The bored mind is a guiding mind: toward a regulatory theory of boredom

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (3):455-484 (2018)
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Abstract

By presenting and synthesizing findings on the character of boredom, the article advances a theoretical account of the function of the state of boredom. The article argues that the state of boredom should be understood as a functional emotion that is both informative and regulatory of one's behavior. Boredom informs one of the presence of an unsatisfactory situation and, at the same time, it motivates one to pursue a new goal when the current goal ceases to be satisfactory, attractive or meaningful. Boredom ultimately promotes both movement and the restoration of the perception that one's activities are meaningful and congruent with one's overall projects.

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Andreas Elpidorou
University of Louisville