Now Computers Can Tell When You're Bored

Scientific American

Boredom manifests itself in more than yawns and glazed eyes. Subtle body cues called noninstrumental movements—squirming, scratching, shifting—also give away a person's mental state. Like teachers and other public speakers, machines can now also pick up on these telltale signs of restlessness. A new study reveals that when computer users tune in to on-screen material, their fidgeting lessens—and algorithms can use that information to discern attentiveness in real time.
To measure engagement, psychobiologist Harry Witchel of Brighton and Sussex Medical School in England and his colleagues outfitted 27 participants with motion-tracking markers that a computer's visual system could follow. The participants then read digital excerpts from a novel by Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and from the European Banking Authority's regulations. Based on motion in the head, torso and legs, the computer could tell when a person had mentally checked out. In fact, an analysis of the cumulative movements revealed that when people read from the novel, they fidgeted nearly 50 percent less than when reading the banking guidelines.

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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Why are we so bored?

We live in a world of constant entertainment – but is too much stimulation boring?

Although we seem to live in a varied and exciting world with a wealth of entertainment at our fingertips, this is actually the problem. Many of these amusements are obtained in remarkably similar ways – via our fingers. We spend much of our work life now tapping away at our keyboard. We then look for stimulation (watching movies, reading books, catching the news, interacting with friends) via the internet or our phone, which means more tapping. On average we spend six to seven hours in front of our phone, tablet, computer and TV screens every day.

All this is simply becoming boring. Instead of performing varied activities that engage different neural systems (sport, knitting, painting, cooking, etc) to relieve our tedium, we fall back on the same screen-tapping schema for much of our day. The irony is that while our mobile devices should allow us to fill every moment, our means of obtaining that entertainment has become so repetitive and routine that it’s a source of boredom in itself.

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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Bilinguals Are Better Negotiators

Ingenious researchers have found that sometimes decision-making in a foreign language is actually better. Researchers at the University of Chicago gave subjects a test with certain traps—easy-looking “right” answers that turned out to be wrong. Those taking it in a second language were more likely to avoid the trap and choose the right answer. Fluid thinking, in other words, has its down-side, and deliberateness an advantage. And one of the same researchers found that even in moral decision-making—such as whether it would be acceptable to kill someone with your own hands to save a larger number of lives—people thought in a more utilitarian, less emotional way when tested in a foreign language. An American working in Denmark says he insisted on having salary negotiations in Danish—asking for more in English was excruciating to him.

 

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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The Surprising Habits Of Original Thinkers

How do creative people come up with great ideas? Organizational psychologist Adam Grant studies "originals": thinkers who dream up new ideas and take action to put them into the world. In this TED talk, learn three unexpected habits of originals — including embracing failure. "The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most, because they're the ones who try the most," Grant says. "You need a lot of bad ideas in order to get a few good ones."

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Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz has always been an autodidact with an eclectic array of interests. Fascinated with technology, advertising and culture he has forged a career that combines them all. In 1991 Antonio developed one of the very first websites to market the arts. It was text based, only available to computer scientists, and increased attendance to the Rutgers Arts Center where he had truly begun his professional career. Since then Antonio has been an early adopter and innovator merging technology and marketing with his passion for art, culture and entertainment. For a more in-depth look at those passions, visit SmarterCreativity.com.

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