Remember as a child needing constant entertainment? I can recall whining to my mom, "I'm borrrrrrrred." But as an adult, I honestly can't remember the last time I was bored. There's always something to do; and if there isn't, I find something. Do you get bored easily? If you're not sure, the Boredom Proneness Scale, recently highlighted by Science of Us, can probably tell you.
Although the scientific study of boredom technically started as early as 1885 with a published piece by British polymath Francis Galton, it practically stalled after that for nearly 100 years. Picking back up in the 1980s, boredom has increasingly piqued researchers' interests. Numerous studies have explored the state of mind, often concluding that it's actually not even a bad thing.
Researchers began seriously studying the state of boredom with the Boredom Proneness Scale, developed in 1986 by a couple of University of Oregon psychologists. It not only assesses how easily you get bored, but it also helps you understand the causes of your boredom — something that can help you remedy it. The questions address matters such as external stimulation, how you perceive time and the speed at which it moves, and your reactions to different situations.
One study found that being bored is advantageous because it signals to your brain that you need new ideas, thereby sparking creative thinking. Yet another study by Pennsylvania State University found that when taking creativity tests, participants who were bored surprisingly outperformed other participants who were relaxed, elated, or distressed. The topic has been so thoroughly examined that researchers have identified five distinct types of boredom: Indifferent, calibrating, searching, reactant, and apathetic boredom.
So, what seems to be a silly quiz might be more revealing than you think! I took Science of Us' version of the Boredom Proneness Scale myself. There are 28 questions in total, but let's take a look at just a small handful. Here are the kinds of things you can expect to answer:
1. Do You Think Time Goes By Slowly?
That was a big, fat no for me. I think time flies, and it's actually one thing that really scares me.
2. Do You Often Think Of New Projects?
This is so me. I'm constantly bursting at the seams with ideas, and really need to work to commit to just a select few. Otherwise, I'll be doing approximately 1,498 things at any given time.
3. Do You Know How To Keep Yourself Entertained?
When I'm not working, don't you worry about me: I can think of dozens of other things to keep my mind occupied — like one of the three books I'm currently getting through, my dog (who I've decided is the cutest dog in the world), pinning new recipes on Pinterest that I'll likely never try, or the dishes that are undoubtedly piling up in the sink.
4. Do You Sit Around With Nothing To Do?
I'd rather mop the kitchen floor with my face.
5. Are You A Patient Person?
Ah, yes. One of my many flaws. I'm very impatient and really don't enjoy waiting around for anything. If I text you at 1:05, I expect a response at 1:04.
6. Do You Have A Lot Of Free Time?
Time on my hands? Time on my hands? Is this even a thing?
7. Do You Have A Lot Of Interests?
I have too many. I'm writing a novel, I'm training as a competitive athlete, I have a stack of books I'm constantly trying to get through, and I still haven't become a professional chef with my own cooking show.
8. Do You Need Intense Excitement To Feel Fulfilled?
This couldn't be further from the truth for me. I'm a hermit. A homebody. A bit of a loner. My definition of "exciting" might be slightly different from others, and my version of "dangerous" means getting chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream instead of vanilla, because I'm feeling rebellious.
My results actually surprised me, because I do get bored easily; BUT, knowing this is my case, I quickly take action to fix the situation. That's why I reach for a book, do a little cleaning around the house, or give my dog lots of attention. In that case, it makes perfect sense that the Boredom Proneness Scale tells me I don't get bored easily. According to John Eastwood, York University psychologist, this reveals a few different things about me. For instance, I have a fairly strong attention span, allowing me to regulate my focus and stay engaged with an activity.
Head on over to Science of Us to take the Boredom Proneness Scale for yourself. What did your results tell you?
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