Dr. John Eastwood is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of clinical psychology at York University. At York he coordinates the Psychology Specialized Honours Program and teaches psychotherapy to doctoral students. Together with a team of young adults, researchers, health professionals, youth engagement experts and community partners, he is a co-investigator on a CIHR and Mental Health Commission of Canada funded projected – Mobilizing Minds; which is a multi-year, multi-province knowledge mobilization research project focusing on young adult mental health (depression.informedchoices.ca). In clinical practice, Dr. Eastwood offers psychotherapy to help adults recover from anxiety, depression, and relationship problems (eastwoodpsychologists.com). The overarching objective of Dr. Eastwood’s research is to understand how emotion and attention processes interact. More specifically, he studies how attention is allocated to affective and socially relevant information, the influence of mood and motivation on attention, as well as affective consequences of attention failures. Currently, Dr. Eastwood is actively pursuing two research projects. The first examines how a person’s emotional state impacts attention processes – with a focus on boredom in particular. The second project seeks to understand and model how a client’s emotional state changes, moment by moment, over the course of successful and unsuccessful sessions of psychotherapy.
Cory Gerritsen, M.A. I’m working toward my Ph.D. in clinical psychology as Dr. Eastwood’s graduate student, and am currently a psychology intern in the Complex Mental Illness (CMI) program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). My research interests include motivational and volitional aspects of schizophrenia, boredom among people with severe mental illness, and the experience of agency in those with psychoses and among the general population. My other interests include psychoanalysis, the mind-brain relationship and professional issues in psychology. With the boredom lab, I have conducted studies assessing the relationship between boredom proneness and functional outcomes in chronic schizophrenia, and whether different cognitive processes underlie different kinds of proneness to boredom. In my dissertation research, I will further examine boredom in schizophrenia as a marker that may differentiate individuals with low motivation from those with high motivation who may have difficulty acting on their intentions.
Sanaz Mehranvar, M.A. My research explores the concept of boredom neither as a psychological or biological construct that inheres within an individual, but as an experience both created and made meaningful through societal expectations and values – the social discourse of boredom. A key objective is to develop a layered interpretation of boredom, primarily by delineating the boundaries of the experience based on an application of variations at the cultural level. Since some researchers (e.g. Spacks, 1995) have argued that the rise in boredom is a consequence of an over-expansion of individualism, I set out to examine boredom as experienced within collectivist cultures. To this end, I evaluate the experience and its various correlates as these manifest across different cultural groups, specifically in a Canadian context. I also go beyond national borders and contrast boredom as perceived by members of the K’iche Indigenous peoples of Guatemala about their experiences with boredom. Potential contributions of my analysis include the articulation of a more nuanced definition of the concept and a more textured account of the experience across cultures.
Jennifer Hunter, M.S.W. “All symptoms are a kind of geography. They take a person in certain directions, to certain places and not to others…The symptom, in other words, if it works, if it becomes sufficiently unbearable, forces a person to recognize that he has projects. There are certain things that for some reason he really seems to want” (Adam Phillips, Houdini’s Box (2001), p. 153). I am fascinated by the ‘symptom’ or opportunity of boredom: what boredom might be able to tell us (if we can listen) about our hopes, fears, and desires. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to study boredom, and to do so with such a wonderful group of people. I received a BA (Honours) in English from the University of Toronto in 2010, a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto in 2012, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Psychology from York University in 2013. Currently, I am in the first year of York University’s Master of Arts in Psychology (Clinical Stream).
Kimberley Mercer-Lynn, M.A. I am pursuing my Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and am currently a psychology intern at the London Clinical Psychology Residency Consortium in the Operational Stress Injuries Clinic, DBT Clinic, and CBT Clinic. Broadly speaking, my research interests relate to the measurement and phenomenology of boredom. For my Master’s thesis, I investigated whether existing self-report boredom scales measure distinct types of boredom, and through this research, we began to clarify what these types are. I have also been involved in projects examining the potential causes of boredom, as well as the link between boredom and various behavioural and emotional problems (e.g., problem gambling, depression, anxiety). In addition, I am also interested in studying psychotherapy processes that contribute to good versus poor therapy outcome. For my dissertation research, I am examining client affect as a therapeutic process and the role it plays in the therapeutic alliance and therapy outcome across stages and types of therapy.
Carol Cavaliere, M.A. I am a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology, currently completing my residency year at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, with rotations at the Forensic and Secure Treatment Units in Brockville and the Mood Disorders Program in Ottawa. My research interests include psychotherapy process research, particularly qualitative methods aimed at examining the client’s perspective of factors contributing to the development and maintenance of the therapeutic relationship. Clinically speaking, I am interested in assessment and treatment issues in a forensic context, including the unique challenges related to establishing and maintaining a strong therapeutic alliance with adult male offenders. As a part of Dr. Eastwood’s boredom research team, I have investigated the complex ways in which the emotional experience of boredom is related to both alexithymia and traumatic experiencing.