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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Using Task Context to Manage Boredom: The Impact of Time Pressure

Published: May 27, 2020


Maximilian Gaerth, University of Mannheim; Minju Han, Yale University; Ravi Dhar, Yale University; Florian Kraus, University of Mannheim


boredom; time pressure; mind-wandering


This research investigates how the context in which a boring task is embedded can affect consumers’ experience of boredom. Across three studies, we find that, all else being equal, manipulating a contextual element—time pressure—can significantly change the experience of boredom. We further demonstrate that the effect of task context on boredom can be attributed to a significant shift in mind-wandering. The same effect does not hold for tasks in which mind-wandering is inherently low (e.g., interesting tasks). Taken together, we demonstrate that, holding the core features constant, manipulating contextual elements can independently reduce how boring a focal task is perceived to be.