University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
Psychophysiology of flow experience
An explorative study
J Matias Kivikangas
Master's thesis, April 2006.
This study explored the possibilities the psychophysiological methodology offer to flow research. Facial electromyography has often been used to index valence, and electrodermal activity to index arousal, the two basic dimensions of emotion. It was hypothesized that these measures can also be used to examine enjoyment, a basic component of flow experiment. A digital game was used to induce flow, and physiological activity of 32 subjects was measured continuously. Flow State Scale was used to assess flow.
Activity of corrugator supercilii muscle, an index of negative valence, was negatively correlated with flow reports, as hypothesized. Contrary to hypothesis, skin conductance level, an index of arousal, was unrelated to self-reported flow. The results for association between flow and zygomaticus major and orbicularis oculi muscle activities, indices of positive valence, were inconclusive, possibly due to experimental design where only tonic measures were available.
Psychophysiological methods are recommended for future studies of flow. Specifically, the time series approach may be particularly viable in examining the temporal aspects of flow, an area currently unexplored. Furthermore, it is suggested that digital game research would benefit from psychophysiological study of game-related flow.
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© University of Helsinki 2006
Last updated 03.05.2006