The Science Of Boredom And Daydreaming
Daydreaming is harder for adults, who often require a prompt to think about something pleasant.
Children have a natural talent for imagination. Even in moments of boredom, their imagination can take them away into daydreams that help pass the time in a flash. But for many adults, falling into a daydream is hard, especially when our minds are filled with worries about tomorrow’s obligations, finances, and a global pandemic.
Turns out those who feel this way are not alone. New research shows that adults report getting to a daydreaming state is harder than experiencing their unguided thoughts. Adults often require a prompt to think about something pleasant, and tend to ruminate on unpleasant things.
Daydreaming can be an antidote to boredom, and researcher Erin Westgate of the University of Florida says that’s important. Her previous research shows that boredom can cause sadistic behavior in people. Westgate joins guest host John Dankosky and Manoush Zomorodi, host of the TED Radio Hour and author of the book Bored and Brilliant, who argues leaning into boredom can unlock our most creative selves.
Universe of Art is hosted and produced by D. Peterschmidt, who also wrote the music. The original segment was produced by Kathleen Davis. Our show art was illustrated by Abelle Hayford. Support for Science Friday’s science and arts coverage comes from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
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