Boredom has, paradoxically, become quite interesting to academics lately. In early May, London’s Boring Conference celebrated seven years of delighting in dullness. At this event, people flocked to talks about weather, traffic jams, and vending-machine sounds, among other sleep-inducing topics.
What, exactly, is everyone studying? One widely accepted psychological definition of boredom is “the distasteful experience of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activities.” But how can you quantify a person’s boredom level and compare it with someone else’s?
In 1986, psychologists introduced the Boredom Proneness Scale, designed to measure an individual’s overall tendency to feel bored. By contrast, the Multidimensional State Boredom scale, developed in 2008, measures a person’s feelings of boredom in a given situation.
Boredom has been linked to behavior issues including inattentive driving, mindless snacking, excessive drinking, and addictive gambling. In fact, many of us would choose pain over boredom.
One team of psychologists discovered that two-thirds of men and a quarter of women would rather self-administer electric shocks than sit alone with their thought for 15 minutes. Researching this phenomenon, another team asked volunteers to watch boring, sad, or neutral films, during which they could self-administer electric shocks. The bored volunteers shocked themselves more and harder than the sad or neutral one did.
But boredom isn’t all bad. By encouraging self-reflection and daydreaming, it can spur activity. An early study gave participants abundant time to complete problem-solving and word-association exercises. Once all the obvious answers were exhausted, participants gave more and more inventive answers to combat boredom. A British study took these findings one step further, asking subjects to complete a creative challenge (coming up with a list of alternative uses for a household item). One group of subjects did a boring activity first, while the others went straight to the creative task. Those whose boredom pumps had been primed were more productive.
In our always-connected world, boredom may be a hard-to-define state, but it is a fertile one. Watch paint dry or water boil, or at least put away your smartphone for a while, and you might unlock your next big idea.
46. When are people likely to experience boredom, according to an accepted psychological definition?
A) When they don’t have the chance to do what they want
B) When they don’t enjoy the materials they are studying
C) When they experience something unpleasant
D) When they engage in some routine activities
47. What does the author say boredom can lead to?
B) Mental deterioration
D) Harmful conduct
46.此题针对文章中细节内容进行提问，属于细节题。细节题首先需要根据问题选择比较明显的词或者短语回原文进行定位。此题中an accepted psychological definition比较明显，可定位到：One widely accepted psychological definition of boredom is “the distasteful experience of wanting, but being unable, to engage in satisfying activities.” 找到定位句之后，寻找定位句和四个答案之间是否有原词重现，如果没有原词寻找近义或同义表达。本题中定位句being unable, to engage in satisfying activities与A选项don’t have the chance to do what they want表达内容最接近，因此选A。
47.此题针对的是文章细节进行提问，属于细节题。细节题解题的关键在于根据题目关键词去文章中定位。但是在回原文定位的时候发现找不到和题目的明显对应，说明原文和题目之间采用了同义替换表达。根据 boredom can lead to可以找到原文的同义表达Boredom has been linked to。因此本题定位到Boredom has been linked to behavior issues including inattentive driving, mindless snacking, excessive drinking, and addictive gambling.定位句中inattentive driving, mindless snacking, excessive drinking, and addictive gambling都属于harmful conduct，因此此题选D。