Chapter

Experimental Paradigms to Investigate Flow-Experience and Its Psychophysiology: Inspired from Stress Theory and Research

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

In this chapter, we present new psychological and physiological research paradigms to assess and investigate flow-experience. We compare flow theory and research with concepts of challenge and threat, as well as with mental effort. By taking a closer look at physiological processes during challenge and threat and during mental effort, we outline physiological measures that might relate to flow-experience but have not yet been considered by flow-research yet. Also, we describe research paradigms from the research-traditions of challenge and threat and mental effort and discuss applications for flow-research. Within this chapter, we aim at stimulating experimental research on flow-experience for a better understanding of its psychological and physiological mechanisms.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Thereby, EDA is an indicator for general arousal or attention and seems to reliably capture the sympathetic activation, as Peifer (2012) these two experiences. What they emphasise is the aspect of the challenge's magnitude that differently contributes to flow-experience and stress (Tozman & Peifer, 2016). Thus, a disentanglement might be successfully challenged with the incorporation of physiological measurements of mental effort which is assumed to be low in flow-experiences (Tozman & Peifer, 2016;Romero and Calvillo-GaH mez, 2011;Swann et al., 2016). ...
... What they emphasise is the aspect of the challenge's magnitude that differently contributes to flow-experience and stress (Tozman & Peifer, 2016). Thus, a disentanglement might be successfully challenged with the incorporation of physiological measurements of mental effort which is assumed to be low in flow-experiences (Tozman & Peifer, 2016;Romero and Calvillo-GaH mez, 2011;Swann et al., 2016). Therefore, Tozman and Peifer (2016) suggest that pupil dilation, blood glucose and preejection period -another cardiovascular measurement -might help here. ...
... Thus, a disentanglement might be successfully challenged with the incorporation of physiological measurements of mental effort which is assumed to be low in flow-experiences (Tozman & Peifer, 2016;Romero and Calvillo-GaH mez, 2011;Swann et al., 2016). Therefore, Tozman and Peifer (2016) suggest that pupil dilation, blood glucose and preejection period -another cardiovascular measurement -might help here. Hence, both Knierim et al.'s (2018) and Tozman and Peifer's (2016) notions regarding their intention to unravel stress and flow incorporate cardiovascular measurements wherein a particularly often used one seems to be constituted by the HRV. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Master's Thesis by Tomko Settgast, supervised by Mathias Hegele and Dominik Endres: The text at hand investigates the possibilities to capture the so-called flow-experience without the reliance on subjective reports, i.e. it follows the intention to explore reliably and objectively measurable markers. This search especially regards neural correlates of the experience in question that have not been found yet. The text is thereby subsumed under the umbrella of enactivism since it gives similar credit to phenomenology and neuroscience, uses the description of the dynamical system’s theory and bridges the phenomenal and natural scientific aspects of cognition via an ecologically psychological sense-making. The introduction of the neurophenomenological method at the beginning of the text offers the possibility to suggest objective markers of subjective experience based on correlation. A central position within thisobjectification is given to the entropic brain hypothesis, as it is prominently represented by Carhart-Harris (2018). Its claim to connect subjective experience to the brain’s dynamically working mechanism enables its linkage to a dynamical system’s account for cognition. The dynamical attractors that the systems theory suggest for guiding behaviour is thereby easily integrated within the notions of predictive coding (i.a. Kilner, Friston, Frith, 2007; Clark, 2015) that assumes predictions to be the foundation of perception. Under the assumption of enactivism and its notion of a unity of perception and action, one gets the opportunity to translate the dynamical system’s attractors with Gibson’s (1986) idea of affordances. Thus, the brain’s dynamical working mechanism is the reflection of the phenomenal experience of affordances that guide perception and action. Especially, skilled action will be explored as the consequence of simultaneously attracting affordances which allow for the use of different strategies in pursuing a goal. This dynamically metastable attunement to different affordances (Bruineberg & Rietveld, 2014) constitutes exactly the entirety of the introduced dynamical attractors and is reflected in the brain activities’ entropy. This hypothesis is completed with the introduction of the serotonin’s and dopamine’s neuromodulation on these attractor-based affordances where those neuromodulator’s influences in perceptual guidance and behavioural selection as well as execution are emphasised. The exploration of these neurophysiological measurements enables the linkage of subjective and objective markers of flow-experience after a flow-experience’s phenomenal characterisation is given. Therefore, the outlined objective measurements are followed by an introduction of flow-experience within the notion of Csíkszentmihályi (1975). Its phenomenal characterisation and the introduced theories are used to suggest an objective measurement of flow-experience. The text uses the similarity between the flow-experience’sphenomenology and the experience of (musical) improvisation to infer a way to investigate ojectively measurable markers of flow. As it will be revealed later, this is based on the fact that the cognitive neuroscience of improvisation leads to a phenomenological experience that is summarised as the creator-witness phenomenon a fter Berkowitz (2010) what will be made fruitful as a way to investigate the state of flow. Taken together, professional musical improvisation as a specific example of skilled action shows a phenomenal proximity to flow-experience wherefore its underlying neural mechanism isinferred as the underlying mechanism of flow-experience. Hence, an objectively measurable marker of theflow’s state of mind will be explored in the increase of the brain activities’ entropy that reflects an increase in themetastable attunement to different but simultaneously visible affordances.
... The intrinsic enjoyment is considered to be rooted in the experience of competence (self-satisfaction from mastering a difficult task at the edge of one's abilities, but also cognitive efficiency -see Harris, Vine, and Wilson, 2017b). Conversely, flow is considered to feel "good" through the absence of self-conscious and ruminative thoughts (Sadlo, 2016), and the absence of threat (Tozman and Peifer, 2016). In the latter view, flow is attributed to a positive form of stress (similar to the concept of eustress -see Selye, 1980). ...
... The two main related fields that we found are those of stress research and mental effort or cognitive workload. Both are discussed in Tozman and Peifer (2016) for their relations to flow research. The main differences between the work in these fields pertain to the operationalisation of moderate difficulty conditions and high difficulty conditions. ...
... The main differences between the work in these fields pertain to the operationalisation of moderate difficulty conditions and high difficulty conditions. For the former, the specific extension in flow research is the inclusion of calibration and adaptive "optimal" difficulty conditions (Tozman and Peifer, 2016;Keller, 2016;Moller, Meier, and Wall, 2010). For high difficulty conditions in flow research, importance is placed on creating conditions that elicit high demand, without excessive difficulty, to keep participants engaged (Keller, 2016). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The experience of flow is a unique sensation of complete task absorption and effortless action that is highlighted as a correlate of peak performances, personal and social growth, and general well-being. For organisations, higher flow frequencies, therefore, relate to a more engaged, skilled, and productive workforce. Especially as global phenomena like increasing knowledge work demand and low worker engagement are developing, organisations could strongly benefit from fostering workers’ flow experiences. However, facilitating flow represents a substantial challenge due to the variety of workers’ abilities, tasks and workplace configurations. Knowledge workers are faced with unstructured and complex tasks, that require numerous domain-specific abilities and cooperation with others. Workplaces are diversifying with boundaries disappearing between centralized and digitally-mediated workspaces. This variety means that only person-, task- and situation-independent approaches can deliver comprehensive flow support. For this reason, research on the experiences neurophysiological basis is increasingly pursued. On this basis, adaptive Neuro-Information Systems (NeuroIS) could be developed that are able to detect flow continuously (especially through wearable sensor systems), and that can provide flow-supporting mechanisms. Presently, despite these efforts, the knowledge on how to detect flow with neurophysiological measures is sparse, highly fragmented, and lacks experimental variety. On the individual level, competing propositions exist that have not been consolidated through cross-situational, and multi-sensor observation. On the group level, almost no research has been conducted to investigate neurophysiological correlates in social interactions, particularly not in digitally-mediated interactions. This dissertation addresses these gaps through the cross-situational observation of flow using wearable ECG and EEG sensor systems. In doing so, limitations in the present state of experimental flow research are addressed that refer to central shortcomings of established paradigms for the controlled elicitation of flow experiences. Specifically, two experiments are conducted with manipulations of difficulty, naturalism, autonomy, and social interaction to investigate the question of how flow elicitation can be intensified, and the experience detected more robustly across situations. These investigations are based on an extensive integration of the theoretic and empiric literature on flow neurophysiology. Altogether, the results suggest flow to be represented by moderate physiological activation and mental workload, by increased attentional task engagement and by affective neutrality. Especially EEG features indicate a diagnostic potential to separate lower from higher flow intensities by the reflection of optimal and non-optimal (individual and group) task difficulties. To catalyse, that the positive promises of fostering flow in individuals and social units, can be realised, avenues to advance flow facilitation research are outlined.
... Further, when individuals are in flow, relevant interruptions are able to mitigate the disruptive effects of interruptions by providing relevant content to primary task (Czerwinski et al., 2000). Moreover, flow theory has also been linked to stress, in that, flow occurs at moderate stress-levels (Tozman and Peifer, 2016). Following this line of arguing and building upon recent findings in literature linking interruptions with relevant content to only marginal amounts of stress (flow) (Galluch et al., 2015), we propose: ...
... To control for extraneous variation, we will capture standard demographics (gender and age) to test for differences in our model, while holding the physical environment constant (e.g., noise, lighting, and temperature). Further, because research recently linked flow theory to stress and cognitive load, we will also capture this constructs as controls (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Peifer, 2012;Tozman and Peifer, 2016). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Whilst contemporary information technologies (IT) such as emails and notifications constitute an integral part of employees’ daily work and fosters ongoing connectivity and task performance, they also create unintended outcomes associated with the disruption to individuals’ primary task activities. Thereby, an increasing amount of IT-mediated interruptions are induced by contemporary real-time Enterprise Systems (ES) such as SAP S/4HANA. However, despite strong interest of scholars and practitioners in IT-mediated interruptions they are scarcely addressed in information systems (IS) research and our understanding about their nature and effects is limited. More specifically, research falls short to explain the impact of IT-mediated interruptions on the cognitive state of flow. Thus, this dissertation project follows a call for research and extends the nomological network of IT-mediated interruptions by flow theory aiming to investigate how IT-mediated interruptions are impacting flow and task performance. Overall, this dissertation project aims to inform the design of IT-mediated interruptions in an attempt to improve individuals’ flow and subsequent task performance.
... Second, the majority of studies in our SLR (14/20) used games. This is important because designing tasks that reliably induce flow states is still a major challenge in flow research [32] and game paradigms have been criticized as to not sufficiently induce straining experiences [31]. Depending on research goals (e.g., in case of separating flow from stress experiences), this spectrum might be important for flow research in IS. ...
... The inclusion of multiple criteria, e.g. dedicated, encompassing self-reports like FSS [7] or FKS [8] in conjunction with multiple task conditions (e.g., strongly varied in difficulty and coupled with intrinsic involvement [32]) are advised. In following these propositions, NeuroIS research can benefit from finding means of increased objective validity in flow measurement and also advance constructivist efforts to facilitate flow through adaptive IS. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As information systems (IS) are increasingly able to induce highly engaging and interactive experiences, the phenomenon of flow is considered a promising vehicle to understand IS user behavior and to ultimately inform the design of flow-fostering IS. However, despite growing interest of researchers in the phenomenon, knowledge about how to continuously assess flow during IS usage is limited. Hereby, recent developments in NeuroIS and psychophysiology propose novel possibilities to overcome this limitation. This article presents the results of a systematic literature review (SLR) on peripheral nervous system indicators of flow. The findings revealed that currently four major approaches exist towards physiological measurement. Propositions for simple and unobtrusive measurement in IS research are derived in conclusion.
... Second, the majority of studies in our SLR (14/20) used games. This is im- portant because designing tasks that reliably induce flow states is still a major chal- lenge in flow research [32] and game paradigms have been criticized as to not suffi- ciently induce straining experiences [31]. Depending on research goals (e.g., in case of separating flow from stress experiences), this spectrum might be important for flow research in IS. ...
... The inclusion of multiple criteria, e.g. dedicated, encompassing self-reports like FSS [7] or FKS [8] in conjunction with multiple task conditions (e.g., strongly varied in difficulty and coupled with intrinsic involvement [32]) are advised. In following these propositions, NeuroIS research can benefit from finding means of increased objective validity in flow measurement and also advance constructivist efforts to facilitate flow through adaptive IS. ...
Chapter
As information systems (IS) are increasingly able to induce highly engaging and interactive experiences, the phenomenon of flow is considered a promising vehicle to understand IS user behavior and to ultimately inform the design of flow-fostering IS. However, despite growing interest of researchers in the phenomenon, knowledge about how to continuously assess flow during IS usage is limited. Hereby, recent developments in NeuroIS and psychophysiology propose novel possibilities to overcome this limitation. This article presents the results of a systematic literature review (SLR) on peripheral nervous system indicators of flow. The findings revealed that currently four major approaches exist towards physiological measurement. Propositions for simple and unobtrusive measurement in IS research are derived in conclusion.
... Furthermore, research linking flow to stress through physiological measurements, has found a relationship between flow, stress, and physiological correlates such as decreased heart rate variability, increased respiratory depth, and increased low and high frequency ratio of heart rate variability (LF/HF ratio) (Bian et al., 2016;de Manzano, Theorell, Harmat & Ullén, 2010;Harmat, et al., 2015;Keller et al., 2011;Peifer, 2012;Peifer, Schulz, Schächinger, Baumann & Antoni, 2014;Tozman, Magdas, MacDougall & Vollemeyer, 2015;Tozman & Peifer, 2016). These indicators are associated with the physiological response seen during high mental workload states (Lean & Shan, 2012;Mandrick, Peysakhovich, Rémy, Lepron & Causse, 2016;Matthews, Reinerman-Jones, Barber & Abich, 2015). ...
... Effort, as a reflection of the cognitive resources needed for the task (Kahneman, 1973), is accompanied by physiological arousal, which is related to stress (Hancock & Szalma, 2008;Hancock & Warm, 1989;Tozman & Peifer, 2016;Warm, Parasuraman & Matthews, 2008). When task demand increases to a high and unsustainable level, through a controlled cognitive process (Fisk & Schneider, 1981;, individuals can either increase their effort to match the demand or change their intrinsic goals, by altering that goal and thus, their individual performance standards (Hancock & Caird, 1993;Hockey, 1997). ...
Article
Research of psychological flow has seen major progress within the recent decades, portraying the peak performance associated with this psychological state. Along with its association with optimal performance, flow has been linked to effortless attention. However, recent work suggests that the state of flow can take considerable cognitive effort. In this paper, we lay the foundation for a theory of effortful attention during flow, and how this may be utilized to mitigate the performance decrement associated with highly demanding tasks such as vigilance. We suspect that the state of flow can delay the vigilance decrement, which can be of great benefit for high-stake fields requiring prolonged cognitive performance, such as air traffic management, where vigilance is vital to the safety of air traffic or nuclear plant monitoring.
... Furthermore, increased parasympathetic activation (as indexed with high frequency heart rate variability) was associated with increased flow (Peifer et al., 2014). Taken together with the findings of de Manzano et al. (2010), it is hypothesized that flow is characterized by an inverted u-shaped relationship with sympathetic arousal and cortisol together with a parasympathetic co-activation (Peifer, 2012;Peifer et al., 2014;Tozman & Peifer, 2016). However, other findings on HRV revealed inconsistent results. ...
... Tozman and colleagues' participants were professional chess players who had to play chess, which is a highly relevant activity for them. Accordingly, an overload condition of this highly relevant activity would, in comparison, rather increase stress and cortisol (compare Tozman & Peifer, 2016). In line with this, task relevance has been identified as a moderator of the relationship between difficulty and flow experience (Engeser & Rheinberg, 2008). ...
Chapter
Flow—the pleasant state of absorption of a person with an activity—has rarely been investigated from a physiological perspective. However, interest in such studies is growing fast. Only recently, researchers started to apply psychophysiological measures to study flow-experiences. In order to contribute to this ongoing research, this chapter aims to report and integrate existing theories and findings concerning the physiology of flow-experience and to stimulate further investigation. The first part of this chapter will give an overview about existing literature explicitly dealing with the psychophysiology of flow. A theoretical psychophysiological framework is then developed on the basis of prominent stress theories. The third part discusses physiological correlates of flow, integrating existing literature on flow and related concepts such as attention and cognitive control. The chapter ends with an integrative definition of flow-experience, practical implications, and an outlook on future research perspectives.
... Flow as well as the LC-NE exploitation mode both strongly depend on a match between skill level and task challenge (e.g., difficulty). To illustrate, in laboratory studies on flow, researchers usually compare different conditions (Ulrich et al., 2014(Ulrich et al., , 2016Tozman and Peifer, 2016;Katahira et al., 2018). This often involves an underload or boredom condition in which the task is relatively easy, and an overload or stress/frustration condition, in which the task is too difficult. ...
... Compared to the underload and overload conditions, participants indeed show the most behavioral and subjective flow indications in the flow condition (Ulrich et al., 2014(Ulrich et al., , 2016Tozman and Peifer, 2016;Katahira et al., 2018). One key insight is that the three conditions outlined above map well onto the three modes of the LC-NE system: Disengagement (similar to the boredom condition), exploitation (flow), and exploration (overload). ...
Article
Full-text available
Flow is a state of full task engagement that is accompanied with low-levels of self-referential thinking. Flow is considered highly relevant for human performance and well-being and has, therefore, been studied extensively. Yet, the neurocognitive processes of flow remain largely unclear. In the present mini-review we focus on how the brain's locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system may be involved in a range of behavioral and subjective manifestations of flow. The LC-NE system regulates decisions regarding task engagement vs. disengagement. This is done via different modes of baseline and stimulus-evoked norepinephrine release. We emphasize the theoretical and empirical overlap between the LC-NE system and flow. For both, a match between a person's skill and task challenge is important in order to induce high levels task-related attention. Moreover, psychophysiological indicators of LC-NE system activity, such as eye pupil diameter and arousal are also sensitive to flow states. Flow is related to arousal in an inverted U-shape. Similarly, in theories on the LC-NE system, task engagement is highest with intermediate levels of arousal. We argue that knowledge about the role of the LC-NE system in establishing the flow experience may help to gain fundamental knowledge of flow and can contribute to unifying various empirical findings on this topic.
... Furthermore, increased parasympathetic activation (as indexed with high frequency heart rate variability) was associated with increased flow (Peifer et al., 2014). Taken together with the findings of de Manzano et al. (2010), it is hypothesized that flow is characterized by an inverted u-shaped relationship with sympathetic arousal and cortisol together with a parasympathetic co-activation (Peifer, 2012;Peifer et al., 2014;Tozman & Peifer, 2016). However, other findings on HRV revealed inconsistent results. ...
... Tozman and colleagues' participants were professional chess players who had to play chess, which is a highly relevant activity for them. Accordingly, an overload condition of this highly relevant activity would, in comparison, rather increase stress and cortisol (compare Tozman & Peifer, 2016). In line with this, task relevance has been identified as a moderator of the relationship between difficulty and flow experience (Engeser & Rheinberg, 2008). ...
Chapter
In recent years, flow has been increasingly investigated from a physiological perspective and interest in such studies is growing fast. In order to contribute to this ongoing research, this chapter aims to report and integrate existing theories and findings concerning the physiology of flow experience and to stimulate further investigation. The first part of this chapter will give an overview about existing literature explicitly dealing with the psychophysiology of flow. Secondly, a theoretical psychophysiological framework is developed based on prominent stress theories. The third part discusses physiological correlates of flow, integrating existing literature on flow and related concepts such as stress, attention and cognitive control. The chapter ends with an integrative definition of flow experience, the proposition of a physiological flow pattern, practical implications and an outlook on future research perspectives.
... It is believed that there is a connection between the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the state of flow. Most studies of flow have indicated that there is an increased level of arousal observable in the individual, but interpretations can vary as to their explanation of how arousal states differ from experiences such as stress that would be considered as straining rather than enhancing (see review in Tozman and Peifer, 2016). Peifer et al. (2014) suggested that the relation of flow with sympathetic arousal follows an inverted U-curve rather than a linear function: moderate physiological arousal should facilitate flow-experience, whereas excessive physiological arousal should hinder flow. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of the study is to explore a new research methodology that will improve our understanding of "flow" through indicators of physiological and qualitative state. We examine indicators of "flow" experienced by musicians of a youth string quartet, two women (25, 29) and two men (23, 24). Electrocardiogram (ECG) equipment was used to record heart rate variability (HRV) data throughout the four movements in one and the same quartet performed during two concerts. Individual physiological indicators of flow were supplemented by assessments of group "state flow" (means from standardized questionnaires) and a group interview in which the musicians provided qualitative data. A matrix was constructed for the characterization of different kinds of demands in the written music in each one of the four movements for each one of the musicians. HRV derived from ECG data showed non-significant trends for group state flow across the eight musical episodes. Individual-level analysis showed that compared to the other players the first violin player had the highest mean heart rate and the lowest increase in high frequency (HF) power in HRV during this particular movement, particularly during the second concert. The qualitative data illustrated how an interplay of synchronized social interactions between this player and their colleagues during the musical performance was associated with a feeling of group state flow and served to support the first violinist. The case illustrates that the proposed mixed methodology drawing on physiological and qualitative data, has the potential to provide meaningful information about experiences of a flow state, both at individual and group levels. Applications in future research are possible.
... If research efforts are directed toward studying these 'overlaps' in greater 4 detail, it is possible that such work will lead to a more nuanced understanding of (what appear to 5 be) the common flow characteristics and antecedents outlined previously. For instance, the evidence 6 relating to optimal challenge and arousal within flow appears to have connections to research on 7 stress and optimal functioning (Tozman & Peifer, 2016). Specifically, the notions of 'challenge' 8 within the transactional-stress model (Lazarus, 1993;Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), 'eustress' within 9 ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on psychological flow is well established, although criticisms remain regarding conceptual and measurement issues associated with the construct. This scoping review maps flow-related research across scientific disciplines, examining the conceptualization, measurement instruments, and outcomes of flow between 2012 and 2019. Across 236 sources that met the review criteria, 108 different flow-related constructs were measured by 141 instruments, and 84 possible antecedents were identified. Despite the varied approaches, a common set of overarching antecedent constructs included "optimal challenge" and "high motivation," and recurring characteristics of the flow experience itself included "absorption," "effort-less control," and "intrinsic reward." Applied studies-albeit inconsistent in approach and largely correlational in nature-predominantly linked flow to "positive development" (i.e., well-being and health), "high functioning," and "further engagement." We contextualize the findings of the review relative to important work on flow that has recently emerged (following the review period)-in doing so, we hope this review offers a contemporary framework that can be used for the study of flow across scientific disciplines. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Engeser and Rheinberg (2008) hypothesized that a fit of skills and demands should facilitate the experience of flow exclusively when the task is perceived as rather unimportant (e.g., playing a computer game could be interpreted as rather unimportant as typically little is at stake; cf. Tozman & Peifer, 2016). The authors suggested that when an activity is perceived as important, flow experience should be facilitated under conditions where skills exceed situational demands. ...
Chapter
In this chapter, we analyze flow with respect to three aspects. First, we examine the basis for flow experiences to emerge. We focus our discussion on the situational antecedents of flow and emphasize the fact that the emergence of flow is basically dependent on a perceived fit of skills and task demands. Thereby we critically discuss the “above average” perspective and the related quadrant and octant models of flow highlighting the fact that the “above average” notion is based on problematic assumptions. Further, we discuss the concept of flow intensity and propose a revised flow model, which builds on the original notion of perceived fit of skills and task demands and includes the value attributed to the relevant activity as additional crucial factor. Second, we address boundary conditions of the flow experience, emphasizing the role of both personality and situational factors that qualify the relation between a perceived skills-demands fit and flow. Third, we critically review the available evidence on affective, cognitive and performance-related consequences resulting from flow or a compatibility of skills and demands. In addition, we highlight obstacles in the research exploring these consequences of flow and discuss first starting points to circumvent these.
... Furthermore, it is also included in psychology textbooks that have been translated to multiple languages including Polish (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 1994, French (Leyens & Yzerbyt, 1997), German (Lewin, 1986;Krämer, 2008), and Czech (Tod et al., /2012. ZHH also continues to be cited in textbooks which have been published within the last five years (Stangor, 2016;Tozman & Peifer 2016) as well a forthcoming textbook (Garcia, Reese, & Tor, in press). ...
Article
Replication of classic study related to cockroaches demonstrating social facilitation by Zajonc., Heingartner, & Herman.
... Furthermore, it is also included in psychology textbooks that have been translated to multiple languages including Polish (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 1994, French (Leyens & Yzerbyt, 1997), German (Lewin, 1986;Krämer, 2008), and Czech (Tod et al., /2012. ZHH also continues to be cited in textbooks which have been published within the last five years (Stangor, 2016;Tozman & Peifer 2016) as well a forthcoming textbook (Garcia, Reese, & Tor, in press). ...
Article
What are the underlying mechanisms driving social facilitation? Some social psychologists have proposed that social facilitation may be driven by basic mechanisms such as the level of arousal produced by the presence of an audience, while others have ascribed it to more socially and cognitively complex drivers such as a self-aware quest for social approval. In a now seminal study, Zajonc, Heingartner, and Herman (ZHH) (1969) demonstrated that the audience effect of social facilitation was exhibited in the Blatta orientalis cockroach: cockroaches were faster to complete a simple task (traversing a runway) when among other cockroaches than when alone, yet slower when the task was complex (traversing a maze). This finding suggested that arousal was a likely driver of social facilitation in the cockroach (since self-aware mechanisms were unlikely to apply). It also invited consideration of the possibility that arousal may be a contributing factor to social facilitation in humans. Despite ZHH’s influence, a faithful direct replication has never been attempted. Such a replication is crucial in illuminating the underlying drivers of social facilitation.
... Besides flow assessment, flow induction has also been studied. In these studies [e.g., [38,39]] participants are usually asked to engage in a task. More precisely in the video games field, other studies [13,25] created different versions of a specific video game to lead users to certain mental states or feelings. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Often video games fail to attract a wider range of consumers because people become uninvolved when they fail to meet the in-game difficulty. This dissertation addresses the problem of the in-game difficulty not being correctly adapted to the gamers, leading to their uninterest for not having their skills balanced with the challenge of the game. This balance is one of the conditions that lead people to flow, which is the mental state associated with optimal enjoyment of an activity. In our work, we study if flow may be relevant for gameplay adaptability and may offer a better gaming experience, since it provides a better enjoyment of an activity. We created a hypothesis to verify if a game that adapts its parameters to a representation of the mental state of the player following the flow theory can provide a better gaming experience compared to a game that adapts to their performance. We developed a first-person shooter video game that adapts its in-game difficulty and environmental settings based on a representation of their mental state to keep a balance between the skills of the player and the challenge of the game. The mental state of the player is measured with their physiological signals, namely the heart rate and the beta band of the brainwaves, and we distinguish the mental state of the player with an accuracy of 87%. We also conducted an evaluation using self-perceived flow and in-game scores as metrics to compare the mental state-based adaptability with a performance-based version. Results show that the latter provided a better gaming experience.
... Inwieweit sich eine Person mit ihrer Tätigkeit identifizieren kann, scheint daher ein wichtiges Merkmal zu sein, wie sehr und eventuell wie oft Flow erlebt werden kann. Verschiedene Arbeiten haben sich bisher mit dem Interesse an der Ausführung (Bricteux et al., 2016) und der Relevanz der Aufgabe beschäftigt (Tozman & Peifer, 2016 Csikszentmihalyi (1990), dass Flow-Erleben als Coping-Strategie fungieren kann und damit Stresserleben reduziert. Auch Hypothese 4 konnte bestätigt werden. ...
... This could potentially be realized using physiological measures; studies show that flow is associated with various physiological indicators [21,38], including heart rate variability [19], electrodermal activity, respiration [39], blinking rate [40] and facial muscle activation [39,41,42]. Other indicators that were not particularly described for flow but rather for motivated performance include cardiovascular parameters such as heart rate, ventricular contractility, heart beat volume, and total peripheral resistance [43,44]. In terms of brain physiology we also find associations with flow (compare [21] and Sect. ...
Chapter
Motivation explains the direction, intensity and persistence of human behavior and thus plays a crucial role in the mobilization and allocation of available energy. An experience that occurs during motivated action is flow. Flow is perceived as highly rewarding for its own sake and, thus, in flow all attention is directed towards the task at hand, leading to an experience of absorption. At the same time, attention is shielded from irrelevant stimuli and the activity feels easy and effortless. This suggests that flow is a highly efficient state in terms of energy expenditure. Studies addressing the physiology of flow support this assumption. Accordingly, for an optimal use of energy, it is of interest to promote flow in relevant work processes. In HCI, for example, in production work, flow promotion could be enabled by a real-time measure of the operator’s flow state in combination with automated adjustments in the work system to achieve, sustain, or extend flow. Such a real-time measure should not interrupt a person, as traditional self-report measures do. A combination of physiological measures (e.g., heart rate variability, skin conductance, and blink rate) provides a promising starting point to find such a real-time measure. Automated adjustments first require the identification of design approaches that affect flow within the work system. Using the example of work in manufacturing, the concept of flow, its measurement, and potential design approaches for automated adaptation are presented, and their application in HCI processes is discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Recently, I have introduced the notion of a miniature of a boundary situation (Dimkov, 2018). It views the process of creativity as a miniature of a boundary situation, in which the ideas of Karl Jaspers and Sigmund Freud are combined. Thus, the miniature represents a problem-solving situation via the means of a regression in the name of the ego or a third thought process (Dimkov, 2016). In such situations of creativity, one is forging a new worldview or a Weltanschauung by discovering new knowledge. The third thought process, as well as the miniature of the boundary situation, can be experienced only inward and subjectively by personal immersion in the situation, they lie outside the scope of objectification and they receive meaning only from a concrete personality and a concrete miniature situation, but their product is objective, it is a creative product. In this sense, heuristic methods do fail in boundary situations. Moderate stress is inherent to the boundary situation, the phenomenon of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013) and its miniature, in which quantitative accumulations lead to qualitative changes, laying on a single continuum. Such a continuum is constructed nowadays in phenomenological psychiatry. In conclusion, the creative process viewed as moderate stress represents an intellectualizing of the miniature of a boundary situation or a sublimation.
Article
Purpose This services marketing research provides a theoretical framework for experiential and relationship marketing and extends the theory of transcendent customer experience (TCE). Specifically, this paper aims to identify how the drivers (emotional intelligence [EI]), outcomes (customer loyalty, willingness to pay and word of mouth [WOM] intentions) and influences (openness to experience) of TCE are integrated. The research contributes to the theoretical debate regarding ability-based and self-reported EI measures by examining their influence on TCE. Design/methodology/approach Students and general consumers provided data through structured online surveys in three survey-based experiments. Linear and multiple regressions, mediation analyses and simple effects tests were used for data analysis. Findings Findings suggest that self-reported and ability-based measures of EI influence TCE differently. Participants who had high self-reported EI evaluated positive service encounters as more transcendent than they evaluated negative service encounters. Participants who had high ability-based EI evaluated positive service encounters as less transcendent than they evaluated negative service encounters. TCE experiences evoked higher loyalty, willingness to pay (WTP) and WOM recommendations. Furthermore, dispositional factors were significant in forming TCE: participants who were highly open to experience and had high ability-based EI interpreted their service encounter as less transcendent than did participants who were more closed to experience and had low ability-based EI. Research limitations/implications TCE, a relatively new concept, offers theoretical advancement in context and constructs. The student-provided data gave high internal validity; the general consumer-provided data gave external validity. Ideally, a future field study in an actual consumption setting should replicate the findings. A self-reported questionnaire used to measure constructs may have introduced common method variance that biased the results. Practical implications By understanding that EI affects perceptions of transcendence in positive/negative service encounters, marketers can better implement consumer-oriented marketing strategies that will enhance TCE, customer loyalty, WTP and WOM. Originality/value Despite considerable research in experiential and relationship marketing, room remains for theoretical and practical enhancement in the under-researched concept of TCE. This research is the first attempt to extend TCE theory to marketing by identifying the drivers, outcomes and moderators of TCE in service encounters. The research also provides theoretical advancement in EI research. The results contradict previous research claiming that ability-based and self-reported measures are equally valid. Instead, using the two EI scales interchangeably leads to potentially different outcomes.
Chapter
Full-text available
Der Vollzug einer Tätigkeit kann positive Anreize haben und eine Person kann schon deshalb aktiv werden, weil der Vollzug der Tätigkeit an sich Freude macht. Diese Veranlassung von Handlungen wird oft als intrinsische Motivation bezeichnet. Neben diesem Verständnis von intrinsischer Motivation werden weitere Auffassungen vorgestellt (Selbstbestimmung, Kompetenzerleben, Interesse und Involviertheit, Mittel-Zweck-Übereinstimmung, Lernzielorientierung). Dabei wird das Problem deutlich, dass unter „intrinsischer Motivation“ Unterschiedliches, teilweise Widersprüchliches verstanden wird. Im Erweiterten Kognitiven Motivationsmodell werden verschiedene Aspekte von Motivation theoretisch eingeordnet und statt von intrinsischer wird von tätigkeitszentrierter Motivation gesprochen. Qualitative und quantitative Zugänge zur Erfassung des Anreizes des Tätigkeitsvollzugs werden ausgeführt und abschließend ein besonders intensiv erforschter Tätigkeitsanreiz, das Flow-Erleben, vorgestellt.
Chapter
Full-text available
The performance of an activity can have positive incentives per se and individuals may engage in an activity purely for the enjoyment of it. The engagement due to the enjoyment of an activity is often called intrinsic motivation. Beside this understanding of intrinsic mo-tivation other conceptions are presented (self-determination, experience of competence, interest and involvement, mean-end-correspondence, learning-goal orientation). In doing so, the problem became evident, that the term intrinsic motivation refers to different, even conflicting conceptions. With the “Extended Cognitive Model of Motivation” different as-pects of motivation are theoretically integrated. Instead of using the term intrinsic motiva-tion, we use the term activity-related motivation. Qualitative and quantitative ways to measure activity-related incentives are outlined. Finally we present an intensively studied activity-related incentive, i.e. the experience of flow.
Article
Full-text available
The flow state is defined by intense involvement in an activity with high degrees of concentration and focused attention accompanied by a sense of pleasure. Video games are effective tools for inducing flow, and keeping players in this state is considered to be one of the central goals of game design. Many studies have focused on the underlying physiological and neural mechanisms of flow. Results are inconsistent when describing a unified mechanism underlying this mental state. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the physiological and neural correlates of flow and explains the relationship between the reported physiological and neural markers of the flow experience. Despite the heterogeneous results, it seems possible to establish associations between reported markers and the cognitive and experiential aspects of flow, particularly regarding arousal, attention control, reward processing, automaticity, and self-referential processing.
Article
Full-text available
Previous research has suggested that distinct bodily sensations are experienced by athletes during flow states, and could represent a sport-specific characteristic of this phenomenon. This study aimed to enrich understanding about bodily sensations and flow states in sport by exploring this experience in national hunt jockeys. The interspecies nature of horse-rider partnerships accentuates the importance of bodily awareness in equestrian sports. Therefore, horse racing provided a fertile context in which to investigate bodily sensations experienced during flow states in sport. In-depth, semi-structured interviews exploring the experience of flow in horse racing were undertaken with 10 professional national hunt jockeys (M age = 28.1 years). Data were interpreted iteratively using inductive categorising/thematic and connecting analyses. Present findings suggested that flow states in jockeys produce an idiosyncratic and multifaceted sensory experience, and indicated that altered physical perceptions during flow were not restricted to kinaesthetic properties. Jockeys explained that distinct bodily sensations were experienced during flow states, and described alterations in their perceptions of kinaesthetic ‘feel’, balance, arousal and strength of touch. Each of these bodily sensations was discussed in relation to sensory information received from the horse, and a connecting analysis enlightened the factors underlying the realisation of these unique bodily sensations that accompanied flow states. Findings are discussed with respect to the existing literature on flow in sport and recommendations for future research are outlined. Further, possible considerations regarding the inclusion of bodily sensations as a characteristic of the flow experience in sport are outlined.
Article
Full-text available
More and more teams are collaborating virtually across the globe, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further encouraged the dissemination of virtual teamwork. However, there are challenges for virtual teams – such as reduced informal communication – with implications for team effectiveness. Team flow is a concept with high potential for promoting team effectiveness, however its measurement and promotion are challenging. Traditional team flow measurements rely on self-report questionnaires that require interrupting the team process. Approaches in artificial intelligence, i.e., machine learning, offer methods to identify an algorithm based on behavioral and sensor data that is able to identify team flow and its dynamics over time without interrupting the process. Thus, in this article we present an approach to identify team flow in virtual teams, using machine learning methods. First of all, based on a literature review, we provide a model of team flow characteristics, composed of characteristics that are shared with individual flow and characteristics that are unique for team flow. It is argued that those characteristics that are unique for team flow are represented by the concept of collective communication. Based on that, we present physiological and behavioral correlates of team flow which are suitable – but not limited to – being assessed in virtual teams and which can be used as input data for a machine learning system to assess team flow in real time. Finally, we suggest interventions to support team flow that can be implemented in real time, in virtual environments and controlled by artificial intelligence. This article thus contributes to finding indicators and dynamics of team flow in virtual teams, to stimulate future research and to promote team effectiveness.
Thesis
Настоящият труд включва философско и научно изследване на креативността във феномена „гранична ситуация“, както е развит във философията на Карл Ясперс. Трудът е разделен на три части: 1) Въведение във философията на Карл Ясперс и концепцията за „гранична ситуация“, 2) Описание на функциите на психо-соматичния комплекс в норма и патология и техните отношения към философията и философското съзнание и 3) Изследване на креативността преди, по време и след преживяванията на гранични ситуации. Първата част е историко-философска. Втората – научна, а третата е синтез между първите две, като двете линии – философската и научната – са развити паралелно. Използваните методи са: историко-философски анализ, сравнителен анализ, концептуален анализ. Излагат се редица подстъпи към едно сериозно изследване на граничните ситуации и на ролята на креативността по отношение на методите за тяхното превъзмогване. Включени са редица изследвания в рамките на конкретни области от познанието, свързани с ядрената тематика труда, като: понятието „креативност“, епилепсията на Достоевски, животът на Е. Сведенборг, фармакометафизиката, депресивно-песимистичния реализъм, психичните защити по А. и З. Фройд, понятието „Аз“, логотерапията на В. Франкъл, психозомиметиците и др. Фокусът е върху способите за превъзмогване на граничните ситуации, в частност каква роля играе креативността при тях. Предлага се богата съвкупност от перспективи за бъдещи изследвания в горепосочените области и проблемни точки. Глава 1: Понятието „гранична ситуация“ в екзистенциалната философия на Карл Ясперс В тази глава се анализира понятието „гранична ситуация“ в рамките на философията на Карл Ясперс или т. нар. Existenzphilosophie. Става въпрос не за вид екзистенциална философия, а за философия на Existenz. Разгледани са в детайли основните понятия на Existenzphilosophie, а именно: Всеобхватно, Existenz, Transcendenz, Разум, Операцията „трансцендиране“, Крушение и Философска вяра. Понятието „гранична ситуация“ е дискутирано, от тази перспектива, в следните главни точки: Същност, Кой попада в гранична ситуация?, Методи за превъзмогване (вж. Глава 3), Гранични ситуации и психопатология, Видове гранични ситуации и Навлизане в гранични ситуации. Разгледано е и понятието „мистично преживяване“ в рамките на Ясперсовата Existenzphilosophie. Приведени са голямо количество цитати от основните трудове на Ясперс (от преводите от немски на английски език), които не са преведени на български език и които сами по себе си представляват една миниатюрна антология на Ясперсовата Existenzphilosophie. Глава 2: Науката на психо-соматичния комплекс срещу философското съзнание В тази глава изложението включва главно дискусията на научни понятия и концепции, но са дадени и редица философски такива. Ясперс е считал, че за философстващия са от ключово значение наличните обширни научни познания. Това е така поради факта, че самата Existenzphilosophie или философската светова ориентация, така да се каже, надгражда научния светоглед или т. нар. от Ясперс научна светова ориентация. Поради този факт, главата започва с дискусия върху отношението, взаимовръзката и взаимоотношението между науката и философията. След това в детайли е анализирано понятието „съзнание“, както от научна, така и от философска перспектива. На читателя се предоставя и кратка научна дискусия върху функционалността на човешкото съзнание и човешката психика в норма и в патология; тук е включено и изложение върху т. нар. механизми за психична защита по А. и З. Фройд. Главата завършва с кратко изложение на главните постановки в когнитивната наука, вкл. и афективната наука: възприятие, познание, емоции и деятелност. Включено е и изложение, което представлява кратко въведение в основите на функционалната невроанатомия, както и основните принципи на невро- и психофармакологията. Емоционалността или афективността е разгледана и от философска перспектива в лицето на т. нар. екзистенциални чувства. Главата завършва с кратко, но богато изложение върху психологията и философията на креативността. Глава 3: Динамика на креативността във феномена „гранична ситуация“ Тази глава се базира на Глава 1 и Глава 2, като представлява синтез между двете глави. Фокусът е върху динамиката на креативността, която се анализира в рамките на преживяванията на гранични ситуации. Приведен е списък с възможните методи за превъзмогване на граничните ситуации, който е далеч по-пълен от този, представен в съответната секция в Глава 1. Разгледан е случаят със SARS-CoV-2 като актуална световна гранична ситуация. Впоследствие се въвежда понятието „миниатюра на гранична ситуация“, което представлява смес между креативността като процес (и черта) и граничните ситуации – самата креативност се разглежда като миниатюра на гранична ситуация. Към всичко това, ние сме привели и следните дискусии (като вид практическо приложение на знанието за граничните ситуации): Логотерапията на Виктор Франкъл (и изобщо екзистенциалната психотерапия) като метод за превъзмогване на граничните ситуации, Феноменология на психеделичното състояние (като метод за превъзмогване на гранични ситуации и като метод за индуциране на гранични ситуации, респ. мистични преживявания), Видовете светогледи и граничните ситуации – в частност т. нар. от нас Депресивно-песимистичен реализъм, Философията на човешкото когнитивно фармакологично подобрение – Фармакометафизика и граничните ситуации, Екстазната аура като мистично преживяване при епилепсията на Достоевски и граничните ситуации (вж. секцията за мистичното преживяване в Глава 1), Метафизиката на душата като парафрения на психиката – случаят на Емануел Сведенборг – граничните ситуации и обективацията на езика на Трансценденцията.
Article
We present the results of an experimental investigation on the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) and flow in adults exposed to computer-simulated tasks with different demand level manipulations: a balanced skill-demand level (fit) to induce flow, too high demands to induce anxiety, and too low demands to induce boredom. Eighteen participants were exposed to three simulated driving tasks that differed in their demand levels. During all tasks, the participants’ heart rates were monitored and flow was measured after each task by means of a questionnaire. Our results show that high-frequency HRV (HF-HRV) and low-frequency HRV (LF-HRV) differed between the three experimental conditions and an increase in demand level caused a decrease in HF-HRV and LF-HRV. Furthermore, experiencing flow in a balanced skill-demand task was associated with a decreased LFHRV activity compared to being engaged in a task with too high demands (anxiety condition), in which higher levels of flow were related to moderate parasympathetic activity (HF-HRV) as well as to moderate baroreflex function (LF-HRV). Our results contribute to a better understanding of the psychophysiology of flow and further demonstrate how virtual environments such a driving simulator can be effectively used to investigate psychological constructs such as flow or anxiety.
Preprint
Full-text available
Recently, I have introduced the notion of a miniature of a boundary situation (Dimkov, 2018). It views the process of creativity as a miniature of a boundary situation, in which the ideas of Karl Jaspers and Sigmund Freud are combined. Thus, the miniature represents a problem-solving situation via the means of a regression in the name of the ego or a manifestation of a third thought process (Dimkov, 2015, 2016, 2018). In such situations of creativity, one is forging a new worldview or a Weltanschauung by discovering new knowledge. The third thought process as well as the miniature of the boundary situation can be experienced only inward and subjectively by personal immersion in the situation, they lie outside the scope of objectification and they receive meaning only from a concrete personality and a concrete miniature situation, but their product is objective, it is a creative product. In this sense, heuristic methods do fail in boundary situations. Moderate stress is inherent to the boundary situation and its miniature as well as the phenomenon of flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 2013), in which quantitative accumulations lead to qualitative changes, laying on a single continuum. Such a continuum is constructed nowadays in phenomenological psychiatry and phenomenological philosophy. In conclusion, the creative process viewed as moderate stress represents an intellectualizing of the miniature of a boundary situation or a sublimation.
Article
Full-text available
This study focused on the salivary cortisol level and its relation to the two components of flow (flow absorption and flow fluency) in tournament chess players exposed to one of the skill-demand-level manipulations (underload, fit, and overload). The aims of this study were to investigate how skill-demand-level manipulations affect cortisol release and how flow and cortisol release are related in the context of an engaging task. Specifically, the task involved fifty-seven tournament chess players playing chess against a software in one of the experimental groups. We assessed flow after chess playing for 25 min via questionnaire and collected saliva before chess playing (T1), right after chess playing (T2), and 10 min after T2 (T3). Our findings show that cortisol levels were affected by the skill-demand-level manipulations. At T3, participants in the overload group showed higher cortisol levels than participants in the fit and underload groups. There were no differences in cortisol release between the experimental groups at T2. In addition, we found the expected inverted U-shaped relation between cortisol release and flow absorption at T2. A moderate level of cortisol was associated with a higher level of flow absorption. In contrast, a higher level of cortisol was associated with a lower level of flow absorption. Against our expectations, flow fluency was not related to cortisol release. We discuss practical and theoretical implications of our results as well as potential for future research.
Article
Full-text available
This chapter focuses on developing an experimental technique for inducing flow and creating instances of effortless action in the laboratory. The effort to experimentally induce flow involves two conditions which are correlated with the flow state: The firstis the idea that the challenges of a given task are well within one’s capabilities; the other involves perceived goals and immediate feedback from the given task. The chapter explores these factors along with other contextual factors, including autonomy and distractions, to experimentally induce flow and demonstrate instances of effortless action in the laboratory. One of the most extensively used approaches for experimental induction of flow in the laboratory involves exploring difficulty levels of video games.
Article
Full-text available
Female and male subjects who either had or had not refrained from drinking For a relatively extended period were given the chance to earn a choice of beverages by doing well on trials of an easy or difficult character-recognition task. Results indicated that need (deprivation) and difficulty interacted to determine diastolic responsivity during performance. Whereas diastolic responses were greater under difficult than easy conditions For Fluid-deprived subjects, they were slightly (not reliably) lower under difficult than easy conditions For fluid-satiated subjects. The diastolic findings corroborate and extend results obtained in a previous investigation that examined interactional effects of need and difficulty. They also document further the predictive validity of a recent model of effort and cardiovascular response and raise questions about traditional assumptions concerning the relation between need and cardiovascular responsivity.
Article
Full-text available
This paper integrates the motivational states of challenge and threat within a dual processing perspective. Previous research has demonstrated that individuals experience a challenge state when individuals have sufficient resources to cope with the demands of a task (Blascovich et al., 1993). Because the experience of resource availability has been shown to be associated with superficial processing (Garcia-Marques and Mackie, 2007), we tested the hypothesis that challenge is associated with superficial processing in two persuasion experiments. Experiment 1 revealed that inducing attitudes of participants in a challenge state was not sensitive to the quality of arguments presented. Experiment 2 demonstrated that the effect occurs even when task engagement, manipulated by the presence (vs. the absence) of a task observer (Blascovich et al., 1993), is high. The implications of these results for the biopsychosocial model model and the cognitive and motivational literature are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the relationship between time pressure and unfinished tasks as work stressors on employee well-being. Relatively little is known about the effect of unfinished tasks on well-being. Specifically, excluding the impact of time pressure, we examined whether the feeling of not having finished the week's tasks fosters perseverative cognitions and impairs sleep. Additionally, we proposed that leader performance expectations moderate these relationships. In more detail, we expected the detrimental effect of unfinished tasks on both rumination and sleep would be enhanced if leader expectations were perceived to be high. In total, 89 employees filled out online diary surveys both before and after the weekend over a 5-week period. Multilevel growth modeling revealed that time pressure and unfinished tasks impacted rumination and sleep on the weekend. Further, our results supported our hypothesis that unfinished tasks explain unique variance in the dependent variables above and beyond the influence of time pressure. Moreover, we found the relationship between unfinished tasks and both rumination and sleep was moderated by leader performance expectations. Our results emphasize the importance of unfinished tasks as a stressor and highlight that leadership, specifically in the form of performance expectations, contributes significantly to the strength of this relationship. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
In this study, we investigate the relationship between stress and flow-experience with the help of psychophysiological arousal indicators. Whereas recent studies suggest a positive relation between flow and physiological arousal, so far nothing is known on the relation between flow and high arousal in response to a salient stressor. We here suggest that the relation of flow with sympathetic arousal and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation follows an inverted u-curve rather than a linear function: moderate physiological arousal should facilitate flow-experience, whereas excessive physiological arousal should hinder flow. In order to experimentally stimulate high physiological arousal, we exposed 22 healthy male participants to a modified version of the Trier Social Stress Test. Then, participants had to perform a complex computer task for 60 minutes and to rate their flow-experience on the Flow Short-Scale directly after task completion. During the experiment, cortisol samples were taken every 15 minutes, and heart rate variability measures were assessed by continuous electrocardiography. We found an inverted u-shaped relationship of flow-experience with indices of sympathetic arousal and cortisol, whereas parasympathetic indices of heart rate control during stress were linearly and positively correlated with flow-experience. Our results suggest that moderate sympathetic arousal and HPA-axis activation and possibly a co-activation of both branches of the autonomic nervous system characterize task-related flow-experience.
Article
Full-text available
Flow refers to a positive, activity-associated, subjective experience under conditions of a perceived fit between skills and task demands. Using functional magnetic resonance perfusion imaging, we investigated the neural correlates of flow in a sample of 27 human subjects. Experimentally, in the flow condition participants worked on mental arithmetic tasks at challenging task difficulty which was automatically and continuously adjusted to individuals' skill level. Experimental settings of "boredom" and "overload" served as comparison conditions. The experience of flow was associated with relative increases in neural activity in the left anterior inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the left putamen. Relative decreases in neural activity were observed in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and the amygdala (AMY). Subjective ratings of the flow experience were significantly associated with changes in neural activity in the IFG, AMY, and, with trend towards significance, in the MPFC. We conclude that neural activity changes in these brain regions reflect psychological processes that map on the characteristic features of flow: coding of increased outcome probability (putamen), deeper sense of cognitive control (IFG), decreased self-referential processing (MPFC), and decreased negative arousal (AMY).
Article
Full-text available
EXPERIMENTS HAVE SHOWN THAT THE PRESENCE OF AN AUDIENCE AFFECTS INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE BY ENHANCING THE EMISSION OF DOMINANT RESPONSES. EVALUATED THE PROPOSAL THAT THE MERE PRESENCE OF OTHER PERSONS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR AUDIENCE EFFECTS. 45 STUDENTS PERFORMED A PSEUDORECOGNITION TASK; 15 PERFORMED THE TASK ALONE, 15 BEFORE AN AUDIENCE OF 2 PASSIVE SPECTATORS, AND 15 BEFORE 2 NONSPECTATORS. THE TASK PLACED PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED VERBAL HABITS IN COMPETITION WITH EACH OTHER. THE PRESENCE OF AN AUDIENCE ENHANCED THE EMISSION OF DOMINANT RESPONSES, BUT THE MERE PRESENCE OF OTHERS DID NOT.
Article
Full-text available
Zusammenfassung. Berichtet wird uber eine Moglichkeit, Flow-Erleben unter experimentell kontrollierten Bedingungen systematisch zu variieren. Dabei werden die Tatigkeit (das Computerspiel Roboguard) und die Situationsbedingungen konstant gehalten. Variiert wird lediglich die Schwierigkeitsstufe, auf der gespielt wird. Als abhangiges Mas wurde die Flow-Kurzskala (FKS, Rheinberg, Vollmeyer & Engeser, 2003) verwandt. Es zeigten sich die vorhergesagten kurvilinearen Beziehungen zwischen Anforderungsstufe und Flow mit Effektstarken um d > 1. Die erwarteten Zusammenhange zwischen habitueller Zielorientierung (Hayamizu & Weiner, 1991) und Flow zeigten sich nur bei den flow-auslosenden Schwierigkeitsstufen. Hingegen trat die erwartete negative Beziehung zwischen Zielorientierung und Flow nicht auf, vielmehr korrelierten sowohl die learning- als auch die performance goal orientation positiv mit der Flowkomponente Absorbiertheit. Aus diesem Befund wird eine Arbeitshypothese zur Beziehung von Motivation und Flow her...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive appraisal theories of stress and emotion propose that cognitive appraisals precede physiological responses, whereas peripheralist theories propose that physiological arousal precedes cognitive processes. Three studies examined this issue regarding threat and challenge responses to potential stress. Study 1 supported cognitive appraisal theory by demonstrating that threat and challenge cognitive appraisals and physiological responses could be elicited experimentally by manipulating instructional set. Studies 2 and 3, in contrast, found that manipulations of physiological response patterns consistent with challenge and threat did not result in corresponding changes in cognitive appraisal. Appraisals in Study 3, however, were related to subjective pain independent of the physiological manipulation. These studies suggest a central role for cognitive appraisal processes in elicitation of threat and challenge responses to potentially stressful situations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Chapter
Full-text available
in our discussion of emotion and dysfunction, we have intimated that emotions are instructive about persons because both emotions and the personality are organized around the problem of surviving, getting along, and flourishing over the life course begin by addressing the question of what an emotion is / describe our own [the authors'] recent work directed at illuminating what we see as one of the important issues in emotion theory—the role of cognitive appraisal embed this work in a general model of emotion, which identifies the key variables and processes within a systems framework emphasizing person-environment relationships and cognitive mediation illustrate how emotion theory makes firm contact with a variety of topics currently being pursued across diverse psychological disciplines, especially personality and social psychology the adaptational problem and the evolution of emotion / appraisal theory / personality, society, and biology in emotion (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Recent work shows that differing perceptions of stress result in different patterns of neuroendocrine activation. An easily handled challenge elicits norepinephrine and testosterone rises with success. With increasing anxiety, active coping shifts to a more passive mode. Epinephrine, prolactin, renin, and fatty acids increase. As the distress grows, cortisol augments.
Chapter
The sympathetic-adrenal medullary and pituitary-adrenal cortical systems form the corner stones of modern stress research, with roots in Cannon’s and Selye’s work. Both systems are controlled by the brain. Hence, when a person perceives a change, or threat, or challenge in the environment, this triggers a chain of neuroendocrine events. Messages go to the adrenal medulla, which secretes the catecholamines adrenaline and noradrenaline, and to the adrenal cortex, which secretes Cortisol. Catecholamines and Cortisol have several key functions: as sensitive indicators of the stressfulness of person- environment transactions, as regulators of vital bodily functions and, under some circumstances, as mediators of bodily reactions leading to disease. In short, the effects may be adaptive but they may also be harmful, particularly in promoting cardiovascular pathology (Kones, 1979).
Article
We present the results of an experimental investigation on the relationship between heart rate variability (HRV) and flow in adults exposed to computer-simulated tasks with different demand level manipulations: a balanced skill-demand level (fit) to induce flow, too high demands to induce anxiety, and too low demands to induce boredom. Eighteen participants were exposed to three simulated driving tasks that differed in their demand levels. During all tasks, the participants’ heart rates were monitored and flow was measured after each task by means of a questionnaire. Our results show that high-frequency HRV (HF-HRV) and low-frequency HRV (LF-HRV) differed between the three experimental conditions and an increase in demand level caused a decrease in HF-HRV and LF-HRV. Furthermore, experiencing flow in a balanced skill-demand task was associated with a decreased LFHRV activity compared to being engaged in a task with too high demands (anxiety condition), in which higher levels of flow were related to moderate parasympathetic activity (HF-HRV) as well as to moderate baroreflex function (LF-HRV). Our results contribute to a better understanding of the psychophysiology of flow and further demonstrate how virtual environments such a driving simulator can be effectively used to investigate psychological constructs such as flow or anxiety.
Article
Rationale: Stress affects flow-experience, but the mediating psychobiological mechanisms remain unknown. Previous studies showed an association between flow-experience and endogenous cortisol levels, suggesting an inverted, u-shaped relation between flow-experience and cortisol. However, these studies could not exclude effects of other stress factors. Objectives: The aim of this experiment was, therefore, to test the isolated effect of cortisol on flow-experience, independent of concomitant physiological and psychological stress responses, via controlled administration of exogenous cortisol. Methods: Sixty-four young healthy subjects (32 males, 32 females) participated in the experiment. According to a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over design, they received 20 mg oral cortisol on 1 day and placebo on the other day, respectively, with a time distance of 1 week between the experimental days. One hour after cortisol administration, participants engaged in the computer game Pacman. Pacman was delivered in five blocks of randomly differing difficulty levels. One block lasted 5 min. At the end of each block, participants rated flow-experience by the Flow Short Scale. Data was analyzed with hierarchical linear modeling. Subjects were not able to predict whether the pill they received contained cortisol or placebo. Results: Overall, results revealed a negative effect of oral 20 mg cortisol on flow-experience, with no differences between males and females. Conclusions: This study is the first to show that exogenous cortisol in a dose corresponding to a severe stressor impairs flow-experience. The observed negative effect of high cortisol dosage on experienced flow underlines recent findings of an inverted u-shaped relationship between cortisol and flow.
Article
Serious games are supposed to instigate engagement and, in turn, improve learning. High engagement is frequently connected with a positive affective state and a high flow state. However, the alleged link between a learner’s affective state, his/her flow state and learning outcomes has not been investigated in detail in the context of serious games. Even less information is available on how serious games may influence markers of physiological arousal. To fill this gap, participants of this exploratory study (N = 171) played one of the six different serious game-based treatments, while we measured their affect, flow, cortisol secretion and learning achievement. The treatments were supposed to generate different levels of engagement and cortisol responses, because some of them were designed for a single user, while others were team-based, featuring so-called social-evaluative threat (ST) components. Our results revealed that flow was positively related to positive affect and negatively to negative affect. While flow and positive affect were related to learning gains, almost no relationship between either of these three variables and cortisol levels was found. Negative affect and cortisol were elevated in social interaction anxious males in team-based conditions. This study contributes to the limited body of research on the relationship between engagement and learning in serious games. We provide new perspectives on the relationships between flow, positive/negative affect and cortisol. Our findings highlight the fact that team-based serious games with ST components may have adverse effects on learners, particularly males, with high social interaction anxiety.
Data
The interactive effect of achievement motivation and task difficulty on invested mental effort, postulated by Humphreys and Revelle [Humphreys, M.S., Revelle, W., 1984. Personality, motivation, and performance: a theory of the relationship between individual differences and information processing. Psychol. Rev. 91, 153–184], was examined using behavioral, subjective, and effort-related physiological measures. Eighteen approach-driven participants and 18 avoidance-driven participants were selected based on their motive to achieve success scores and their motive to avoid failure scores. A 2×3 factorial design was used, with three levels of task difficulty. As expected, approach-driven participants performed better and had a stronger decrease of midfrequency band of heart rate variability than avoidance-driven participants, especially during the difficult task. These results support the interactive effect of achievement motivation and task difficulty on invested mental effort.
Article
An experiment with N=52 university students manipulated ego involvement (low vs. high) and task difficulty (unfixed vs. easy) of a letter detection task. In accordance with the theoretical predictions about the role of ego involvement in active coping, high ego involvement increased the performance-related reactivity of systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, and also the number of unspecific skin conductance responses when task difficulty was unfixed (“do your best”). Ego involvement had no impact on autonomic reactivity when task difficulty was easy due to a fixed low performance standard. Furthermore, participants in the ego involvement/unfixed condition, where autonomic reactivity was relatively strong, committed significantly fewer errors in the letter detection task than those in the other conditions, reflecting an association between mental effort and performance.
Chapter
Flow—the pleasant state of absorption of a person with an activity—has rarely been investigated from a physiological perspective. However, interest in such studies is growing fast. Only recently, researchers started to apply psychophysiological measures to study flow-experiences. In order to contribute to this ongoing research, this chapter aims to report and integrate existing theories and findings concerning the physiology of flow-experience and to stimulate further investigation. The first part of this chapter will give an overview about existing literature explicitly dealing with the psychophysiology of flow. A theoretical psychophysiological framework is then developed on the basis of prominent stress theories. The third part discusses physiological correlates of flow, integrating existing literature on flow and related concepts such as attention and cognitive control. The chapter ends with an integrative definition of flow-experience, practical implications, and an outlook on future research perspectives.
Article
Recent experiments indicate that peripheral glucose administration enhances memory in rodents and humans. This study examined the effects of glucose on memory and nonmemory measures of neuropsychological functioning in elderly humans. Healthy older adults were given a series of neuropsychological tests after drinking glucose- or saccharin-flavored lemonade. A repeated measures design using counter-balanced beverages and tests was used. Glucose enhanced performance on declarative memory tests but not on short-term or nonmemory neuropsychological measures. Glucose tolerance predicted performance on declarative memory tasks but not on other measures.
Article
This research addresses the notion that the compatibility of skills and task demands involved in an activity elicits flow-experiences that render the activity intrinsically rewarding. We applied two experimental settings designed to test the causal impact of a skills–demands compatibility on the emergence of flow and intrinsic motivation: a playful computer game (Experiment 1) and a knowledge task (Experiment 2). Results support the balance hypothesis and indicate that compatibility of skills and task demands results in a flow-experience, irrespective of the type of activity. This demonstrates the generalizability of flow-experiences across two qualitatively different types of activities. Going beyond prior research, the results of Experiment 2 reveal that flow-experiences foster the willingness to reengage in the activity in a free choice setting, which represents a behavioral measure of intrinsic motivation.
Article
This research addresses flow theory according to which the compatibility of skills and task demands involved in an activity elicits flow experiences that render the activity intrinsically rewarding. Departing from correlational research, we applied experimental paradigms designed to test the impact of a skills-demands-compatibility on the emergence of flow in computerized tasks. On the one hand, the results from self-reports support the balance hypothesis and indicate that skills-demands-compatibility results in a pleasurable flow experience. On the other hand, the results also indicate that skills-demands-compatibility resulted in (a) reduced heart rate variability indicating enhanced mental workload, and (b) stress as indicated by relatively high levels of salivary cortisol. These results indicate that flow experiences combine subjectively positive elements with physiological elements reflecting strainful tension and mental load.
Article
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between identification with mastery versus social comparison‐based goals and select motivated behaviors (i.e., persistence and behavioral intensity) in a recreational sport setting. A secondary focus was to examine whether variation in goal perspectives was significantly related to gender and previous competitive sport involvement. A total of 67 male and 67 female undergraduates who participated on a team sport in an intramural league responded to a questionnaire that examined their preference for mastery and competitive sport goals. The questionnaire also tapped the student's present participation in intramural sport (i.e., type of sport, years of involvement in the sport and hours/week spent practicing the sport in one's free time during the intramural season) and previous competitive sport history. In general, students who placed a high emphasis on mastery in sport were more likely to have participated in their sport longer and practiced their sport more in their free time. Goal perspectives significantly varied as a function of sex of participant and previous competitive sport involvement. Results indicated that females were less oriented to social comparison‐based sport goals than males. This was especially true among males and females who had previously engaged in competitive sports.
Article
Flow experience is associated with learning motivation, performance and positive affect. Therefore it is important to analyze its antecedents. An important antecedent for experiencing flow is the balance between the person’s skill and how challenging the situation is (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). According to Atkinson’s (1957) risk-taking model, only individuals with high hope-of-success prefer situations in which a balance of challenge and skill is given while individuals with high fear-of-failure try to avoid such situations. Integration of these two lines of research leads to the suggestion that the achievement motive might moderate the relationship between the challengeskill balance and flow experience. This notion could be confirmed in two studies with undergraduate students (N = 57/N = 395). Additionally, flow experience was found to be a significant predictor of affect (Study 1 and 2) and exam performance (Study 2). I discuss these findings and their practical implications for academic learning settings.
Article
Mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) measures were taken to assess performs' anxiety levels while they performed in front of heterogeneous and homogeneous audiences. The addition of one high school student to an audience of one faculty member lowered MAR whereas the addition of the same student to an audience of one high school student raised MAP In addition, subjects' MAP levels were elevated when their performance was observed by a faculty member and by two high school students relative to a setting in which no audience was present (i.e., an alone condition). The results support predictions made by the averaging-summation model and suggest that individuals are sensitive to both the average and the summative impact of evaluative audience members. 7he importance of considering the composition of audiences for predictions about individuals' anxiety levels is discussed.
Article
In this chapter, I have discussed motivation in terms of a challenge and threat model. Although challenge-threat motivation theory can probably be used to develop interventions to motivate individuals to lead healthy lifestyles, the focus here is on the health consequences, direct and indirect, of challenge and threat motivational states themselves. How individuals evaluate their demands and resources affects their motivational states, which in turn lead to differing patterns of physiological responsivity: Motivation in which evaluated individual resources outweigh situational task demands (i.e., challenge) does not appear pathophysiological, and motivation in which evaluated individual resources are outweighed by situational task demands (i.e., threat) does appear pathophysiological. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Observed maze and runway performance of cockroaches under solitary and social conditions in an attempt to test the drive theory of social facilitation. In Exp. I, 72 adult female cockroaches (Blatta orientalis) were observed under 2 types of social treatments, coaction and audience. In both treatments maze performance was impaired while runway performance was facilitated when compared to performance of Ss in solitary conditions. In Exp. II, the effects of reduced presence on conspecifics on 180 female Blatta orientalis were investigated. Exp. I generated results that were in support of the hypothesis that the mere presence of conspecifics is a source of general arousal that enhances the emission of dominant responses. The results of Exp. II suggest that partial presence of conspecifics may have distracting effects. (33 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The applicability of R. S. Lazarus and S. Folkman's (1984) cognitive appraisal model of stress was examined in 3 laboratory experiments involving the repeated performance of active (Studies 1, 2, and 3) and passive (Study 3) coping stress tasks (P. A. Obrist, 1981). Threat appraisals of upcoming coping tasks were positively related to Ss' self-reported task stress. Cardiac reactivity during active coping stressors was related positively to challenge appraisals and negatively to threat appraisals. Vascular reactivity, however, was related positively to threat appraisals and negatively to challenge appraisals. During passive coping stressors, cardiac and skin conductance reactivity were related positively to threat appraisals. The fractionation of self-report and physiological measures during active coping was interpreted in terms of energy mobilization and effort. The implications for the use of physiological measures as indicators of stress are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Flow is a state of peak enjoyment, energetic focus, and creative concentration experienced by people engaged in adult play, which has become the basis of a highly creative approach to living. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Publisher Summary An integrative, interdisciplinary approach is advocated to represent the reality of arousal regulation processes. This chapter describes the results from a multidisciplinary, integrative approach to the study of arousal regulation, integrating not only dispositional but also cognitive, physiological, and social dimensions. Arousal plays an important theoretical role in many categories of behavior––namely, intense emotional experiences and expressions such as terror, rage, lust, and ecstasy. A major problem created by a unidimensional framework for arousal regulation is illustrated in the chapter and such arousal can be indexed by using subjective or objective measures such as stressfulness. The arousal-regulation processes operate in similar fashion for both genders. Moreover, an explanation for the gender effects in the zero-sum experimental game study and implications of work and chart future directions for empirical endeavors are also discussed in the chapter. A multidisciplinary biopsychosocial approach represents a much more fruitful approach for understanding arousal regulation.
Article
Research is reviewed concerning the interrelationships among cardiodynamics, blood pressure control mechanisms, somatic activity, and the stimulus parameter of active vs passive coping. Emerging evidence suggests that with passive coping such as classical aversive conditioning, the heart is more under vagal control which is directionally linked with somatic activity, while blood pressure is more dominated by vascular processes. With active coping such as shock avoidance, the heart is under greater sympathetic control which is directionally independent of concomitant somatic activity, while cardiac influences on blood pressure become more dominant. Several current psycho physiological issues are discussed including the possible significance of these effects for cardiovascular disease processes.