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In the 21st Century, Boredom is the New Excitement

Psychologists say a new mental state is emerging in which people find unusual amounts of pleasure in activities that are otherwise boring, such as folding towels and running hair dryers. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A new psychological condition called autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is emerging to describe people who become fascinated with otherwise boring activities, e.g. watching videos of people folding towels or running hair dryers. “Presumably the feeling has existed for all of human history. Each person discovered the experience, treasured it or ignored it, and kept the feeling to themselves. That there wasn’t a name for it until 2010 suggests that most people who had this feeling hadn’t talked about it. It’s amazing that it got this far without getting a name. In scientific terms, it didn’t exist.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Is it possible that an entirely new psychological condition has survived two millenia without being noticed by professional psychologists? Perhaps there is something unique about our age that is allowing a whole host of new phenomena to emerge: “…along came the 21st Century and, like they say, even if you’re one in a million there’s thousands of you on the internet. Now there’s websites, discussion forums, even a Wikipedia page. And a name. In fact, many names—’Attention Induced Euphoria’, ‘braingasm’, or ‘the unnamed feeling’ are all competing labels that haven’t caught on in the same way as ASMR.”

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Read it at BBC Future


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