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Exp Brain Res. 2014 Feb;232(2):481-91. doi: 10.1007/s00221-013-3755-2. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Characterizing the psychophysiological signature of boredom.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1, Canada.

Abstract

Research on the experience and expression of boredom is underdeveloped. The purpose of the present study was to explore the psychophysiological signature of the subjective experience of boredom. Healthy undergraduates (n = 72) viewed previously validated and standardized video clips to induce boredom, sadness, and a neutral affective state, while their heart rate (HR), skin conductance levels (SCL), and cortisol levels were measured. Boredom yielded dynamic psychophysiological responses that differed from the other emotional states. Of particular interest, the physiological signature of boredom relative to sadness was characterized by rising HR, decreased SCL, and increased cortisol levels. This pattern of results suggests that boredom may be associated with both increased arousal and difficulties with sustained attention. These findings may help to resolve divergent conceptualizations of boredom in the extant literature and, ultimately, to enhance our understanding and treatment of clinical syndromes in which self-reported boredom is a prominent symptom.

PMID:
24202238
DOI:
10.1007/s00221-013-3755-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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