The Underused Mind: The Role of Cognition in Trait Boredom
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Trait boredom is associated with serious psychosocial consequences. It is also associated with poor sustained attention and self-reported executive dysfunction. However, research on trait boredom and cognitive ability beyond sustained attention is limited. One reason is that there has been a lack of theoretically grounded measures of trait boredom. In part 1, we developed a strong, unidimensional measure of trait boredom grounded in a comprehensive definition and theory of state boredom. In part 2, we examined whether participants cognitive ability on tests of sustained attention, executive function, and processing speed predicted trait boredom. Findings indicated a weak association between cognitive ability and trait boredom. However, trait boredom was associated with poorer sustained attention ability, marginally poorer oral processing speed and better inhibitory control. Findings suggest trait boredom is likely not reflective of poor cognitive ability. Rather, trait boredom may characterize ones reaction to certain cognitive tasks, thereby causing poor performance.