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Boredom as an Adaptation

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Adaptation; Creativity; Evolutionary mismatch; Innovation; Learning; Play


Boredom is an affective state, typically unpleasant and characterized by scarce stimulation and concentration in the current situation or activity that may have evolved to motivate bored individuals to pursue more desirable states of being.


Boredom is an affective state that involves low arousal, disinterest in the present setting, and feelings of dissatisfaction. Bored individuals may also feel that time passes more slowly (Fisher 1993). Physical signs of boredom in an individual typically include leaning the head back, yawning, and decreased motor activity (Park et al. 2019). Most people typically perceive the experience of boredom as displeasurable and would prefer to avoid it if possible. For instance, Wilson et al. (2014) found through 11 studies that many people preferred receiving electric shocks rather than being left alone with nothing to do. Yet, the ubiquity of boredom...

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Correspondence to Jose C. Yong .

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Aziz, I.A.S.B., Yong, J.C. (2019). Boredom as an Adaptation. In: Shackelford, T., Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-16999-6

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Chapter History

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    Boredom as an Adaptation
    26 July 2019


  2. Original

    Boredom as an Adaptation
    16 May 2019