In this regular series, University of Waterloo Professors present their research in medically relevant areas to practicing clinicians from Grand River Hospital
About this Event
The February 2021 session hosts Professor James Danckert and his work on boredom.
We often think of boredom as a trivial experience – part of the furniture of life. But boredom serves a functional role in our lives, one that is anything but trivial. As Tolstoy put it, boredom is “the desire for desires”. Boredom signals the need to act, to find something worth doing. When we’re bored we are in the midst of a kind of conundrum – wanting something meaningful to engage with but not wanting to do any of the options currently available to us. Being prone to the experience of boredom – feeling the state more frequently and intensely than others – is associated with a swathe of negative outcomes, from higher rates of depression and anxiety, to increased drug and alcohol use. Our lab explores boredom and boredom proneness from cognitive, genetic and neural standpoints. I will present work showing that boredom proneness is associated with poor self-control and self-regulation. So while in-the-moment feelings of boredom represent a call to action, failures to adaptively respond to that call can have serious consequences for our lives.