Exploring the Relationship between Self-Regulation and Boredom
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The following two studies examined the relationship between various aspects of self-regulation, boredom proneness and the experience of boredom. Prior research on trait boredom has demonstrated that it is often related to variables indicative of poor self-regulatory control. Likewise, prior research has shown a relationship between state boredom and conditions in which individuals are prevented from self-regulating effectively. The goal of this research was to directly test the relationship between boredom proneness and various aspects of self-regulation, as well as exploring how conditions that prevent effective self-regulation influence the experience of boredom. Study 1 explored the relationship between self-regulation and boredom proneness using a variety of measures of self-regulation. Results identified a unique set of factors related to boredom proneness, suggesting that effective goal pursuit is associated with reduced likelihood of experiencing boredom. Study 2 examined the influence of low perceived control on the experience of boredom. To do this, high or low perceived control was induced using a computerized version of the children’s game ‘rock-paper-scissors’ in which individuals arbitrarily either won or lost, respectively, regardless of their own play strategy. Individuals in the low control condition (0% win rate) reported being less bored than individuals in the high perceived control condition where wins came easily. This suggests that the potential to gain control may play a role in facilitating engagement with the environment and may be an important factor in mitigating the experience of boredom. This research highlights the importance of effective self-regulation in the experience of boredom.