剑桥雅思13Test1Passage2阅读原文翻译 Why being bored is stimulating and useful too
剑桥雅思13 Test1 Passage2阅读原文翻译
We all know how it feels – it’s impossible to keep your mind on anything, time stretches out, and all the things you could do seem equally unlikely to make you feel better. But defining boredom so that it can be studied in the lab has proved difficult. For a start, it can include a lot of other mental states, such as frustration, apathy, depression and indifference. There isn’t even agreement over whether boredom is always a low-energy, flat kind of emotion or whether feeling agitated and restless counts as boredom, too. In his book, Boredom: A Lively History, Peter Toohey at the University of Calgary, Canada, compares it to disgust – an emotion that motivates us to stay away from certain situations. ‘If disgust protects humans from infection, boredom may protect them from “infectious” social situations,’ he suggests.
我们都知道这种感觉——无法集中注意力到任何事情上，时间变得格外迟缓，所有事情都似乎无法让自己感觉好受一些。但要定义厌烦这种情绪，以便它可以在实验室里接受研究，却被证明十分困难。首先，它包含许多其他精神状态，如沮丧、冷漠、压抑和漠不关心。人们甚至对于“厌烦是否总是一种低能量、平淡的情绪状态”，或者“焦躁不安、坐立不宁是否算作厌烦”都存在争议。加拿大卡尔加里大学的Peter Toohey在其著作《厌烦：一段鲜活的历史》中将它与厌恶（一种促使我们脱离特定情景的情绪）进行了比较。 他提出：“如果厌恶保护人类免受感染，那么厌烦可能保护他们远离“感染性”的社会情景。
By asking people about their experiences of boredom, Thomas Goetz and his team at the University of Konstanz in Germany have recently identified five distinct types: indifferent, calibrating, searching, reactant and apathetic. These can be plotted on two axes – one running left to right, which measures low to high arousal, and the other from top to bottom, which measures how positive or negative the feeling is. Intriguingly, Goetz has found that while people experience all kinds of boredom, they tend to specialise in one. Of the five types, the most damaging is ‘reactant’ boredom with its explosive combination of high arousal and negative emotion. The most useful is what Goetz calls ‘indifferent’ boredom: someone isn’t engaged in anything satisfying but still feels relaxed and calm. However, it remains to be seen whether there are any character traits that predict the kind of boredom each of us might be prone to.
Psychologist Sandi Mann at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, goes further. ‘All emotions are there for a reason, including boredom,’ she says. Mann has found that being bored makes us more creative. ‘We’re all afraid of being bored but in actual fact it can lead to all kinds of amazing things,’ she says. In experiments published last year, Mann found that people who had been made to feel bored by copying numbers out of the phone book for 15 minutes came up with more creative ideas about how to use a polystyrene cup than a control group. This article is from Laokaoya website. Mann concluded that a passive, boring activity is best for creativity because it allows the mind to wander. In fact, she goes so far as to suggest that we should seek out more boredom in our lives.
Psychologist John Eastwood at York University in Toronto, Canada, isn’t convinced. ‘If you are in a state of mind-wandering you are not bored,’ he says. ‘In my view, by definition boredom is an undesirable state.’ That doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t adaptive, he adds. ‘Pain is adaptive – if we didn’t have physical pain, bad things would happen to us. Does that mean that we should actively cause pain? No. But even if boredom has evolved to help us survive, it can still be toxic if allowed to fester.’ For Eastwood, the central feature of boredom is a failure to put our ‘attention system’ into gear. This causes an inability to focus on anything, which makes time seem to go painfully slowly. What’s more, your efforts to improve the situation can end up making you feel worse. ‘People try to connect with the world and if they are not successful there’s that frustration and irritability,’ he says. Perhaps most worryingly, says Eastwood, repeatedly failing to engage attention can lead to a state where we don’t know what to do anymore, and no longer care.
加拿大多伦多约克大学的心理学家John Eastwood并没有被说服。他说，“如果你处于思维发散的状态，那么你并没有感到无聊。在我看来，无聊从定义上来讲是种不良的状态”。这并不必然意味着它无法被适应，他补充道。“痛苦能够被适应 – 如果我们感受不到身体疼痛的话，坏事就会发生。这难道意味着我们应该主动触发疼痛吗？不。但即便无聊已经进化到可以帮助我们生存，如果任由其发展的话，仍然是有害的”。对于Eastwood来说，无聊的核心特征是无法正常运转我们的注意力系统。这导致我们无法将注意力集中在任何事情上，使得时间似乎慢的让人痛苦。此外，改善该情况的努力可能反而让你感觉更差。“人们努力与世界联系，如果失败的话，就会感到沮丧和易怒”，他说。Eastwood认为，或许最让人担心的是，集中注意力反复失败会导致一种不知道该做什么，也不再关心的状态。
Eastwood’s team is now trying to explore why the attention system fails. It’s early days but they think that at least some of it comes down to personality. Boredom proneness has been linked with a variety of traits. People who are motivated by pleasure seem to suffer particularly badly. Other personality traits, such as curiosity, are associated with a high boredom threshold. More evidence that boredom has detrimental effects comes from studies of people who are more or less prone to boredom. It seems those who bore easily face poorer prospects in education, their career and even life in general. But of course, boredom itself cannot kill – it’s the things we do to deal with it that may put us in danger. What can we do to alleviate it before it comes to that? Goetz’s group has one suggestion. Working with teenagers, they found that those who ‘approach’ a boring situation-in other words, see that it’s boring and get stuck in any way -report less boredom than those who try to avoid it by using snacks, TV or social media for distraction.
Eastwood的团队如今正在努力探索为什么注意力系统会失效。虽然为时尚早，但他们认为至少部分原因可以归结为性格。无聊倾向已经与多种性格特点联系起来。受到快乐驱动的人们似乎尤其糟糕。其他性格特点，比如好奇，则不那么容易无聊。更多无聊有害的证据来自于对那些或多或少有无聊倾向的人群的研究。大体而言，似乎那些容易无聊的人在教育、职业发展、甚至生活方面的前景更差。但当然，无聊自身并没有负面影响 – 反而是那些我们为了应对它而做的事情可能将我们置于危险之中。那么在它达到这种程度之前，我们能做些什么来缓解呢？Goetz的团队给出如下建议，跟青少年待在一起。他们发现与那些利用零食、电视或社交媒体分散注意力从而努力避免无聊的人群相比，那些“接近”无聊状态的人 – 换句话说，认为其无聊，但仍然身陷其中的人 – 更少感到无聊。
Psychologist Francoise Wemelsfelder speculates that our over-connected lifestyles might even be a new source of boredom. ‘In modern human society there is a lot of overstimulation but still a lot of problems finding meaning,’ she says. So instead of seeking yet more mental stimulation, perhaps we should leave our phones alone, and use boredom to motivate us to engage with the world in a more meaningful way.