Posted by & filed under Industrial Organizational Psychology, Social Cognition, The Self.

Description: So here are two questions to consider as you read this article. The first is a technical one; how is it that computers might be able to detect whether or not someone looking at it is board? The second question is a little broader; what might it mean if our computers and more importantly the websites we visit were able to tell when we’re bored and we were engaged in material being presented there?

Source: Computers can detect boredom by how much you fidget, Josie Gurney – Reid, The Telegraph

Date: February 27, 2016

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Links: Article Link —

What aspects of your body language indicate whether you report or engaged in whatever activity you’re involved with? Of those signs, are there some that we could develop computer programs to detect? If we could, what uses might such software have? These are questions considered in relation to the research described in the article linked above. The ability to detect boredom, emotions, and other aspects of human experience are an ongoing part of human social interaction but now it seems they also become a part of our interaction with computer programs and perhaps even with companion robots. So read the article and consider having a look at the research article it refers to men think about some of the implications, positive and negative, of this research direction.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is it in our behaviour when we are bored that the computer programs studied in the article linked here are able to pick up on?
  2. What are some of the potential positive uses of this kind of computer program? (If you can think of anything have a look at some of the articles listed below).
  3. What are some of the negative or problematic potential uses of this kind of computer program?

References (Read Further):

Witchel, H. J., Ackah, J. K., Santos, C. P., Westling, C. E., & Chockalingam, N. (2016). Non-Instrumental Movement Inhibition (NIMI) differentially suppresses head and thigh movements during scenic engagement: dependence on interaction. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 157.


Tisseron, S., Tordo, F., & Baddoura, R. (2015). Testing Empathy with Robots: A Model in Four Dimensions and Sixteen Items. International Journal of Social Robotics, 7(1), 97-102.


Seo, S. H., Geiskkovitch, D., Nakane, M., King, C., & Young, J. E. (2015, March). Poor Thing! Would You Feel Sorry for a Simulated Robot?: A comparison of empathy toward a physical and a simulated robot. In Proceedings of the Tenth Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (pp. 125-132). ACM.


De Carolis, B. N., Ferilli, S., Palestra, G., & Carofiglio, V. (2015). Towards an Empathic Social Robot for Ambient Assisted Living. In [email protected] AAMAS (pp. 19-34).