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boredom interest

LINKS AND BOOKS is the work of Stephen Vodanovich, PhD, associate professor of psychology at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. During the past decade, possibly no one on the planet has been more prolific in empirically researching boredom and in authoring journal articles on the topic. While his recent focus has been the psychometrics of boredom experience, his work of the past decade has explored the broad canvas of correlation of boredom experience with cognitive, personality, mood, social, job/work, and health-related parameters, as well as cultural, racial, age, and gender differences in boredom proneness. The Boredom Proneness Scale, a mainstay in Dr. Vodanovich’s research, was developed and validated in the 1980s at the University of Oregon by Richard Farmer, PhD, now professor of psychology at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand (email, and Norman Sundberg, PhD, now emeritus professor at the University of Oregon (email:

What to Do When You’re Bored and Blue , authored by philosopher-humanist Sam Keen, was published in 1980. Written for the literate layperson, the book sets a high standard for the lucidity and beauty of its expository style, and for its insights and perspectives of boredom. The book was re-published in 1992 by Bantam as Inward Bound: Exploring the Geography of Your Emotions. The Boring Institute was founded in 1984 by public relations counselor Alan Caruba as a way of spoofing the media’s coverage of celebrities, films, television, politics, and sports. The Institute has since evolved into a clearinghouse for information about boredom. It offers a popular guide “Beating Boredom”, and more recently, a “white paper” entitled Dying of Boredom in America. While Mr. Caruba and I do not always agree about the nature, etiology, modulation, and management of boredom, we both consider that keeping boredom at bay is a primary motivation for much of human behavior/activity. The Institute for the Study of Human Knowledge (ISHK) is a non-profit educational institution dedicated to publicizing new insights emanating from a broad base of cutting-edge resources. In the mid-1970s, research was pointing to links between experiential factors and somatically-expressed disease, which were under-recognized in medicine and in the popular press. The Institute, based in Los Altos, California, and headed by psychologist Robert Ornstein, launched the Healing Brain Seminars, which were attended by over 10,000 physicians, nurses, and health professionals. In part due to these and other programs at the Institute, the link between experiential and somatic factors in health is now more widely appreciated/acknowledged.

Up From Boredom, Down From Fear , by Bruce Leckart, PhD, was published in 1980. Written for the literate layperson, the book is a mine of insights and observations about boredom, and provides much practical information about the assessment and management of boredom. See also Beyond Boredom and Anxiety (1975) and Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990) by M. Csikszentmihalyi. The Institute for Mind and Biology at the University of Chicago uniquely fosters transdisciplinary research on fundamental questions about the mind and its dynamic interactions with the biological systems of the body. The Institute encourages revolutionary scientific research on mind-brain/body interrelations in health and disease, with high priority given research that helps to synthesize interrelations among social behavior, mind, biological systems, and genes.

Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind , by Patricia Spacks, PhD, was published in 1995 by the University of Chicago Press. Spacks, an English Professor and currently head of the English Department at the University of Virginia, has authored a work on the literary and cultural history of boredom that rivals the scope and grandeur of The Demon of Noontide, Reinhard Kuhn’s (1976) classic work on the topic.

Ian Irvine’s The Angel of Luxury and Sadness (2001) and Michael Apter’s The Dangerous Edge: The Psychology of Excitement (1992) are also far-ranging masterworks on boredom. Dr. Irvine’s email address is iirvine@ Dr. Apter’s webiste address is The website of the Institute for Frontier Science (IFS), founded in 1996 by biophysicist Beverly Rubik, PhD. An independent, nonprofit corporation based in Oakland, California, the IFS serves as an educational and research nexus for unconventional ideas and empirical approaches to mind-body interrelations in health and disease.

Boredom and the Religious Imagination, by Michael Raposa, Professor of Religion at Lehigh University, is a seminal work on boredom. Published in 1999 by the University of Virginia Press, it explores the role of attentional processes and the experience of boredom in the midwifing of religious experience/knowledge. Dr. Raposa’s email address is Alain de Botton is a philosopher-novelist who has written several books that explore the role of attention in fostering interest/averting boredom; see especially How Proust Can Change Your Life (1997) and The Art of Travel (2002). Philosopher-novelist Colin Wilson has authored many works on boredom; see especially The Mind Parasites (1967) and A Criminal History of Mankind (1984). The American Academy of Sleep Medicine website contains information about sleep and sleep disorders, and provides links to other web sites pertaining to sleep and sleep disorders.

Lord, Don’t Let Me Be Bored (1986), by G. Lloyd Rediger, and Still Bored in a Culture of Entertainment: Rediscovering Passion and Wonder (2002), by psychiatrist Richard Winter, provide far-ranging reviews of conceptions and studies of boredom, with a focus on Christian perspectives of boredom.

Writer John Spalding has recently authored an article on boredom for the magazine Science and Spirit, the article also accessible on his website The website, inspired by an exceptional group of 19th century French atheists and anthropologists in conflict with the church over science, offers a novel, subversive perspective of religion.


Since the mid-1980s, psychiatrist Carlo Maggini and colleagues at the University of Parma in Italy have been authoring articles and books on boredom experience, its possible neurophysiologic substrate(s), and the modulation of psychopathology/psychiatric states by boredom. Representative publications include Ill Paridiso e la Noia [Paradise and Boredom: Some Metapsychological Reflections on Morbid Boredom], Bollati Boringhieri, Torino, 1991. Also “Psychobiology of Boredom,” CNS Spectrums, vol. 5, no. 8, pp. 24-27, 2000. Dr. Maggini’s email address is

Francoise Wemelshelder, PhD, an animal biologist working in Scotland, has authored several journal articles on the development and expression of boredom in animals. The articles provide a conceptual framework for thinking about boredom experience and related behaviors in animals, as well as pragmatic suggestions for the mitigation of animal boredom. Dr. Wemelshelder’s email address is

Epidemiological research by Benjamin Amick and his research team at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston has found that workers who spent their lives in undemanding jobs and with little control over their work were 35% more likely to die during a 10-year period than workers in challenging jobs having a high level of decision making responsibilities. Dr. Amick’s email address is

Movie producer Stephen Simon specializes in the production of spiritually-enhancing films,   Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come being two of his latest.  Simon has discovered a vast worldwide audience for what he terms "spiritual entertainment," and has developed innovative ways of supporting visionary flim makers and putting their movies into the living room of any viewer who wants to experience this genre of films.  Simon is the author of The Force is Within You: Mystical Movie Messages That Inspire Our Lives (Hampton Roads, 2002).  His website address is


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