Main content


Boredom is experienced by everyone from production workers to philosophers - but is it only a negative emotion or is it necessary to motivating human behaviour?

The programme examines boredom and discovers the history of how it developed as an idea and consequently became a moral issue. Boredom is becoming a fashionable area of academic research where surprising conclusions have been reached about its effects and purpose. And even if today’s hi–tech workplace - or perhaps because of it - boredom is still to be found and presenting challenges as to how to deal with it.

Jo Fidgen discusses boredom with historian Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith from the University of London, Professor Missy Cummings, Institute for Brain Sciences, Duke University, North Carolina, USA and a former drone pilot Lt Col Bruce Black. She also submits herself to a boredom experiment with Dr Wijnand van Tilburg a psychologist at Southampton University. BBC archive recordings include Inside Job and Hancock’s Half Hour.

(Image of a lady yawning. Credit: Think Stock)

Available now

18 minutes

Last on

Mon 7 Apr 2014 08:32GMT


  • Sat 5 Apr 2014 13:32GMT
  • Sat 5 Apr 2014 22:32GMT
  • Mon 7 Apr 2014 01:32GMT
  • Mon 7 Apr 2014 08:32GMT

Get the podcast

Get the podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes for free

Why do we look the way we do?

Why do we look the way we do?

Tattoos, trainers, jeans, hair, ties ... why?