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Boredom in aesthetic experiences


Brielmann,  AA       
Department of Computational Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Brielmann, A. (2022). Boredom in aesthetic experiences. Talk presented at The Third International Symposium on the Mathematics of Neuroscience. Heraklion, Greece. 2022-09-24 - 2022-09-25.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000B-099D-B
When was the last time you skipped a song on your playlist or scrolled over an image on your Instagram feed? Why? We wager that aesthetic boredom drove your choice. According to our theory, aesthetic boredom arises when sensory value decreases. We assume that sensory experiences are valuable to the extent that they help increase sensory processing efficiency now and in the future. We distinguish between absolute boredom that arises in response to one experience without need for comparison and relative boredom. Absolute boredom arises when: 1) its continuation leads to a decrease in expected long-term processing efficiency, which 2) outweighs short-term increasing processing efficiency for itself. Relative boredom for a sensory experience arises when other available experiences have higher values. Boredom then serves as a signal for observers that dwelling longer in their current environment is suboptimal in the long-run and motivates them to seek out new sensory stimulation.