(Image: Cyrus Cornut/Dolce Vita/Picturetank) AS I sit, trying to concentrate, my toes are being very gently nibbled. It’s my dog, Jango, an intelligent working breed, and he’s telling me that he is bored. I know from experience that if I don’t take him out right now, or at least find him a toy, he will either pull my socks off and run away with them, or start barking like a beast possessed. His cousins in the wild don’t seem to suffer the same problem. Coyotes spend 90 per cent of their time apparently doing nothing, but never seem to get fed up, according to Marc Bekoff at the University of Colorado in Boulder, who has studied them for years. “They might be lying down but their eyes are moving and their heads are moving and they are constantly vigilant,” he says. Trapped indoors, Jango has little to be vigilant about, and a lot of spare mental capacity. Bored office workers everywhere will know the feeling. “Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience” Walter Benjamin We tend to think of boredom as a price we pay for being intelligent and self-aware. Clearly we aren’t the only species to suffer. Yet, given how common this emotion is in daily life, it’s surprising how little attention it has received. Now that is changing and, as interest increases, researchers are addressing some fascinating questions. What exactly is boredom? Why are some people more prone to it than others? What is it for? Is it a good or bad thing? And what can we do to resist it when it strikes?