Risk Taking and Impulsivity in Boredom: an EEG investigation

AbstractPrevious research on boredom suggest it function as an important self-regulatory signal, indicating that the current state of the environment carries opportunity-costs and therefore driving the need to explore alternative activities. Trait boredom proneness is associated with negative consequences including increased risk-taking and impulsivity. These findings often rely on self-reports and not much is known about the role of state and trait boredom in controlled laboratory tasks, or their neural correlates. Sixty-two participants completed the Balloon Analogue Risk Task and a go/no-go task while electrical brain activity was recorded using EEG. Results showed that state boredom leads to impulsivity and poor performance monitoring, as evident by behavioral, subjective and ERP metrics. Trait boredom was associated with increased risk-taking, and modulated the correlation between errors and state boredom: high boredom proneness increased the sensitivity of trait boredom to errors. Overall, these findings emphasize the involvement of executive functions in the interaction between state and trait boredom.

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