Induced Boredom Constrains Mindfulness: An Online Demonstration

Samuel R Koval and McWelling Todman*

Induced Boredom Constrains Mindfulness: An Online Demonstration.

These Theravada Abbhidamma texts define it as, “presence of mind, attentiveness to the present.” More contemporary attempts to characterize mindfulness have provided somewhat more elaborate descriptions but ultimately differ more in terms of emphasis than on substance. For example, Lazar describes mindfulness as a meditative state in which there is an active “exploration of the distractions to concentration, such as sensations, thoughts and feelings,” a definition that is not too different from those  who describe mindfulness as open, receptive, undivided awareness and attention to internal and external experience in the present moment.

The current study was an attempt to address this oversight using a web-based platform to examine the relationship between state mindfulness and induced boredom in an online sample of
participants. Importantly, we are unaware of any reports in the literature of previous attempts to induce boredom in participants in an online study. Thus an additional and secondary goal of the
study was to examine the utility and effectiveness of a novel and potentially far more efficient approach to the induction of boredom states.

It is also seems that the attentional options matter when trying to cope with boredom. Even when the individual does not feel an obligation to remain attentive to an uninteresting task or stimulus, feelings of attentional constraint might obtain if the alternative attentional targets available to the individual are experienced as unappealing or unrewarding. In a compelling demonstration of this point, Critcher and Gilovich conducted a series of studies in which they manipulated the content of the mind-wanderings of the study participants and found that they were significantly more likely to report boredom with an ongoing task when their daydreams were about negative events, than
when their minds wandered to positive or rewarding narratives.


Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2015; 1(1): 1-9. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-1-101