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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Boredom a sickness or a creative tool?

"In experiments in the 1970s, psychiatrists showed that participants completing word-association tasks quickly tired of the job once obvious answers were given; granted more time, they began trying much more creative solutions"

"In a recent paper in The Cambridge Journal of Education, Teresa Belton and Esther Priyadharshini of East Anglia University in England reviewed decades of research and theory on boredom, and concluded that it’s time that boredom “be recognized as a legitimate human emotion that can be central to learning and creativity.”

clipped from

You’re Checked Out, but Your Brain Is Tuned In

Scientists know plenty about boredom, too, though more as a result of poring through thickets of meaningless data than from studying the mental state itself. Much of the research on the topic has focused on the bad company it tends to keep, from depression and overeating to smoking and drug use.

Yet boredom is more than a mere flagging of interest or a precursor to mischief.
Some experts say that people tune things out for good reasons, and that over
time boredom becomes a tool for sorting information — an increasingly sensitive
spam filter.
it is far from a passive neural shrug. Using brain-imaging technology,
neuroscientists have found that the brain is highly active when disengaged,
consuming only about 5 percent less energy in its resting “default state” than
when involved in routine tasks
as if the boredom “had the power to exert pressure on individuals to stretch
their inventive capacity,”
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