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Abstract

In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.
DOI: 10.1126/science.1250830
, 75 (2014);345 Science
et al.Timothy D. Wilson
Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind
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Text
or by postsynthesis treatments (28,29). By con-
trast, separations such as H
2
/C
3
H
8
that involve a
fast-permeating species are not appreciably af-
fected by membrane defects. IMMP is also in-
herently a modular and parallel approach that
should allow independent and simultaneous pro-
cessing of membranes in multiple fibers. To test
this hypothesis, we applied IMMP to the simulta-
neous processing of three hollow fibers. The total
bore flow rate was increased by a factor of 3 so
that the flow rate through individual fibers was
maintained. The ends of the module were capped
with PDMS, as described earlier. Figure 3, C and
D, shows that the H
2
/C
3
H
8
and C
3
H
6
/C
3
H
8
sep-
aration behavior is essentially identical to the
single-fiber case, demonstrating the potential for
scalability of IMMP. Given the overall importance
of tunable ZIF materials for a range of hydro-
carbon and light-gas separations, the membrane-
processing approach reported here overcomes
many limitations of current processes and is a
notable step toward realizing scalable molecular
sieving MOF membranes.
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ACKNOWL EDGME NTS
This work was supported by Phillips 66 Company. S.N., A.J.B.,
and C.W.J. conceived the research. A.J.B. and N.A.B. designed
the synthesis reactor. Hollow-fiber fabrication was carried out
by J.R.J. and W.J.K. Membrane synthesis, characterization, and
permeation measurements were carried out by A.J.B., K.E., and
F.R. Permeation modeling was carried out by S.N. and A.J.B.
All authors contributed to manuscript writing and editing. We thank
W. Qiu, R. P. Lively, and A. Rownaghi (all at Georgia Institute of
Technology) for helpful discussions. The Supplementary Materials
includes a detailed description of materials and methods, details
of the IMMP reactor, time-dependent flow profiles and synthesis
cases, SEM images of ZIF-8 membranes, XRD patterns of
membranes, schematics of permeation apparatus and gas bypass
effects, EDX mapping of the ZIF-8 membrane, permeation
modeling equations, and gas permeation data. A patent application
related to this work has been filed [U.S. patent application
61/820,489, filed 7 May 2013; S. Nair et al., Flow processing
and characterization of metal-organic framework (MOF)
membranes in tubular and hollow fiber modules].
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS
www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6192/72/suppl/DC1
Materials and Methods
Supplementary Text
Figs. S1 to S11
Tables S1 to S4
22 January 2014; accepted 19 May 2014
10.1126/science.1251181
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
Just think: The challenges of the
disengaged mind
Timothy D. Wilson,
1
*David A. Reinhard,
1
Erin C. Westgate,
1
Daniel T. Gilbert,
2
Nicole Ellerbeck,
1
Cheryl Hahn,
1
Casey L. Brown,
1
Adi Shaked
1
In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in
a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane
external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to
themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to
be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.
The mind is its own place, and in it self/
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
The ability to engage in directed conscious
thought is an integral partperhaps even
adefiningpartof what makes us human.
Unique among the species, we have the abil-
ity to sit and mentally detach ourselves from
our surroundings and travel inward, recalling
the past, envisioning the future, and imagining
worlds that have never existed. Neural activity
during such inward-directed thought, called
default-mode processing, has been the focus of a
great deal of attention in recent years, and re-
searchers have speculated about its possible
functions (15). Two related questions, how-
ever, have been overlooked: Do people choose to
put themselves in default mode by disengaging
from the external world? And when they are in
this mode, is it a pleasing experience?
Recent survey results suggest that the answer
to the first question is not very often.Ninety-
five percent of American adults reported that
they did at least one leisure activity in the past
24 hours, such as watching television, socializ-
ing, or reading for pleasure, but 83% reported
they spent no time whatsoever relaxing or think-
ing(6). Is this because people do not enjoy having
nothing to do but think?
Almost all previous research on daydream-
ing and mind wandering has focused on task-
unrelated thought, namely cases in which people
are trying to attend to an external task (such as
reading a book), but their minds wander invol-
untarily (7,8). In such cases, people tend to be
happier when their minds are engaged in what
they are doing, instead of having wandered away
(9,10). A case could be made that it is easier for
people to steer their thoughts in pleasant direc-
tions when the external world is not competing
for their attention. We suggest, to the contrary,
that it is surprisingly difficult to think in enjoy-
able ways even in the absence of competing ex-
ternal demands.
To address these questions, we conducted
studies in which college-student participants
spent time by themselves in an unadorned room
(for 6 to 15 min, depending on the study) after
storing all of their belongings, including cell
phones and writing implements. They were typ-
ically asked to spend the time entertaining them-
selves with their thoughts, with the only rules
being that they should remain in their seats and
stay awake. After this thinking period,partic-
ipants answered questions about how enjoyable
the experience was, how hard it was to concen-
trate, etc.
Table 1 summarizes the results of six studies
that followed this procedure. Most participants
reported that it was difficult to concentrate
(57.5% responded at or above the midpoint of
the point scale) and that their mind wandered
(89.0% responded at or above the midpoint of
the scale), even though there was nothing com-
peting for their attention. And on average, par-
ticipants did not enjoy the experience very much:
49.3% reported enjoyment that was at or below
the midpoint of the scale.
SCIENCE sciencemag.org 4JULY2014VOL 345 ISSUE 6192 75
1
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia,
Charlottesville, VA, USA.
2
Department of Psychology,
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.
*Corresponding author. E-mail: tdw@virginia.edu
RESEARCH |REPORTS
Perhaps the unfamiliar environs of the psy-
chological laboratory made it difficult for people
to become lost in and enjoy their thoughts. In
study 7, we instructed college-student participants
to complete the study at home, by clicking on a
link to a Web program when they were alone
and free of external distractions. Many partic-
ipants found it difficult to follow these instruc-
tions: 32% reported that they had cheatedby
engaging in an external activity (such as listen-
ing to music or consulting their cell phones) or
getting up out of their chair. Furthermore, there
was no evidence that participants enjoyed the
experience more when they were in the privacy
of their homes. The mean reported enjoyment was
lower when they were at home than when they
were in the laboratory [t(188) = 2.47, P=0.014],
and participants reported that it was harder to
concentrate on their thoughts when they were at
home [t(188) = 2.87, P=0.005](Table1).These
differences must be interpreted with caution, be-
cause we did not randomly assign participants to a
location, but they suggest that just thinking is no
easier at home than it is in the laboratory.
Would participants enjoy themselves more
if they had something to do? In study 8, we
randomly assigned participants to entertain
themselves with their own thoughts or to en-
gage in external activities (such as reading a
book, listening to music, or surfing the Web).
We asked the latter participants not to commu-
nicate with others (e.g., via texting or emailing),
so that we could compare nonsocial external ac-
tivities (such as reading) with a nonsocial internal
activity (thinking). As seen in Table 1, participants
enjoyed the external activities much more than
just thinking [t(28) = 4.83, P< 0.001], found it
easier to concentrate [t(28) = 4.16, P<0.001],
and reported that their minds wandered less
[t(28) = 3.61, P= 0.001].
To see whether the difficulty with just think-
ingis distinctiv e to college s tudents, in study
9 we recruited community participants at a
farmers market and a local church. The par-
ticipants ranged in age from 18 to 77 (median
age = 48.0 years). As in study 7, they completed
the study online in their own homes, after re-
ceiving instructions to do so when they were
alone and free of any external distractions. The
results were similar to those found with college
students. There was no evidence that enjoyment
of the thinking period was related to partici-
pantsage, education, income, or the frequency
with which they used smart phones or social
media (table S2).
There was variation in enjoyment in our
studies, and we included several individual dif-
ference measures to investigate what sort of
person enjoys thinking the most (summarized
in table S3). The variables that consistently pre-
dicted enjoyment across studies were items from
two subscales of the Short Imaginal Process
Inventory (11). The Positive Constructive Day-
dreaming subscale (e.g., My daydreams often
leave me with a warm, happy feeling)corre-
lated positively with enjoyment, and the Poor
Attentional Control subscale (e.g., Itendtobe
easily bored)correlatednegativelywithenjoy-
ment. None of the other correlations exceeded
0.27 (table S3).
So far, we have seen that most people do not
enjoy just thinkingand clearly prefer having
something else to do. But would they rather do
an unpleasant activity than no activity at all? In
study 10, participants received the same instruc-
tions to entertain themselves with their thoughts
in the laboratory but also had the opportunity
to experience negative stimulation (an electric
shock) if they so desired. In part 1 of the study,
participants rated the pleasantness of several
positive stimuli (e.g., attractive photographs)
and negative stimuli (e.g., an electric shock). Par-
ticipants also reported how much they would
pay to experience or not experience each stim-
ulus again, if they were given $5. Next, partic-
ipants received our standard instructions to
entertain themselves with their thoughts (in this
case for 15 min). If they wanted, they learned,
they could receive an electric shock again during
the thinking period by pressing a button. We
went to some length to explain that the pri-
mary goal was to entertain themselves with
their thoughts and that the decision to receive
a shock was entirely up to them.
Many participants elected to receive nega-
tive stimulation over no stimulationespecially
men: 67% of men (12 of 18) gave themselves
at least one shock during the thinking period
[range = 0 to 4 shocks, mean (M)=1.47,SD=
1.46, not including one outlier who adminis-
tered 190 shocks to himself], compared to 25%
of women (6 of 24; range = 0 to 9 shocks, M=
1.00, SD = 2.32). Note that these results only
include participants who had reported that they
would pay to avoid being shocked again. (See
the supplementary materials for more details.)
The gender difference is probably due to the
tendency for men to be higher in sensation-
seeking (12). But what is striking is that simply
being alone with their own thoughts for 15 min
was apparently so aversive that it drove many
participants to self-administer an electric shock
that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.
Why was thinking so difficult and unpleasant?
One possibility is that when left alone with
their thoughts, participants focused on their
own shortcomings and got caught in ru-
minative thought cycles (1316). Research shows,
however, that self-focus does not invariably lead
to rumination (17), a finding that was confirmed
in our studies. At the conclusion of the thinking
period, we asked participants to describe what
they had been thinking about, and we analyzed
these reports with linguistic analysis software
(18). There was no relationship between the ex-
tent of self-focus (as assessed by the use of first-
person personal pronouns) and participants
use of positive-emotion words, negative-emotion
words, or reported enjoyment of the thinking pe-
riod correlations = 0.033, 0.025, and 0.022, re-
spectively; 218 participants, ns) (see table S4 for
other results of the linguistic analyses).
Another reason why participants might have
found thinking to be difficult is that they simul-
taneously had to be a script writerand an
experiencer;thatis,theyhadtochooseatopic
to think about (Ill focus on my upcoming sum-
mer vacation), decide what would happen
(Okay, Ive arrived at the beach, I guess Ill lie
in the sun for a bit before going for a swim), and
then mentally experience those actions. Perhaps
people would find it easier to enjoy their thoughts
if they had time to plan in advance wh at they
would think about. We tested this hypothesis in
studies 1 to 7. Participants were randomly assigned
to our standard thinking periodcondition (the
results of which are shown in Table 1) or to condi-
tions in which they first spent a few minutes
planning what they would think about. We tried
several versions of these prompted fantasyinstruc-
tions (summarized in table S1) and found that
none reliably increased participantsenjoyment
of the thinking period. Averaged across studies,
participants in the prompted fantasy conditions
reported similar levels of enjoyment as did partic-
ipants in the standard conditions [M=4.97ver-
sus 4.94 (SDs = 1.80, 1.84), t(450) = 0.15, ns].
There is no doubt that people are sometimes
absorbed by interesting ideas, exciting fantasies,
76 4JULY2014VOL 345 ISSUE 6192 sciencemag.org SCIENCE
Table 1. Reactions to the thinking periodunder different conditions.
Measure
Studies 1 to 6:
In the lab
(n=146)
Study 7:
At home
(n=44)
Study 8: At home
Standard
thought
instructions
(n=15)
External
activities
(n=15)
Enjoyment* SD
M
1.77
5.12
1.95
4.35
2.23
3.20
1.91
6.87
Hard to concentrateSD
M
2.23
5.04
1.72
6.09
2.28
6.07
2.01
2.80
Mind wanderingSD
M
1.92
6.86
1.85
7.14
1.80
6.67
2.66
3.67
*Mean of three items, each answered on nine-point scales: How enjoyable and entertaining the thinking
period was and how bored participants were (reverse-scored). Cronbachsalpha=0.89. Extent to
which participants reported that it was hard to concentrate on what they chose to think about (nine-point
scale; the higher the number, the greater the reported difficulty). Extent to which participants
reporte d that their mind wandered during t he thinking period (nine-point scale; the hig her the n umber, the
greater the reported mind-wandering).
RESEARCH |REPORTS
and pleasant daydreams (1921). Research has
shown that minds are difficult to control (8,22),
however, and it may be particularly hard to
steer our thoughts in pleasant directions and
keep them there. This may be why many people
seek to gain better control of their thoughts with
meditation and other techniques, with clear ben-
efits (2327). Without such training, people prefer
doing to thinking, eve n if what they are doing is
so unpleasant that they would normally pay to
avoid it. The untutored mind does not like to be
alone with itself.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We acknowledge the support of NSF grant SES-0951779. The data
from all studies can be accessed at https://osf.io/cgwdy/files/.
We thank J. Coan for his help with study 10 and E. Winkler, the
pastor of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, for his help in
recruiting participants for study 9.
SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS
www.sciencemag.org/content/345/6192/75/suppl/DC1
Materials and Methods
Additional Analyses across Studies
Fig. S1
Tables S1 to S4
References (2840)
14 Janua ry 2014 ; accep ted 10 Ju ne 2014
10.1126/science.1250830
CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change and wind
intensification in coastal
upwelling ecosystems
W. J. Sydeman,
1
*M. García-Reyes,
1
D. S. Schoeman,
2
R. R. Rykaczewski,
3
S. A. Thompson,
1,4
B. A. Black,
5
S. J. Bograd
6
In 1990, Andrew Bakun proposed that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations would
force intensification of upwelling-favorable winds in eastern boundary current systems
that contribute substantial services to society. Because there is considerable disagreement
about whether contemporary wind trends support Bakunshypothesis,weperformeda
meta-analysis of the literature on upwelling-favorable wind intensification. The preponderance
of published analyses suggests that winds have intensified in the California, Benguela,
and Humboldt upwelling systems and weakened in the Iberian system over time
scales ranging up to 60 years; wind change is equivocal in the Canary system. Stronger
intensification signals are observed at higher latitudes, consistent with the warming pattern
associated with climate change. Overall, reported changes in coastal winds, although subtle
and spatially variable, support Bakunshypothesisofupwellingintensificationineastern
boundary current systems.
Ineasternboundarycurrentsystems(EBCSs),
coastal upwelling fuels high productivity,
supporting vast and diverse marine popula-
tions. With a surface area of only ~2% of the
global oceans, EBCSs provide upward of 20%
of wild marine-capture fisheries (1)aswellas
essential habitat for marine biodiversity (2).
Understanding upwelling variability is also key
to assessments of marine ecosystem health, in-
fluencing factors such as ocean acidification and
deoxygenation (35). Although the ecological
relevance of upwelling is clear, the future of up-
welling under anthropogenic climate change is
not (68). In 1990, Andrew Bakun hypothesized
that global warming could result in steeper tem-
perature and sea-level pressure gradients be-
tween the oceans and the continents, causing
alongshore upwelling-favorable winds to inten-
sify (6). Although the increase in global tem-
peratures is unquestioned (7), its influence on
upwelling-favorable winds remains uncertain.
In an attempt to resolve disagreement in the
literature concerning the intensification of up-
welling winds, we conducted a preponderance
of evidencemeta-analysis on results from pre-
vious studies that tested Bakunswindintensi-
fication hypothesis. Our meta-analysis focused
on the outcome of Bakunspurportedmechanism:
upwell ing- favo rabl e wind intensification over
the past 6+ decades.
We synthesized results from 22 studies published
between 1990 and 2012, 18 of which contained
quantitative information o n wind trends. Ou r re-
sulting database contains 187 non-independent
wind trend analyses based on time series rang-
ing in duration from 17 to 61 years [tables S1 to
S3 (9)]. We tested whether the evidence from
these studies was consistent (increasing winds)
or inconsistent (weakening winds) with the Bakun
hypothesis. Bakun proposed that winds would
intensify in the upwelling or warm season; i.e.,
May to August in the Northern Hemisphere and
November to February in the Southern Hemi-
sphere. Therefore, we categorized each trend
based on the months averaged for its calculation:
warm seasonor annual(all months). Bakun
surmised that there would be latitudinal varia-
tion in wind trends and predicted that the most
substantial intensification would be in the core
of each EBCS. Therefore, to test for spatial het-
erogeneity in wind trends, we included absolute
latitude in our models (9). We compared results
from observational data and model-data re-
analysis products, because previous research has
shown different trends among these data types
(10,11).
We used logistic regression to model the con-
sistency of wind trends with the Bakun hypothesis.
Although all studies included in our analysis
undertook formal statistical analysis, they used
different analyses and stati stic al app roac hes
and also used a range of significance levels (0.01
to 0.10), many of which were reported only cat-
egorically (9). Consequently, we used a qualitative
approach (table S3) in which we down-weighted
nominally nonsignificant trends to half the weight
SCIENCE sciencemag.org 4JULY2014VOL 345 ISSUE 6192 77
1
Farallon Institute for Advanced Ecosystem Research, Suite
Q, 101 H Street, Petaluma, CA 94952, USA.
2
Faculty of
Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the
Sunshine Coast, Locked Bag 4, Maroochydore DC,
Queensland 4558, Australia.
3
Department of Biological
Sciences and Marine Science Program, University of South
Carolina, 701 Sumter Street, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.
4
Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Box
355674, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
5
Marine Science Institute,
University of Texas, 750 Channel View Drive, Port Aransas,
TX 78373, USA.
6
Environmental Research Division, National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest
Fisheries Science Center, 1352 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific
Grove, CA 93950-2097, USA.
*Corresponding author. E-mail: wsydeman@comcast.net
RESEARCH |REPORTS
... Participants received no further information (e.g., an explanation of the peer-review process). In fact, all five findings (Gervais & Norenzayan, 2012;Hauser et al., 2014;Nishi et al., 2015;Shah et al., 2012;Wilson et al., 2014) were published in the peer-reviewed journals Nature or Science. Descriptions of these findings were adapted from prior work and were proved to be comprehensible to nonscientists (Hoogeveen et al., 2020). ...
... Shah et al. (2012) Poverty drains people's attention. Wilson et al. (2014) People dislike doing nothing and prefer an engaged mind. Peer-Reviewed Article Procedure. ...
Article
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A growing number of psychological research findings are initially published as preprints. Preprints are not peer reviewed and thus did not undergo the established scientific quality-control process. Many researchers hence worry that these preprints reach nonscientists, such as practitioners, journalists, and policymakers, who might be unable to differentiate them from the peer-reviewed literature. Across five studies in Germany and the United States, we investigated whether this concern is warranted and whether this problem can be solved by providing nonscientists with a brief explanation of preprints and the peer-review process. Studies 1 and 2 showed that without an explanation, nonscientists perceive research findings published as preprints as equally credible as findings published as peer-reviewed articles. However, an explanation of the peer-review process reduces the credibility of preprints (Studies 3 and 4). In Study 5, we developed and tested a shortened version of this explanation, which we recommend adding to preprints. This explanation again allowed nonscientists to differentiate between preprints and the peer-reviewed literature. In sum, our research demonstrates that even a short explanation of the concept of preprints and their lack of peer review allows nonscientists who evaluate scientific findings to adjust their credibility perception accordingly. This would allow harvesting the benefits of preprints, such as faster and more accessible science communication, while reducing concerns about public overconfidence in the presented findings.
... In addition to trait boredom, state boredom, which refers to situationally defined influences on one's tendency to experience boredom, is a powerful motivator of behavior [6]. Being bored has for example been linked to negative behaviors, such as self-administered pain [7] or sadistic aggression [8], but also to positive responses, such as creativity [9]. ...
Article
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Sport and exercise can be boring. In the general population, thinking of sports as boring has been linked to exercising less. However, less is known about the role of boredom in people who participate in ultra-endurance competitions: Do these athletes also associate their sports with boredom , and does boredom pose a self-regulatory challenge that predicts if they encounter a crisis during an ultra-endurance competition? Here, we investigate these questions with a sample of N = 113 (n = 34 female) competitors of a 24 h hour running competition, aged M = 37.6 ± 13.8 years. In this study, n = 23 very extreme athletes competed as single starters or in a relay team of 2, and n = 84 less extreme athletes competed in relay teams of 4 or 6. Before the run, athletes completed self-report measures on sport-specific trait boredom, as well as the degree to which they expected boredom, pain, effort, and willpower to constitute self-regulatory challenges they would have to cope with. After the run, athletes reported the degree to which they actually had to deal with these self-regulatory challenges and if they had faced an action crisis during the competition. Analyses revealed that very extreme athletes displayed a significantly lower sport-specific trait boredom than less extreme athletes (p = 0.024, d = −0.48). With respect to self-regulatory challenges, willpower, pain, and effort were expected and reported at a much higher rate than boredom. However, only boredom was as a significant predictor of experiencing a crisis during the competition (odds ratio = 12.5, p = 0.02). Our results show that boredom also matters for highly active athletes. The fact that the experience of boredom-and not more prototypical competition-induced challenges, such as pain or effort were linked to having an action crisis highlights the relevance of incorporating boredom into the preparation for a race and to the performance management during competition.
... Study 4 addressed RQ2 by examining the link between the needs for input and psychological experiences and behaviour during short-term input deprivation-a brief 12 min period, referred to as a free-time period, during which participants were asked to do nothing and entertain themselves with their thoughts (see [37,80]). Regarding psychological experiences (table 8), I examined positive feelings such as pleasantness or meaningfulness during the free-time period and negative experiences such as boredom, intrusive thoughts and difficulty to focus [37,82,84]. I also probed several experiences relevant to different input components ( Table 7. ...
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External input is any kind of physical stimulation created by an individual's surroundings that can be detected by the senses. The present research established a novel conceptualization of this construct by investigating it in relation to the needs for material, social and sensation seeking input, and by testing whether these needs predict psychological functioning during long- and short-term input deprivation. It was established that the three needs constitute different dimensions of an overarching construct (i.e. need for external input). The research also suggested that the needs for social and sensation seeking input are negatively linked to people's experiences of long-term input deprivation (i.e. COVID-19 restrictions), and that the need for material input may negatively predict the experiences of short-term input deprivation (i.e. sitting in a chair without doing anything else but thinking). Overall, this research indicates that the needs for social, material and sensation seeking input may have fundamental implications for experiences and actions in a range of different contexts.
... According to this research, bored individuals become more sensitive to behavioral alternatives that are potentially more rewarding (Milyavskaya et al., 2019), and this can be at odds with sticking to an ongoing action. As a transient state, boredom can lead to positive (Gasper & Middlewood, 2014) as well as to negative actions (Wilson et al., 2014). However, experiencing boredom often and intensely is "unambiguously linked with various psychological issues and mental health outcomes" (Tam et al., 2021, p. 13). ...
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Self-control is a highly adaptive human capacity and research on self-control is booming. To further facilitate self-control research, especially in conditions where time-constraints might render the use of multi-item measures of self-control problematic, a validated time-efficient single item measure would be an asset. However, such a measure has not yet been developed and tested. Here, we address this gap by reporting the psychometric properties of a single item measure of self-control and by assessing its localization within a larger theorized psychometric network consisting of self-control, boredom and if-then planning. In a high-powered (N = 1553) study with paid online workers from the US (gender: 47.3% female, 51.7% male, 1% other; age: 40.36 ± 12.65 years), we found evidence for the convergent validity (Brief Self-Control Scale), divergent validity (Short Boredom Proneness Scale and If-Then Planning Scale), and criterion validity (objective and subjective socio-economic status) of the single item measure of self-control (“How much self-control do you have?”). Network psychometrics further revealed that the single item was part of the self-control subnetwork and clearly distinguishable from boredom and if-then planning, which together with self-control form a larger psychometric network of psychological dispositions that are relevant for orienting goal directed behavior. Thus, the present findings indicate that self-control can be adequately captured with the single item measure presented here, thereby extending the methodological toolbox of self-control researchers by a highly-time efficient measure.
... At the same time, sometimes people choose negative stimulation to relieve state boredom. Wilson et al. (2014) left the participants alone in a room for 15 min to induce their state boredom. They were then told that they were free to choose whether or not to receive an electric shock during the solitude. ...
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With the rapid development of livestreaming marketing in China, consumers spend an increasing amount of time watching and purchasing on the platform, which shows a trend of livestreaming addiction. In the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, the addiction exacerbated by a surge of boredom caused by home quarantine. Based on the observation of this phenomenon, this research focused on whether state boredom could facilitate consumers’ livestreaming addiction and explored the associated mechanisms of this relationship. Based on three studies, this research found that state boredom had a positive effect on consumers’ livestreaming addiction, and this relationship worked through the mediating effect of consumers’ sensation seeking. We further verified a moderated mediation effect of consumers’ life meaning perception, where the indirect effect of state boredom on consumers’ livestreaming addiction via consumers’ sensation seeking existed for high and low levels of life meaning perception, but in opposite directions. The conclusions provided theoretical and practical implications of livestreaming marketing and healthy leisure consumption.
... Because few studies have explicitly examined boredom in animals, especially laboratory animals, the classi cation of boredom parameters was based on the symptomatology of human boredom and relevant translatable phenomena in mice and rats. The sources for these parameters were literature on human boredom 21,34 and Charlotte Burn's pioneering review article on animal boredom 23 . All studies selected in this systematic review were examined with regard to these parameters. ...
Preprint
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Boredom is an emotional state that occurs when an individual has nothing to do, is not interested in the surrounding, and feels dreary and in a monotony. While this condition is usually defined for humans, it may very well describe the lives of many laboratory animals housed in small, barren cages. To make the cages less monotonous, environmental enrichment is often proposed. Although housing in a stimulating environment is still used predominantly as a luxury good and for treatment in preclinical research, enrichment is increasingly recognized as a way to improve animal welfare. To gain insight into how stimulating environment influences the welfare of laboratory rodents, we conducted a systematic review of studies that analyzed the effect of enriched environment on behavioral parameters of animal wellbeing. Remarkably, a considerable number of these parameters can be associated with symptoms of boredom. Our findings show that a stimulating living environment is essential for the development of natural behavior and animal welfare of laboratory rats and mice alike, regardless of age and sex. Conversely, confinement and under-stimulation in conventional housing systems has potentially detrimental effects on the mental and physical health of laboratory rodents. We show that boredom in experimental animals is measurable and does not have to be accepted as inevitable.
... Matias et al. (2011) reported increased levels of stress hormones when alone, whereas Teppers et al. (2013) found that traits reflecting emotional stability were associated with an aversion of aloneness (see also Lay et al., 2018;Uziel, 2016). Behaviorally, Wilson et al. (2014) reported that people find being alone extremely aversive and would rather keep themselves occupied in self-harming (yet stimulating) activities. Notwithstanding, research also documents desired effects for solitude, stressing its contribution to well-being. ...
Article
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Stable social relationships are conducive to well-being. However, similar effects are not reported consistently for daily social interactions in affecting episodic (experiential) subjective well-being (ESWB). The present investigation suggests that the choice of being in a social context plays an important moderating role, such that social interactions increase ESWB only if taken place by one's choice. Moreover, it is argued that choice matters more in a social context than in an alone context because experiences with others are amplified. These ideas were tested and supported in two studies: An experiment that manipulated social context and choice status, and a 10-day experience-sampling study, which explored these variables in real-life settings. Results showed that being with others by one’s choice had the strongest positive association with ESWB, sense of meaning, and control, whereas being with others not by one’s choice—the strongest negative association with ESWB. Effects of being alone on ESWB also varied by choice status, but to a lesser extent. The findings offer theoretical and practical insights into the effects of the social environment on well-being.
Article
Smartphones can lower the disutility of waiting by increasing productivity and making time pass more pleasantly. We elicit the compensation required by subjects to wait for 30 minutes, alone in an empty room, under four different conditions that varied access to the subject’s smartphone. Compared to the treatment where subjects had full use of their phone, we find that they required 24% percent more to wait with the audio features of the phone remaining but the phone physically locked away, 48% percent more to wait with only an FM radio, and 79% percent more to wait in a quiet room. We find little correlation between a subject’s wages and her offers, emphasizing the importance of heterogeneity in the value of time that is based on context rather than income.
Preprint
Full-text available
Sport and exercise can be boring. In the general population, thinking of sports as boring has been linked to exercising less. However, less is known about the role of boredom in people who partake in ultra-endurance competitions: Do these athletes also associate their sports with boredom, and does boredom pose a self-regulatory challenge that predicts if they encounter a crisis during an ultra-endurance competition? Here, we investigate these questions with a sample of N = 113 (n = 34 female) competitors of a 24h hour running competition aged M = 37.6 ± 13.8 years. n = 23 very extreme athletes competed as single starters or in a relay team of two, and n = 84 less extreme athletes competed in relay teams of four or six. Before the run, athletes completed self-report measures on sport-specific trait boredom, as well as the degree to which they expected boredom, pain, effort, and willpower to constitute self-regulatory challenges they would have to cope with. After the run, athletes reported the degree to which they actually had to deal with these self-regulatory challenges and if they had faced an action crisis during the competition. Analyses revealed that very extreme athletes displayed a significantly lower sport-specific trait boredom than less extreme athletes (p = 0.024, d=-0.48 ). With respect to self-regulatory challenges, willpower, pain and effort were expected and reported at a much higher rate than boredom. However, only boredom was as a significant predictor of experiencing a crisis during the competition (Odds Ratio = 12.5, p = 0.02).Our results show that boredom matters for highly active athletes too. That the experience of boredom - and not more prototypical competition-induced challenges, such as pain or effort - was linked to having an action crisis highlights the relevance of incorporating boredom into the preparation for a race and to the performance management during competition.
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The commentaries by Contesi, Hardcastle, Pismenny, and Gallegos pose pressing questions about the nature of boredom, frustration, and anticipation. Although their questions concern specific claims that I make in Propelled, they are of broad philosophical interest for, ultimately, they pave the way for a better understanding of these three psychological states. In my responses to the commentators, I clarify certain claims made in Propelled; provide additional support for my understanding of frustration; articulate the relationship between effort and value; defend the claim that boredom is an emotion and discuss its formal object; and finally, consider the relationship between boredom (ordinarily understood) and deep or profound boredom. I am grateful to the commentators for engaging with Propelled.
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A distinction between ruminative and reflective types of private self-attentiveness is introduced and evaluated with respect to L. R. Goldberg's (1982) list of 1,710 English trait adjectives (Study 1), the five-factor model of personality (FFM) and A. Fenigstein, M. F. Scheier, and A. Buss's(1975) Self-Consciousness Scales (Study 2), and previously reported correlates and effects of private self-consciousness (PrSC; Studies 3 and 4). Results suggest that the PrSC scale confounds two unrelated motivationally distinct disposition-rumination and reflection-and that this confounding may account for the "self-absorption paradox" implicit in PrSC research findings: Higher PrSC sources are associated with more accurate and extensive self-knowledge yet higher levels of psychological distress. The potential of the FFM to provide a comprehensive Framework for conceptualizing self-attentive dispositions, and to order and integrate research findings within this domain, is discussed.
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Nearly 60 years ago, Jerome L. Singer launched a groundbreaking research program into daydreaming (Singer, 1955, 1975, 2009) that presaged and laid the foundation for virtually every major strand of mind wandering research active today (Antrobus, 1999; Klinger, 1999, 2009). Here we review Singer's enormous contribution to the field, which includes insights, methodologies, and tools still in use today, and trace his enduring legacy as revealed in the recent proliferation of mind wandering studies. We then turn to the central theme in Singer's work, the adaptive nature of positive constructive daydreaming, which was a revolutionary idea when Singer began his work in the 1950s and remains underreported today. Last, we propose a new approach to answering the enduring question: Why does mind wandering persist and occupy so much of our time, as much as 50% of our waking time according to some estimates, if it is as costly as most studies suggest?
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The negative effects of mind-wandering on performance and mood have been widely documented. In a recent well-cited study, Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) conducted a large experience sampling study revealing that all off-task episodes, regardless of content, have equal to or lower happiness ratings, than on-task episodes. We present data from a similarly implemented experience sampling study with additional mind-wandering content categories. Our results largely conform to those of the Killingsworth and Gilbert (2010) study, with mind-wandering generally being associated with a more negative mood. However, subsequent analyses reveal situations in which a more positive mood is reported after being off-task. Specifically when off-task episodes are rated for interest, the high interest episodes are associated with an increase in positive mood compared to all on-task episodes. These findings both identify a situation in which mind-wandering may have positive effects on mood, and suggest the possible benefits of encouraging individuals to shift their off-task musings to the topics they find most engaging.
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Human beings are unique in their ability to think consciously about themselves. Because they have a capacity for self-awareness not shared by other animals, people can imagine themselves in the future, anticipate consequences, plan ahead, improve themselves, and perform many other behaviors that are uniquely characteristic of human beings. Yet, despite the obvious advantages of self-reflection, the capacity for self-thought comes at a high price as people's lives are adversely affected and their inner chatter interferes with their success, pollutes their relationships, and undermines their happiness. Indeed, self-relevant thought is responsible for most of the personal and social difficulties that human beings face as individuals and as a species. Among other things, the capacity for self-reflection distorts people's perceptions, leading them to make bad decisions based on faulty information. The self conjures up a great deal of personal suffering in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, envy, and other negative emotions by allowing people to ruminate about the past or imagine the future. Egocentrism and egotism blind people to their own shortcomings, promote self-serving biases, and undermine their relationships with others. The ability to self-reflect also underlies social conflict by leading people to separate themselves into ingroups and outgroups. Ironically, many sources of personal unhappiness - such as addictions, overeating, unsafe sex, infidelity, and domestic violence - are due to people's inability to exert self-control. For those inclined toward religion and spirituality, visionaries throughout history have proclaimed that the egoic self stymies the quest for spiritual fulfillment and leads to immoral behavior.
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A theory of ironic processes of mental control is proposed to account for the intentional and counterintentional effects that result from efforts at self-control of mental states. The theory holds that an attempt to control the mind introduces 2 processes: (a) an operating process that promotes the intended change by searching for mental contents consistent with the intended state and (b) a monitoring process that tests whether the operating process is needed by searching for mental contents inconsistent with the intended state. The operating process requires greater cognitive capacity and normally has more pronounced cognitive effects than the monitoring process, and the 2 working together thus promote whatever degree of mental control is enjoyed. Under conditions that reduce capacity, however, the monitoring process may supersede the operating process and thus enhance the person's sensitivity to mental contents that are the ironic opposite of those that are intended.
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The difficulties inherent in obtaining consistent and adequate diagnoses for the purposes of research and therapy have been pointed out by a number of authors. Pasamanick12 in a recent article viewed the low interclinician agreement on diagnosis as an indictment of the present state of psychiatry and called for "the development of objective, measurable and verifiable criteria of classification based not on personal or parochial considerations, but on behavioral and other objectively measurable manifestations."Attempts by other investigators to subject clinical observations and judgments to objective measurement have resulted in a wide variety of psychiatric rating scales.4,15 These have been well summarized in a review article by Lorr11 on "Rating Scales and Check Lists for the Evaluation of Psychopathology." In the area of psychological testing, a variety of paper-and-pencil tests have been devised for the purpose of measuring specific
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non-commercial research and educational use only. Not for reproduction, distribution or commercial use. This chapter was originally published in the book The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 60, published by Elsevier, and the attached copy is provided by Elsevier for the author's benefit and for the benefit of the author's institution, for non-commercial research and educational use including without limitation use in instruction at your institution, sending it to specific colleagues who know you, and providing a copy to your institution's administrator. All other uses, reproduction and distribution, including without limitation commercial reprints, selling or licensing copies or access, or posting on open internet sites, your personal or institution's website or repository, are prohibited. For exceptions, permission may be sought for such use through Elsevier's permissions site at:
Article
In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Reviews recent research on the relevant functions, personality characteristics, and cognitive correlates of "inner" phenomena (e.g., daydreaming). A tentative conceptual model of the "stream of consciousness" concept is presented which suggests a complex processing system involving reverberating content from long-term storage and almost continuous processing of input material from the physical and social environment. Studies of individual differences using the Imaginal Processes Inventory are reviewed. Differences between daydreaming and reflective thought in social situations are considered, emphasizing the nature of eye shifts in each type of experience. The need for further research in selected areas is pointed out (e.g., the so-called "altered states"). It is concluded that most of these states can be dealt with as manifestations of our basic information-processing mechanisms and that further research will help clarify the range of creative possibilities that exist in ordinary mental ruminations. (11/2 p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)