Boredom and Motivation: From Anxious Uncertainty and Low Approach Motivation to Low Self-Control
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Across two studies, this research investigated trait (Study 1 and 2) and state (Study 2) level variation in anxious uncertainty and approach motivation as motivational substrates of boredom. It further tested a series of mediational models for conceptualizing links between anxious uncertainty and approach motivation, boredom, and self-control. In both an initial study (Study 1) and a direct replication (Study 2), I found that anxious uncertainty sensitivity was positively correlated with boredom proneness and approach motivation sensitivity was negatively correlated with boredom proneness. Together these sensitivities accounted for a substantial amount of the variance in boredom proneness. Anxious uncertainty and approach motivation sensitivities also indirectly predicted self-control through their effects on boredom proneness. In Study 2, these findings were replicated at the state-level using a quasi-behavioural measure of self-control. The results of the state-level mediation analyses showed that participants who reported greater anxious uncertainty and lower approach motivation during a data entry task were less persistent and less likely to follow-through with intentions, and this effect was mediated by higher levels of boredom. I conclude that boredom signals a motivational state characterized by high anxious uncertainty and low approach motivation that is conducive to self-control failure.
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Emily Britton (2018). Boredom and Motivation: From Anxious Uncertainty and Low Approach Motivation to Low Self-Control. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/13680