On boredom: Lack of challenge and meaning as distinct boredom experiences
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- van Tilburg, W.A.P. & Igou, E.R. Motiv Emot (2012) 36: 181. doi:10.1007/s11031-011-9234-9
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Boredom is a common experience that affects people on multiple levels, including their thoughts, feelings, motivations, and actions. Not much research, however, has examined what makes the experience of boredom distinct from other affective experiences. Based on earlier research on boredom and our meaning-regulation framework, we conducted a series of four studies that demonstrate the distinct experiential content of boredom. More than other negative affective experiences (sadness, anger, and frustration), boredom makes people feel unchallenged while they think that the situation and their actions are meaningless (Study 1). The distinct experiential content of boredom is associated with boredom proneness (Study 2) and with state boredom experiences (Study 3). In addition, the distinct experiential content of boredom is affected by contextual features (Study 4). This series of studies provides a systematic understanding of what people feel, think, and want to do when bored, distinctive from other negative experiences.