Research suggests boredom could play a role in facilitating sadistic behavior

A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology points to a new possible cause of sadistic behavior: boredom.

According to a team of researchers at Aarhus University, the feeling of boredom could be a contributing factor in the onset of sadistic behaviors.

The findings were the result of an examination of nine separate studies, including pre-existing self-report assessments of personality traits and also empirical research.

“Across 9 diverse studies, we provide correlational and experimental evidence for a link between boredom and sadism,” the study says. “We demonstrate that sadistic tendencies are more pronounced among people who report chronic proneness to boredom in everyday life.”

The results of the study suggest that excitatory stimuli and novelty seeking may mediate the effects of boredom, resulting in sadism.

“Overall, the present work contributes to a better understanding of sadism and highlights the destructive potential of boredom. We discuss implications for basic research on sadism and boredom, as well as applied implications for society at large,” researchers concluded.

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