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Title: To Flow or Not to Flow: An Empirical Analysis of Flow State Testing
Authors: MacDonell, Logan
Advisors: Taylor, Jordan A.
Department: Psychology
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: Flow states are a psychological state which facilitate optimal performance on a given activity. However, flow state research places a large emphasis on the flow state dimensions which are said to define what it is like to be in a flow state. These flow state dimensions are ambiguous and very open ended, and can be applied to almost any “optimal experience”. The flow dimensions were used to create a flow state questionnaire which is a self-report method of testing the degree to which a participant experienced a flow state. The purpose of this study is to investigate the validity of flow state questionnaires for testing flow states. This study followed a similar design to previous research; administering an academic task and having participants take the flow state scale based on their experience. However, participants were randomly placed into three different conditions which were differentiated by altering their perceived performance on the academic task. By altering participants’ perceived results, while recording their true score, this study was able to investigate the relationship between flow scores and perceived performance as well as actual performance. This study found that there was no positive correlation between actual performance on the task and flow state score, but that there was a correlation between perceived results and flow state score. These results support the hypothesis that flow state scales are not a valid way of testing flow states.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology, 1930-2020

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