Index of Boredom

In 1957, advertiser John P. Cunningham came up with the concept of an "Index of Boredom" in an attempt to quantify how bored TV viewers were while watching shows. His research team studied 160 viewers in New Brunswick, NJ, and concluded that the most boring show on TV was Milton Berle, while the least boring show was "I Remember Mama".

But they also came across an unexpected finding: people would continue to watch TV shows even if they found them boring.

Perhaps the strangest fact to emerge from the reports was that people watch programs even though they are tired of them. Some of those surveyed were quite hostile to the spate of westerns on TV, but they watched westerns anyway.

Deseret News - Oct 29, 1957

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Jan 31, 2021
     Category: Boredom | Television | Psychology | 1950s

I remember a study made of the optimum number of characters in an ensemble presentation turned out to be seven. Afterwards I made a count of characters in popular television shows and, sure enough, it turned out to be seven. The dynamics between the characters was the deciding factor, not the settings.
Posted by KDP on 01/31/21 at 10:39 AM
Looks like the newspaper writer may have suffered from boredom while writing his story. That could explain this typo: "The boderom study used a smaller sample..."
Posted by Fritz on 01/31/21 at 11:10 AM
I don't know if it's a typo or a Freudian slip, but ". . . the spate of westerns on TX . . ." bothers me. Where else would you expect westerns? ME, VT, and NH aren't exactly known for their wide open spaces.
Posted by Phideaux on 01/31/21 at 04:05 PM
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