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Science behind the bore feeling?

  1. Feb 9, 2012 #1
    Are there any biological/evolutionary reasons for human to need the feeling of being bored?
    What would happen if one cannot get bored?
    Would a cat/dog/ant/fly also get bored?
    Are there medicine that changes bore feeling?
    Just some wild questions since i am getting bored :D

    Dictionary says the definition of bored is something like "uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence". What decipline of psychology/biology should I look into if I want more information?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2012 #2
    The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Ellen Parr
  4. Feb 9, 2012 #3
    ah, i like the idea and how this quote sounds. :D
    BTW, is it possible to get someone to be curious on something which is boring? ... it would be very good if i have a theory to control the amount of curiosity in my mind and the "direction" of this curiosity :D
  5. Feb 25, 2012 #4


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    Sensitization/desensitization can change boredom levels with respect to a particular stimulus.
  6. Feb 25, 2012 #5
    When cats get bored, they go looking for amusement. Ours invent games such as unplugging USB & LAN cables...

    ( At least this Browser_PC's XP doesn't mind hot-plugging USB devices: My old '98 CAD-Tower_PC needed rebooting... ;- )
  7. Mar 15, 2012 #6
    Both biological and evolutionary reasons are there for existence of boredom. When the level of certain activities, be it physical or mental, goes below certain point, you feel bored. It happens when neural activity in certain circuits is less intense. Boredom occurs when those specific parts of the brain are "idle". Of course, this is very simplified.

    The reason for boredom is that it calls for action. It makes you experience pleasant feelings when you go from boredom to action. This helps kittens to develop their motor skills, hunting abilities, mental abilities etc. In an adult cat it helps the cat to maintain its fitness, motor skills, alertness and a huge variety of other benefits that the cat gets when it plays.

    The same thing is for people too. A person who doesn't get bored (when idle) may just lie there for as long as he thinks there is nothing to do. Such a person would be in a disadvantage compared to a person who would start working on something, or maybe just run in circles, learn a new skill or acquire knowledge.

    For this reason boredom is very important for evolutionary reasons too. In the case of hostile environment, scarce food resources, changing seasons and unexpected weather hazards the level and kind of boredom, for example mental boredom, physical boredom, plays a huge role in surviving.
  8. Mar 15, 2012 #7


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    This dictionary definition highlights that this is about an optimisation between familiarity and novelty. So you are having fun when the world is offering learning experiences, but not overloading you with new stuff. And you get bored when stuff is over-learned and lacks challenge.

    So in terms of psychological theory, you have the old arousal curve literature - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yerkes–Dodson_law

    Or in today's neuroscience, you could frame this within the Bayesian brain approach to neural architecture - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayesian_brain

    So between the boredom of too much familiarity and the stress of too much novelty, you have the happy balance of feeling engaged. The level of challenge is optimal.
  9. Mar 15, 2012 #8
    I would say that boredom is more multidimensional matter that just learning. It plays a vital role in many developmental and survival challenges an animal faces.
  10. Mar 26, 2012 #9
    Surely being bored is a problem that only fully conscious animals have. i.e only humans. Humans still haven't been able to explain and therefore satisfy their need to know the reason for their existence on this planet. Boredom came into play when we became conscious species.
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