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Look at how the brain responds to boredom can help people cope | WSU Insider

Boredom is a common human experience. But how people handle or handle boredom is important for mental health.

"Everyone experiences boredom," said Sammy Perone, assistant at Washington State University in the Department of Human Development. "But some people experience it a lot, which is unhealthy. So we wanted to look at how to deal with it effectively."

The brain of people who are prone to boredom reacts differently to those who do not. Perone and his colleagues found in a new paper recently published in the journal Psychophysiology. Among their findings, those who experience boredom often tend to have more anxiety and are more likely to become depressed.

Perone conducted his research and wrote the paper with WSU Assistant Professor Elizabeth Weybright and WSU graduate student Alana Anderson.

Previously, we thought that people who react more negatively to boredom would have certain brainwaves before they get bored, "Perone said." But in our baseline tests, we couldn't differentiate brainwaves. It was only when they were in a boredom state that the difference surpassed. "

This means that the big difference between people who experience boredom is often how they react to a dull situation. The implication is that they can learn to handle coping mechanisms to avoid the negative reactions.

How to Drill People

To study how the brain responds to boredom, first get a baseline screening, then people live almost to tears, then Perone studied 54 people in his laboratory where they entered, completed a study and was equipped with a special cap that measures brain waves at 128 sites on the scalp

The study consisted of a series of questions about boredom and how the participants respond to it, then the researchers measured the brain waves of each participant with their eyes open and then closed their eyes. to get baseline reading. Then the boredom began.

The items were in front of a computer with eight sticks on the screen, their job was to click on the sticks that were highlighted Every click the girl turned quarterly. So someone else would be highlighted. The experiment consisted of 320 quartz turns that take about 10 minutes.

  Closeup of Sammy Perone.
Sammy Perone

"I've never done that, it's really boring," Perone said. "But in the study of past experiments, this was rated as the most boring task task. That was what we needed."

Reactions to boredom are key areas. The right front and left front regions of the heart are active for various reasons. Left frontal activity is higher when people seek to engage or stimulate themselves by thinking of other things. The right frontal activity increases when people feel more negative emotions or become more anxious.

At the baseline test, there was no difference between the people who reacted with more left brain activity against right brain activity. But people who answered the question of the fact that they are more likely to experience boredom in their daily lives had more right frontal brain activity as they became more bored at doing peg activity.

"We found out that the people who are good at handling boredom in everyday life based on the studies shifted more to the left," Perone said. "Those who do not do well in everyday life changed right."

Handling Boredom

There are several ways people do well with boredom, Perone said. They are looking for a book or something to read. They make a grocery list or think about what to do for dinner.

"We had a person in the experiment who reported psychic singing to a forthcoming concert. They made the tab and did exercise for the battles of music in the head," Perone said. "Doing things that keep you engaged instead of focusing on how boring you are is really helpful."

Real-world application

The next steps for research will involve how to make people more proactive in their thinking when bored.

"The results of this paper show that it is possible to respond more positively to boredom," Perone said. "Now we want to find the best tools we can give people a positive attitude to boring. So we still do the peg activity, but we will give them something to think about while doing it.

" It is really important to have a connection between the laboratory and the real world. If we can help people cope better with boredom, it can have a real, positive mental health impact. "

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