Study discovers the upside of boredom

Photo credit: wajakemek rashdanothman (Creative Commons) Study discovers the upside of boredomCognition

Boredom can make us more creative. That is the conclusion of one of the experts interviewed in a feature on the condition by Ella Rhodes in the April issue of The Psychologist.

Dr Sandi Mann from the University of Central Lancashire has researched the suppression of emotions, including boredom, at work. In one experiment she found participants who had been asked to complete a boring writing task were more creative afterwards than a control group who had done more interesting work.

Dr Mann believes it is important for children to be bored. “Unlike so many parents today, I am quite happy when my kids whine that they are bored. Finding ways to amuse themselves is an important skill.”

However, there are ways that boredom may not be good for us. Dr Mann also found that people eat chocolate when they are bored at work – “Not a surprising finding, but the extent to which boredom is propping up the confectionery industry is staggering.”

Elsewhere in this issue of The Psychologist, which is the monthly magazine of the British Psychological Society, Dr Jonathan Rosier argues that psychology and neuroscience have much to learn from each other. He says: “’mindless’ neuroscience and ‘brainless’ psychology are both incomplete explanatory frameworks.”

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