in

bored student
It might not be your fault that you’re bored.
Credit: Colourbox

You might think it’s your fault you’re dozing off in a classroom or office, but that’s not always the case. There are clear categories of boredom triggered by environment, says pioneering researcher Dr. Thomas Goetz from the University of Konstanz in Germany.

The types:

Indifferent boredom: A relaxing, possibly positive type – “a general indifference to, and withdrawal from, the external world”

Calibrating boredom: Wandering thoughts – “general openness to behaviors aimed at changing the situation”

Searching boredom: “Actively seeking out specific ways of minimizing feelings of boredom”

Reactant boredom: Causes sufferers “to leave the boredom-inducing situation and avoid those responsible for this situation (e.g., teachers).”

Apathetic boredom: Impossible to break from this mode – “dangerous, similar to depression”

Metro World News: What is the most common misconception about boredom?

Goetz: It’s important to recognize the different types, and clearly define the differences.

You say apathetic boredom is the worst – how bad can it get?

The problem is that it makes every experience negative and the potential for arousal is low. People cannot do anything against this state and it can become a big problem related to depression.

What puts us at risk?

Some people tend to a specific state but only to a small degree, each experience is based on situations. It’s important that people recognize the forms. Often the problem is a lack of freedom, such as at school because there is no relief. Teachers should be aware and try to find individualized methods that give students choice.

Is there a risk that teaching boredom could cause more boredom?

There is an argument from anxiety research that awareness increases the problem, but in this case it is about knowing and realizing, and this goes hand in hand with resolving it.

What follow-up research is needed?

We didn’t measure the effects, which future studies should test. We need diagnostic instruments to show the experiences of boredom.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…