In a Constantly Plugged-In World, It’s Not All Bad to Be Bored

The New York Times:

I spent five unexpected hours in an airport this Thanksgiving holiday when our plane had mechanical difficulties and we had to wait for another plane to arrive. So I had plenty of time to think about the subject of boredom.

I won’t lie to you. Half a day in an airport waiting for a flight is pretty tedious, even with the distractions of books, magazines and iPhones (not to mention duty-free shopping).

But increasingly, some academics and child development experts are coming out in praise of boredom.

Sometimes we think we’re bored when we just have difficulty concentrating. In their study, “The Unengaged Mind: Defining Boredom in Terms of Attention,” which appeared in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science in September, Professor Eastwood and his colleagues pointed to an earlier experiment in which participants listened to a tape of a person reading a magazine article.

Some groups heard a loud and unrelated television program in the next room, others heard it at a low level so it was barely noticeable, while the third group didn’t hear the soundtrack at all.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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