Can Boredom Be Beneficial?

Psychology Club, Psi Beta, conducted a study called the Boredom Project.


Evan Gray

Image courtesy of Evan Gray; L to R: Evan Gray, Maureen Gray

Jona Padua, Staff Writer

Psi Beta, also known as the Psychology club, cracked the code of how boredom can work in your favor. 

The club began the Boredom Project in March 2021 and finished in November 2021, exploring perceived levels of boredom in regards to task performance. The club’s Research Group focuses on phenomena and mechanisms related to a wide variety of complex problems in psychology. The group meets weekly during the academic year to plan and discuss completed research.

When it comes to boredom, the feeling of being bored is the link to people feeling dull when finishing a task. However, when people feel bored with one task, they are more likely to engage in behavior they believe will reestablish their sense of meaningfulness. The club used this information to conduct their study.

The 108 participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions:

  1. Participants select a personally meaningful goal they would like to improve on. They were then given an explanation of how the following task would help them improve that skill. 
  2. Participants are told to cope with boredom using some relaxation techniques (e.g., tapping fingers/feet, deep breathing)
  3. Participants are told to “please try to pay attention even if you get bored.”

After completing the typing task they were assigned, participants reported their level of boredom. The club concluded that typing a boring task to a personally-chosen relevant goal reduces boredom and improves task performance. Therefore due to boredom, it actually increases engagement and performance in work as well as school settings because of the task forcing people to engage.

The club’s findings have the same conclusion as another project by Yael K. Goldberg and others called “Boredom: An Emotional Experience Distinct from Apathy, Anhedonia, or Depression,” published in 2011. 

The project mentioned the benefits of boredom:

  1. One boring task can make another boring task meaningful. 
  2. Boredom makes someone try something new when the current task feels meaningless.
  3. Without boredom, someone can be trapped in unfulfilling situations and cause many emotional, cognitive, and social experiences.
  4. Boredom helps restore the perception that one’s activities are meaningful.

The last Psychology Club Research Group meeting is on Dec. 10 (Friday), 12pm – 12:50pm, to plan, conduct, analyze, and present psychology research next semester.

Psychology Club welcomes everyone majoring in psychology, undecided majors, and students with other majors besides psychology. The club aims to encourage and promote a greater understanding of psychology.

Psi Beta is the National Honor Society for community college’s best fit for students majoring in psychology. Students are eligible to join once they complete a college-level psychology class with a B or better (AP credit counts) and have 12 college credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.25.

“The ‘Boredom Project’ is submitted to the Midwestern Psychological Association; next semester, members can do an analysis on the project,” said Psi Beta/Psychology Club President Evan Gray. “COD Psi Beta/Psychology Research Group has prepared me to know how to research, write, and find credible information, which has become increasingly more imperative because of the amount of information available to anyone. I encourage everyone to join next semester!”