Dr Aric Sigman writes for the
All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood
If the lockdown had lyrics, for many children the chorus would be “I’m bored”. We’ve developed a keen sense of entitlement for variety and choice in our lives and many are exhibiting withdrawal symptoms in the face of the sudden restrictions and reductions in everyday choice and novelty imposed upon us by lockdown.
In the Cold War 1950s, boredom enjoyed greater respect in certain circles. The military became interested in how it could be used to brainwash and torture the captured enemy. The journal Scientific American published ‘The Pathology of Boredom’ and research began on ‘sensory deprivation’ and ‘physical isolation’ minimising external stimulation. As the brain was thought to function by reacting to outside stimulation, scientists believed that if outside stimuli were removed, the brain would essentially enter into a type of comatose state or ‘dreamless’ sleep. Yet they were surprised to find that ‘The mind does not pass into unconsciousness, the brain does not shut down …The isolated mind becomes highly active and creative’.
Image: Creator: Aleksandar Nakic Credit: Getty Image