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Boredom theory

July 26, 2008

Re "The 411 to avoid boredom," Opinion, July 19

Irving Biederman states that human beings seek information to get the accompanying hit of brain opioids and therefore are obsessed with staying connected.

I draw a different conclusion. Scientists have noted similar brain opioid levels in advanced meditators, who make a practice of not processing any information during meditation. A feeling of completion can be gained from integrating and then letting go of a new experience -- and this completion seems to be what actually generates the opioid reaction.

I think this hypothesis is bolstered by the fact that many very stressful experiences provide a lot of novelty but don't seem to produce much of an opioid effect, only post-traumatic stress.

Considering these factors, the onset of "boredom" (read: completion) that follows an experience may actually be what produces the opioid high.

William D. Campbell

Los Angeles

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