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Why do we get bored? © iStock

Why do we get bored?

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Natural selection favours individuals with the capacity to feel bored because they are more likely to act to improve their survival chances.

Asked by: Jaime Martin, by email

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Like hunger, thirst and loneliness, boredom is a negative feeling that drives us to change our behaviour. Natural selection has favoured individuals with the capacity to feel bored because they are more likely to discover or create things that improve their survival chances, or to look for a new partner and so spread their genes more widely. Contentment leads to complacency, and that’s a dangerous evolutionary strategy.

Authors

luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.

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