People who are more prone to boredom, the authors report, are more likely to be narcissistic or hostile, and “some forms of aggression could be viewed as attempts to redress the lack of meaning that is associated with boredom”. So they identify boredom – in its existential mode as a sense of the meaninglessness of life – as one possible driving force behind tribalism and xenophobia. Did boredom, after all, lead to Brexit? Certainly one plausible hypothesis for why so many people voted for Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, I’d suggest, is that voters were profoundly bored with a world in which nothing very important ever seemed to happen, so why not vote for a leader who would at least be entertaining? The events of this year, of course, illustrate at least one problem with that reasoning.