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Is there another word for 'affective control'?

Is there another word for 'affective control'?



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In this paper, the authors use the term 'affective control' or the slightly longer form 'affective cognitive control capacity' to mean 'the ability to regulate emotions or manipulate emotional material in the service of task goals'. However wherever I Google 'affective control' I get results that seem to pertain to either Affective Control Theory (which is a much broader theory and seems to be unrelated) or the study in question.

Is there another expression for the ability to manipulate or regulate emotions and emotional material? Are there any domains I can research to learn more? I've heard Emotional Intelligence before (full disclosure though, I haven't read the Daniel Goleman book), but that seems to relate more to learned knowledge - whereas it seems affective control is more related to working memory and capacity to process and manipulate material.


There is a huge body of literature on emotion regulation. The main person to look up is James Gross. He's recently published a second edition of the Handbook of Emotion Regulation if you'd like a comprehensive review of the field. He also just published a target article in Psychological Inquiry about the present status of emotion regulation research and theory (a good starting place, in my opinion). His name will be on the majority of papers published in this area (he collaborates with a lot of people).


Emotion regulation as mrt mentioned above is a good term. Affective control seems more task and goal-focused than emotion regulation though.

This definition of emotion regulation outlined by Hoffman et al. 2012 is quite helpful -

Emotion regulation has been defined as the process by which people influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express these emotions. Based on this conceptualization, an emotion can be regulated at various stages in the process of emotion generation: (1) selection of the situation, (2) modification of the situation, (3) deployment of attention, (4) modification of cognitive appraisal, and (5) modulation of responses.


Key Terminology

Experimental Group

The group being treated, or otherwise manipulated for the sake of the experiment.

Control Group

They receive no treatment and are used as a comparison group.

Ecological validity

The degree to which an investigation represents real-life experiences.

Experimenter effects

These are the ways that the experimenter can accidentally influence the participant through their appearance or behavior.

Demand characteristics

The clues in an experiment that lead the participants to think they know what the researcher is looking for (e.g. experimenter’s body language).

Independent variable (IV)

Variable the experimenter manipulates (i.e. changes) – assumed to have a direct effect on the dependent variable.

Dependent variable (DV)

Variable the experimenter measures. This is the outcome (i.e. result) of a study.

Extraneous variables (EV)

All variables, which are not the independent variable, but could affect the results (DV) of the experiment. EVs should be controlled where possible.

Confounding variables

Variable(s) that have affected the results (DV), apart from the IV. A confounding variable could be an extraneous variable that has not been controlled.

Random Allocation

Randomly allocating participants to independent variable conditions means that all participants should have an equal chance of taking part in each condition.

The principle of random allocation is to avoid bias in the way the experiment is carried out and to limit the effects of participant variables.

Order effects

Changes in participants’ performance due to their repeating the same or similar test more than once. Examples of order effects include:

(i) practice effect: an improvement in performance on a task due to repetition, for example, because of familiarity with the task

(ii) fatigue effect: a decrease in performance of a task due to repetition, for example, because of boredom or tiredness.


Want to go deep? Much of the confusion surrounding this pair is due to a shared linguistic ancestor. Both words have roots in the Latin verb facere meaning “to do, make.” Affect derives from the Latin verb afficere meaning “to do something to, to have influence on.” Effect descends from the Latin verb efficere, “to make, carry out.”

Sticking to the basic guideline of effect as a noun and affect as a verb will generally keep you in the clear.


Self-regulation and the problem of human autonomy: does psychology need choice, self-determination, and will?

The term autonomy literally refers to regulation by the self. Its opposite, heteronomy, refers to controlled regulation, or regulation that occurs without self-endorsement. At a time when philosophers and economists are increasingly detailing the nature of autonomy and recognizing its social and practical significance, many psychologists are questioning the reality and import of autonomy and closely related phenomena such as will, choice, and freedom. Using the framework of self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2000), we review research concerning the benefits of autonomous versus controlled regulation for goal performance, persistence, affective experience, quality of relationships, and well-being across domains and cultures. We also address some of the controversies and terminological issues surrounding the construct of autonomy, including critiques of autonomy by biological reductionists, cultural relativists, and behaviorists. We conclude that there is a universal and cross-developmental value to autonomous regulation when the construct is understood in an exacting way.


Hare's Checklist and other mental disorders [ edit | edit source ]

Psychopathy, as measured on the PCL-R, is negatively correlated with all DSM-IV Axis I disorders except substance abuse disorders. Psychopathy is most strongly correlated with DSM-IV antisocial personality disorder.

Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"

  • Glibness/superficial charm sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

Factor2: Case history "Socially deviant lifestyle".

  • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
  • Parasitic lifestyle
  • Poor behavioral control
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Lack of realistic long-term goals
  • Impulsivity
  • Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
  • Revocation of conditional release

Traits not correlated with either factor

The official stance of the American Psychiatric Association as presented in the DSM-IV-TR is that psychopathy and sociopathy are obsolete synonyms for antisocial personality disorder. The World Health Organization takes a similar stance in its ICD-10 by referring to psychopathy, sociopathy, antisocial personality, asocial personality, and amoral personality as synonyms for dissocial personality disorder.

Among laypersons and professionals, there is much confusion about the meanings and differences between psychopathy, sociopathy, antisocial personality disorder, and the ICD-10 diagnosis, dissocial personality disorder. Hare takes the stance that psychopathy as a syndrome should be considered distinct from the DSM-IV's antisocial personality disorder construct, Γ] even though ASPD and psychopathy were intended to be equivalent in the DSM-IV. However, those who created the DSM-IV felt that there was too much room for subjectivity on the part of clinicians when identifying things like remorse and guilt therefore, the DSM-IV panel decided to stick to observable behaviour, namely socially deviant behaviours.

As a result, the diagnosis of ASPD is something that the "majority of criminals easily meet." Δ] Hare goes further to say that the percentage of incarcerated criminals that meet the requirements of ASPD is somewhere between 80 to 85 percent, whereas only about 20% of these criminals would qualify for a diagnosis of what Hare's scale considers to be a psychopath. Ε] This twenty percent, according to Hare, accounts for 50 percent of all the most serious crimes committed, including half of all serial and repeat rapists. According to FBI reports, 44 percent of all police officer murders in 1992 were committed by psychopaths. Ζ]

Another study using the PCL-R to examine the relationship between antisocial behaviour and suicide found that suicide history was strongly correlated to PCL-R Factor 2 (reflecting antisocial deviance) and was not correlated to PCL-R factor 1 (reflecting affective functioning). Given that ASPD relates to Factor 2, whereas psychopathy relates to both factors, this would confirm Hervey Cleckley's assertion that psychopaths are relatively immune to suicide. People with ASPD, on the other hand, have a relatively high suicide rate. Η]

Since psychopaths frequently cause harm through their actions, it is assumed that they are not emotionally attached to the people they harm however, according to the PCL-R Checklist, psychopaths are also careless in the way they treat themselves. They frequently fail to alter their behavior in a way that would prevent them from enduring future discomfort.

In practice, mental health professionals rarely treat psychopathic personality disorders as they are considered untreatable and no interventions have proved to be effective. ⎖] In England and Wales the diagnosis of dissocial personality disorder is grounds for detention in secure psychiatric hospitals under the Mental Health Act if they have committed serious crimes, but since such individuals are disruptive for other patients and not responsive to treatment this alternative to prison is not often used. ⎗]

Because an individual's scores may have important consequences for his or her future, the potential for harm if the test is used or administered incorrectly is considerable. The test can only be considered valid if administered by a suitably qualified and experienced clinician under controlled conditions. ΐ] Α]

Hare wants the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to list psychopathy as a unique disorder, saying psychopathy has no precise equivalent ΐ] in either the DSM-IV-TR, where it is most strongly correlated with the diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, or the ICD-10, which has a partly similar condition called dissocial personality disorder. Both organizations view the terms as synonymous. But only a minority of what Hare and his followers would diagnose as psychopaths who are in institutions are violent offenders. ⎘] ⎙]

The manipulative skills of some of the others are valued for providing audacious leadership. ⎚] It is argued psychopathy is adaptive in a highly competitive environment, because it gets results for both the individual and the corporations ⎛] ⎜] ⎝] or, often small political sects they represent. ⎞] However, these individuals will often cause long-term harm, both to their co-workers and the organization as a whole, due to their manipulative, deceitful, abusive, and often fraudulent behaviour. ⎟]

Hare describes people he calls psychopaths as "intraspecies predators ⎠] ⎡] who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence ⎢] ⎣] ⎤] to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse". Α] "What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony." ⎥]


Contents

Jeanne Nakamura and Csíkszentmihályi identify the following six factors as encompassing an experience of flow: [2]

  • Intense and focused concentration on the present moment
  • Merging of action and awareness
  • A loss of reflectiveself-consciousness
  • A sense of personal control or agency over the situation or activity
  • A distortion of temporal experience, one's subjective experience of time is altered
  • Experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding, also referred to as autotelic experience

Those aspects can appear independently of each other, but only in combination do they constitute a so-called flow experience. Additionally, psychology writer Kendra Cherry has mentioned three other components that Csíkszentmihályi lists as being a part of the flow experience: [3]

  • Immediate feedback [3]
  • Feeling the potential to succeed
  • Feeling so engrossed in the experience, that other needs become negligible

Just as with the conditions listed above, these conditions can be independent of one another.

Flow is so named because during Csíkszentmihályi's 1975 interviews several people described their "flow" experiences using the metaphor of a water current carrying them along. [4]

Mihaly Csikszentmihályi and others began researching flow after Csikszentmihályi became fascinated by artists who would essentially get lost in their work. Artists, especially painters, got so immersed in their work that they would disregard their need for food, water and even sleep. The theory of flow came about when Csikszentmihályi tried to understand the phenomenon experienced by these artists. Flow research became prevalent in the 1980s and 1990s, with Csikszentmihályi and his colleagues in Italy still at the forefront. Researchers interested in optimal experiences and emphasizing positive experiences, especially in places such as schools and the business world, also began studying the theory of flow at this time. [2]

The cognitive science of flow has been studied under the rubric of effortless attention. [5]

In any given moment, there is a great deal of information made available to each individual. Psychologists have found that one's mind can attend to only a certain amount of information at a time. According to Csikszentmihályi's 2004 TED talk, that number is about "110 bits of information per second". [6] That may seem like a lot of information, but simple daily tasks take quite a lot of information. Just decoding speech takes about 40-60 bits of information per second. [7] That is why when having a conversation one cannot focus as much attention on other things. [ citation needed ]

For the most part (except for basic bodily feelings like hunger and pain, which are innate), people are able to decide what they want to focus their attention on. However, when one is in the flow state, they are completely engrossed with the one task at hand and, without making the conscious decision to do so, lose awareness of all other things: time, people, distractions, and even basic bodily needs. According to Csikszentmihályi, this occurs because all of the attention of the person in the flow state is on the task at hand there is no more attention to be allocated. [8]

The flow state has been described by Csikszentmihályi as the "optimal experience" in that one gets to a level of high gratification from the experience. [9] Achieving this experience is considered to be personal and "depends on the ability" of the individual. [9] One's capacity and desire to overcome challenges in order to achieve their ultimate goals leads not only to the optimal experience but also to a sense of life satisfaction overall. [9]

There are three common ways to measure flow experiences: the flow questionnaire (FQ), the experience sampling method (ESM), and the "standardized scales of the componential approach." [10]

Flow questionnaire Edit

The FQ requires individuals to identify definitions of flow and situations in which they believe that they have experienced flow, followed by a section that asks them to evaluate their personal experiences in these flow-inducing situations. The FQ identifies flow as multiple constructs, therefore allowing the results to be used to estimate differences in the likelihood of experiencing flow across a variety of factors. Another strength of the FQ is that it does not assume that everyone's flow experiences are the same. Because of this, the FQ is the ideal measure for estimating the prevalence of flow. However, the FQ has some weaknesses that more recent methods have set out to address. The FQ does not allow for measurement of the intensity of flow during specific activities. This method also does not measure the influence of the ratio of challenge to skill on the flow state. [10]

Experience sampling method Edit

The ESM requires individuals to fill out the experience sampling form (ESF) at eight randomly chosen time intervals throughout the day. The purpose of this is to understand subjective experiences by estimating the time intervals that individuals spend in specific states during everyday life. The ESF is made up of 13 categorical items and 29 scaled items. The purpose of the categorical items is to determine the context and motivational aspects of the current actions (these items include: time, location, companionship/desire for companionship, activity being performed, reason for performing activity). Because these questions are open-ended, the answers need to be coded by researchers. This needs to be done carefully so as to avoid any biases in the statistical analysis. The scaled items are intended to measure the levels of a variety of subjective feelings that the individual may be experiencing. The ESM is more complex than the FQ and contributes to the understanding of how flow plays out in a variety of situations, however the possible biases make it a risky choice. [10]

Standardized scales Edit

Some researchers are not satisfied with the methods mentioned above and have set out to create their own scales. The scales developed by Jackson and Eklund are the most commonly used in research, mainly because they are still consistent with Csíkszentmihályi's definition of flow and consider flow as being both a state and a trait. Jackson and Eklund created two scales that have been proven to be psychometrically valid and reliable: the flow state scale-2 (which measures flow as a state) and the dispositional flow scale-2 (designed to measure flow as either a general trait or domain-specific trait). The statistical analysis of the individual results from these scales gives a much more complete understanding of flow than the ESM and the FQ. [10]

A flow state can be entered while performing any activity, although it is most likely to occur when one is wholeheartedly performing a task or activity for intrinsic purposes. [8] [12] Passive activities like taking a bath or even watching TV usually do not elicit flow experiences as individuals have to actively do something to enter a flow state. [13] [14] While the activities that induce flow may vary and be multifaceted, Csikszentmihályi asserts that the experience of flow is similar despite the activity. [15]

Flow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state:

  • One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task. [16]
  • The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state. [16]
  • One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one's ability to complete the task at hand. [16]

However, it was argued that the antecedent factors of flow are interrelated, as a perceived balance between challenges and skills requires that one knows what they have to do (clear goals) and how successful they are in doing it (immediate feedback). Thus, a perceived fit of skills and task demands can be identified as the central precondition of flow experiences. [17]

In 1987, Massimini, Csíkszentmihályi and Carli published the eight-channel model of flow shown here. [18] Antonella Delle Fave, who worked with Fausto Massimini at the University of Milan, now calls this graph the Experience Fluctuation Model. [19] The Experience Fluctuation Model depicts the channels of experience that result from different levels of perceived challenges and perceived skills. This graph illustrates one further aspect of flow: it is more likely to occur when the activity at hand is a higher-than-average challenge (above the center point) and the individual has above-average skills (to the right of the center point). [8] The center of this graph (where the sectors meet) represents one's average levels of challenge and skill across all activities an individual performs during their daily life. The further from the center an experience is, the greater the intensity of that state of being (whether it is flow or anxiety or boredom or relaxation). [12]

Several problems of this model have been discussed in literature. [17] [20] One is that it does not ensure a perceived balance between challenges and skills which is supposed to be the central precondition of flow experiences. Individuals with a low average level of skills and a high average level of challenges (or the other way round) do not necessarily experience a fit between skills and challenges when both are above their individual average. [21] In addition, one study found that low challenge situations which were surpassed by skill were associated with enjoyment, relaxation, and happiness, which, they claim, is contrary to flow theory. [22]

Schaffer (2013) proposed seven flow conditions:

  • Knowing what to do
  • Knowing how to do it
  • Knowing how well you are doing
  • Knowing where to go (if navigation is involved)
  • High perceived challenges
  • High perceived skills
  • Freedom from distractions

Schaffer also published a measure, the flow condition questionnaire (FCQ), to measure each of these seven flow conditions for any given task or activity. [23]

Challenges to staying Edit

Some of the challenges to staying in flow include states of apathy, boredom, and anxiety. Being in a state of apathy is characterized when challenges are low and one's skill level is low producing a general lack of interest in the task at hand. Boredom is a slightly different state in that it occurs when challenges are low, but one's skill level exceeds those challenges causing one to seek higher challenges. A state of anxiety occurs when challenges are so high that they exceed one's perceived skill level causing one great distress and uneasiness. These states in general differ from being in a state of flow, in that flow occurs when challenges match one's skill level. [24] Consequently, Csíkszentmihályi has said, "If challenges are too low, one gets back to flow by increasing them. If challenges are too great, one can return to the flow state by learning new skills." [3]

The autotelic personality Edit

Csíkszentmihályi hypothesized that people with several very specific personality traits may be better able to achieve flow more often than the average person. These personality traits include curiosity, persistence, low self-centeredness, and a high rate of performing activities for intrinsic reasons only. People with most of these personality traits are said to have an autotelic personality. [12] The term “autotelic” is acquired from two Greek words, auto, meaning self, and telos meaning goal. Being Autotelic means having a self-contained activity, one that is done not with the expectation of some future benefit, but simply to experience it as the main goal. [25]

At this point, there is not much research on the autotelic personality, but results of the few studies that have been conducted suggest that indeed some people are more prone to experience flow than others. One researcher (Abuhamdeh, 2000) found that people with an autotelic personality have a greater preference for "high-action-opportunity, high-skills situations that stimulate them and encourage growth" compared to those without an autotelic personality. [12] It is in such high-challenge, high-skills situations that people are most likely to enter the flow state.

Experimental evidence shows that a balance between skills of the individual and demands of the task (compared to boredom and overload) only elicits flow experiences in individuals characterized by an internal locus of control [26] or a habitual action orientation. [27] Several correlational studies found need for achievement to be a personal characteristic that fosters flow experiences. [28] [29] [30]

Group flow is notably different from independent flow as it is inherently mutual. Group flow is attainable when the performance unit is a group, such as a team or musical group. When groups cooperate to agree on goals and patterns, social flow, commonly known as group cohesion, is much more likely to occur. If a group still has not entered flow, a team-level challenge may stimulate the group to harmonize. [31]

Applications suggested by Csíkszentmihályi versus other practitioners Edit

Only Csíkszentmihályi seems to have published suggestions for extrinsic applications of the flow concept, such as design methods for playgrounds to elicit the flow experience. Other practitioners of Csíkszentmihályi's flow concept focus on intrinsic applications, such as spirituality, performance improvement, or self-help. His work has also informed the measurement of donor momentum by The New Science of Philanthropy.

Education Edit

In education, the concept of overlearning plays a role in a student's ability to achieve flow. Csíkszentmihályi [32] states that overlearning enables the mind to concentrate on visualizing the desired performance as a singular, integrated action instead of a set of actions. Challenging assignments that (slightly) stretch one's skills lead to flow. [33]

In the 1950s British cybernetician Gordon Pask designed an adaptive teaching machine called SAKI, an early example of "e-learning". The machine is discussed in some detail in Stafford Beer's book "Cybernetics and Management". [34] In the patent application for SAKI (1956), [35] Pask's comments (some of which are included below) indicate an awareness of the pedagogical importance of balancing student competence with didactic challenge, which is quite consistent with flow theory:

If the operator is receiving data at too slow a rate, he is likely to become bored and attend to other irrelevant data.

If the data given indicates too precisely what responses the operator is required to make, the skill becomes too easy to perform and the operator again tends to become bored.

If the data given is too complicated or is given at too great a rate, the operator is unable to deal with it. He is then liable to become discouraged and lose interest in performing or learning the skill.

Ideally, for an operator to perform a skill efficiently, the data presented to him should always be of sufficient complexity to maintain his interest and maintain a competitive situation, but not so complex as to discourage the operator. Similarly these conditions should obtain at each stage of a learning process if it is to be efficient. A tutor teaching one pupil seeks to maintain just these conditions.

Around 2000, it came to the attention of Csíkszentmihályi that the principles and practices of the Montessori Method of education seemed to purposefully set up continuous flow opportunities and experiences for students. Csíkszentmihályi and psychologist Kevin Rathunde embarked on a multi-year study of student experiences in Montessori settings and traditional educational settings. The research supported observations that students achieved flow experiences more frequently in Montessori settings. [36] [37] [38]

Music Edit

Musicians, especially improvisational soloists, may experience a state of flow while playing their instrument. [39] Research has shown that performers in a flow state have a heightened quality of performance as opposed to when they are not in a flow state. In a study performed with professional classical pianists who played piano pieces several times to induce a flow state, a significant relationship was found between the flow state of the pianist and the pianist's heart rate, blood pressure, and major facial muscles. As the pianist entered the flow state, heart rate and blood pressure decreased and the major facial muscles relaxed. This study further emphasized that flow is a state of effortless attention. In spite of the effortless attention and overall relaxation of the body, the performance of the pianist during the flow state improved. [40]

Groups of drummers experience a state of flow when they sense a collective energy that drives the beat, something they refer to as getting into the groove or entrainment. Likewise drummers and bass guitarists often describe a state of flow when they are feeling the downbeat together as being in the pocket. [41] Researchers have measured flow through subscales challenge-skill balance, merging of action and awareness, clear goals, unambiguous feedback, total concentration, sense of control, loss of self-consciousness, transformation of time and autotelic experience. [42]

Sports Edit

The concept of being in the zone during an athletic performance fits within Csíkszentmihályi's description of the flow experience, and theories and applications of being in the zone and its relationship with athletic competitive advantage are topics studied in the field of sport psychology. [43]

Timothy Gallwey's influential works on the "inner game" of sports such as golf and tennis described the mental coaching and attitudes required to "get in the zone" and fully internalize mastery of the sport. [44]

Roy Palmer suggests that "being in the zone" may also influence movement patterns as better integration of the conscious and subconscious reflex functions improves coordination. Many athletes describe the effortless nature of their performance while achieving personal bests. [45] [46] [47]

In many martial arts, the term Budō is used to describe psychological flow. [48] Mixed martial arts champion and Karate master Lyoto Machida uses meditation techniques before fights to attain mushin, a concept that, by his description, is in all respects equal to flow.

The Formula One driver Ayrton Senna, during qualifying for the 1988 Monaco Grand Prix, explained: "I was already on pole, [. ] and I just kept going. Suddenly I was nearly two seconds faster than anybody else, including my team mate with the same car. And suddenly I realised that I was no longer driving the car consciously. I was driving it by a kind of instinct, only I was in a different dimension. It was like I was in a tunnel." [49]

Former 500 GP rider Wayne Gardner talking about his victory at the 1990 Australian Grand Prix on The Unrideables 2 documentary said: ''During these last five laps I had this sort of above body experience where actually raised up above and I could see myself racing. It was kind of a remote control and it's the weirdest thing I've ever had in my life. [. ] After the race Mick [Doohan] and in fact Wayne Rainey said: ''How the hell did you do that?'' and I said: ''I have no idea.'''' [50]

Religion and spirituality Edit

In yogic traditions such as Raja Yoga, reference is made to a state of flow [51] in the practice of Samyama, a psychological absorption in the object of meditation. [52]

Games and gaming Edit

Flow in games and gaming has been linked to the laws of learning as part of the explanation for why learning-games (the use of games to introduce material, improve understanding, or increase retention) have the potential to be effective. [53] In particular, flow is intrinsically motivating, which is part of the law of readiness. The condition of feedback, required for flow, is associated with the feedback aspects of the law of exercise. This is exhibited in well designed games, in particular, where players perform at the edge of their competency as they are guided by clear goals and feedback. [54] The positive emotions associated with flow are associated with the law of effect. The intense experiences of being in a state of flow are directly associated with the law of intensity. Thus, the experience of gaming can be so engaging and motivating as it meets many of the laws of learning, which are inextricably connected to creating flow.

In games often much can be achieved thematically through an imbalance between challenge level and skill level. Horror games often keep challenges significantly above the player's level of competency in order to foster a continuous feeling of anxiety. Conversely, so called "relaxation games" keep the level of challenges significantly below the player's competency level, in order to achieve an opposite effect. [ citation needed ] The video game Flow was designed as part of Jenova Chen's master's thesis for exploring the design decisions that allow players to achieve the flow state, by adjusting the difficulty dynamically during play. [55]

It improves performance calling the phenomenon "TV trance", a 1981 BYTE article discussed how "the best seem to enter a trance where they play but don't pay attention to the details of the game". [56] The primary goal of games is to create entertainment through intrinsic motivation, which is related to flow that is, without intrinsic motivation it is virtually impossible to establish flow. [57] Through the balance of skill and challenge the player's brain is aroused, with attention engaged and motivation high. [54] Thus, the use of flow in games helps foster an enjoyable experience which in turn increases motivation and draws players to continue playing. As such, game designers strive to integrate flow principles into their projects. [58] Overall, the experience of play is fluid and is intrinsically psychologically rewarding independent of scores or in-game successes in the flow state. [54]

Design of intrinsically motivated computer systems Edit

A simplified modification to flow has been combined with the technology acceptance model (TAM) to help guide the design of and explain the adoption of intrinsically motivated computer systems. This model, the hedonic-motivation system adoption model (HMSAM) is modelled to improve the understanding of hedonic-motivation systems (HMS) adoption. [57] HMS are systems used primarily to fulfill users' intrinsic motivations, such for online gaming, virtual worlds, online shopping, learning/education, online dating, digital music repositories, social networking, online pornography, gamified systems, and for general gamification. Instead of a minor, TAM extension, HMSAM is an HMS-specific system acceptance model based on an alternative theoretical perspective, which is in turn grounded in flow-based concept of cognitive absorption (CA). The HMSAM further builds on van der Heijden's (2004) model of hedonic system adoption [59] by including CA as a key mediator of perceived ease of use (PEOU) and of behavioral intentions to use (BIU) hedonic-motivation systems. Typically, models simplistically represent "intrinsic motivations" by mere perceived enjoyed. Instead, HMSAM uses the more complex, rich construct of CA, which includes joy, control, curiosity, focused immersion, and temporal dissociation. CA is construct that is grounded in the seminal flow literature, yet CA has traditionally been used as a static construct, as if all five of its subconstructs occur at the same time—in direct contradiction to the flow literature. Thus, part of HMSAM's contribution is to return CA closer to its flow roots by re-ordering these CA subconstructs into more natural process-variance order as predicted by flow. Empirical data collection along with mediation tests further support this modeling approach.

Developers of computer software reference getting into a flow state as "wired in", or sometimes as The Zone, [60] [61] hack mode, [62] or operating on software time [63] when developing in an undistracted state. Stock market operators often use the term "in the pipe" to describe the psychological state of flow when trading during high volume days and market corrections. Professional poker players use the term "playing the A-game" when referring to the state of highest concentration and strategical awareness, while pool players often call the state being in "dead stroke".

In the workplace Edit

Conditions of flow, defined as a state in which challenges and skills are equally matched, play an extremely important role in the workplace. Because flow is associated with achievement, its development could have concrete implications in increasing workplace satisfaction and accomplishment. Flow researchers, such as Csikszentmihályi, believe that certain interventions may be performed to enhance and increase flow in the workplace, through which people would gain 'intrinsic rewards that encourage persistence" and provide benefits. In his consultation work, Csikszentmihályi emphasizes finding activities and environments that are conducive to flow, and then identifying and developing personal characteristics to increase experiences of flow. Applying these methods in the workplace, can improve morale by fostering a sense of greater happiness and accomplishment, which may be correlated with increased performance. In his review of Mihály Csikszentmihályi's book "Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning," Coert Visser introduces the ideas presented by Csikszentmihályi, including "good work" in which one "enjoys doing your best while at the same time contributing to something beyond yourself." [64] He then provides tools by which managers and employees can create an atmosphere that encourages good work. Some consultants suggest that the experience sampling form (EMS) method be used for individuals and teams in the workplace in order to identify how time is currently being spent, and where focus should be redirected to in order to increase flow experiences. [65]

In order to achieve flow, Csikszentmihályi lays out the following three conditions:

  • Goals are clear
  • Feedback is immediate
  • A balance exists between opportunity and capacity

Csikszentmihályi argues that with increased experiences of flow, people experience "growth towards complexity". People flourish as their achievements grow and with that comes development of increasing "emotional, cognitive, and social complexity." [64] Creating a workplace atmosphere that allows for flow and growth, Csikszentmihályi argues, can increase the happiness and achievement of employees. An increasingly popular way of promoting greater flow in the workplace is using the "serious play" facilitation methods. Some commercial organisations have used the concept of flow in building corporate branding and identity for example The Floow Limited which created its company brand from the concept.

Barriers Edit

There are, however, barriers to achieving flow in the workplace. In his chapter "Why Flow Doesn't Happen on the Job," Csikszentmihályi argues the first reason that flow does not occur is that the goals of one's job are not clear. He explains that while some tasks at work may fit into a larger, organization plan, the individual worker may not see where their individual task fits it. Second, limited feedback about one's work can reduce motivation and leaves the employee unaware of whether or not they did a good job. When there is little communication of feedback, an employee may not be assigned tasks that challenge them or seem important, which could potentially prevent an opportunity for flow.

In the study "Predicting flow at work: Investigating the activities and job characteristics that predict flow states at work", Karina Nielsen and Bryan Cleal used a 9-item flow scale to examine predictors of flow at two levels: activity level (such as brainstorming, problem solving, and evaluation) and at a more stable level (such as role clarity, influence, and cognitive demands). They found that activities such as planning, problem solving, and evaluation predicted transient flow states, but that more stable job characteristics were not found to predict flow at work. This study can help us identify which task at work can be cultivated and emphasized in order to help employees experience flow on the job. [66] In her article in Positive Psychology News Daily, Kathryn Britton examines the importance of experiencing flow in the workplace beyond the individual benefits it creates. She writes, "Flow isn't just valuable to individuals it also contributes to organizational goals. For example, frequent experiences of flow at work lead to higher productivity, innovation, and employee development (Csikszentmihályi, 1991, 2004). So finding ways to increase the frequency of flow experiences can be one way for people to work together to increase the effectiveness of their workplaces." [67]

Positive experiences Edit

Books by Csikszentmihályi suggest that enhancing the time spent in flow makes our lives more happy and successful. Flow experiences are predicted to lead to positive affect as well as to better performance. [32] [68] For example, delinquent behavior was reduced in adolescents after two years of enhancing flow through activities. [69]

People who have experienced flow, describe the following feelings:

  1. Completely involved in what we are doing – focused, concentrated.
  2. A sense of ecstasy – of being outside everyday reality.
  3. Great inner clarity – knowing what needs to be done, and how well we are doing.
  4. Knowing that the activity is doable – that our skills are adequate to the task.
  5. A sense of serenity – no worries about oneself, and a feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of the ego.
  6. Timelessness – thoroughly focused on the present, hours seem to pass by the minute.
  7. Intrinsic motivation – whatever produces flow becomes its own reward. [70]

However, further empirical evidence is required to substantiate these preliminary indications, as flow researchers continue to explore the problem of how to directly investigate causal consequences of flow experiences using modern scientific instrumentation to observe the neuro-physiological correlates of the flow state. [71]

Positive affect and life satisfaction Edit

Flow is an innately positive experience it is known to "produce intense feelings of enjoyment". [8] An experience that is so enjoyable should lead to positive affect and happiness in the long run. Also, Csikszentmihályi stated that happiness is derived from personal development and growth – and flow situations permit the experience of personal development. [68]

Several studies found that flow experiences and positive affect go hand in hand, [29] [72] and that challenges and skills above the individual's average foster positive affect. [73] [74] [75] However, the causal processes underlying those relationships remain unclear at present.

Performance and learning Edit

Flow experiences imply a growth principle. When one is in a flow state, they are working to master the activity at hand. To maintain that flow state, one must seek increasingly greater challenges. Attempting these new, difficult challenges stretches one's skills. One emerges from such a flow experience with a bit of personal growth and great "feelings of competence and efficacy". [16] By increasing time spent in flow, intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning also increases. [76]

Flow has a documented correlation with high performance in the fields of artistic and scientific creativity, [77] [78] teaching, [79] learning, [80] and sports [81] [82]

Flow has been linked to persistence and achievement in activities while also helping to lower anxiety during various activities and raise self-esteem. [83]

However, evidence regarding better performance in flow situations is mixed. [71] For sure, the association between the two is a reciprocal one. That is, flow experiences may foster better performance but, on the other hand, good performance makes flow experiences more likely. Results of a longitudinal study in the academic context indicate that the causal effect of flow on performance is only of small magnitude and the strong relationship between the two is driven by an effect of performance on flow. [28] In the long run, flow experiences in a specific activity may lead to higher performance in that activity as flow is positively correlated with a higher subsequent motivation to perform and to perform well. [16]

Csikszentmihályi writes about the dangers of flow himself:

. enjoyable activities that produce flow have a potentially negative effect: while they are capable of improving the quality of existence by creating order in the mind, they can become addictive, at which point the self becomes captive of a certain kind of order, and is then unwilling to cope with the ambiguities of life.

The flow experience, like everything else, is not "good" in an absolute sense. It is good only in that it has the potential to make life more rich, intense, and meaningful it is good because it increases the strengths and complexity of the self. But whether the consequence of any particular instance of flow is good in a larger sense needs to be discussed and evaluated in terms of more inclusive social criteria. [84]

Additional Criticisms


Keller and Landhäußer (2012, p. 56) advocate for a flow intensity model because many models of flow have trouble predicting the intensity of flow experiences that can occur under various circumstances where skill and task demands fit together to produce flow. [17]


Cowley et. Al found that because self-reported flow happens after-the-fact, it doesn’t really capture the aspect of flow that happens in the moment. Furthermore, that aspect of flow is prone to change, so the self-reported experience of flow cannot be trusted as much. [85]


Cameron et al. et al. Found that there isn’t a lot of information on group flow, and this may be hindering development in managerial and theoretical contributions. [86]

Cameron et al. Proposed a research program that focuses on how group flow is different from individual flow, and how group flow affects group performance. These ideas will address some of the issues in group flow research such as poor data collection and interpretation. [86]


Sridhar & Lyngdoh propose that studies should investigate how flow affects the ethical performance of sales professionals. Furthermore, there should be longitudinal studies done in various fields to understand the ethical implications of flow in sales. [87]


From their study, Chen et al. found that there needs to be more research done on how competition affects game-based learning. [88]


Linden et. Al Suggest that a neuroscientific model of flow would lead to new research questions that would guide future discoveries, experiments, and less obvious questions. [89]


Thissen et al. Propose more research be down with how flow affects fiction reading in all types of readers. [90]


Social Affect: Feelings about Ourselves and Others

Affect refers to the feelings we experience as part of our everyday lives. As our day progresses, we may find ourselves feeling happy or sad, jealous or grateful, proud or embarrassed. Although affect can be harmful if it is unregulated or unchecked, our affective experiences normally help us to function efficiently and in a way that increases our chances of survival. Affect signals us that things are going all right (e.g., because we are in a good mood or are experiencing joy or serenity) or that things are not going so well (we are in a bad mood, anxious, upset, or angry). Affect can also lead us to engage in behaviors that are appropriate to our perceptions of a given situation. When we are happy, we may seek out and socialize with others when we are angry, we may attack when we are fearful, we may run away.

We experience affect in the form of mood and emotions. Mood refers to the positive or negative feelings that are in the background of our everyday experiences. Most of the time, we are in a relatively good mood, and positive mood has some positive consequences—it encourages us to do what needs to be done and to make the most of the situations we are in (Isen, 2003). When we are in a good mood, our thought processes open up and we are more likely to approach others. We are more friendly and helpful to others when we are in a good mood than when we are in a bad mood, and we may think more creatively (De Dreu, Baas, & Nijstad, 2008). On the other hand, when we are in a bad mood, we are more likely to prefer to remain by ourselves rather than interact with others, and our creativity suffers.

Emotions are brief, but often intense, mental and physiological feeling states. In comparison with moods, emotions are shorter lived, stronger, and more specific forms of affect. Emotions are caused by specific events (things that make us, for instance, jealous or angry), and they are accompanied by high levels of arousal. Whereas we experience moods in normal, everyday situations, we experience emotions only when things are out of the ordinary or unusual. Emotions serve an adaptive role in helping us guide our social behaviors. Just as we run from a snake because the snake elicits fear, we may try to make amends with other people when we feel guilty.


Affective

Natural selection processes shaped not only human physiology but human psychology as well—our cognitive, affective , and motivational capacities and dispositions.

That fact alone demonstrates that more complex cognitive consciousness is dependent upon the basic affective form of consciousness that’s generated in the upper brainstem.

Studies show seasonal affective disorder is four times more common in women than men.

They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.

Instead, it turned out to be richly perceptual and affective .

The repetitive nature of his work is both effective and affective , especially in an exhibition of this scale.

Ariel Leve on why seasonal affective disorder does a disservice to those of us committed to year-round despair.

But the affective or appetitive powers tend towards external action.

The students of Religion have usually been content to describe it either in intellectual or in affective terms.

The passionate vehemence with which her words were uttered was affective .

Our work as educators will be to maintain a working harmony in the affective and instinctive life of the people.

Volition is here used in the wider sense, as including all motor and affective activities in mind.


Mediating and Moderating Variables Explained

What is the difference between a mediator and a moderator? One of my former academic advisors used to always say “be a walking laboratory”. I think it’s a very poetic way of describing a core feature of psychological research—to come up with theories or explanations for various phenomena we observe. Sometimes there isn’t a clear-cut relation between a dependent and independent variable. In those cases, a mediating variable or a moderating variable can provide a more illustrative account of how dependent (criterion) variables are related to independent (predictor) variables.

A mediating variable explains the relation between the independent (predictor) and the dependent (criterion) variable. It explains how or why there is a relation between two variables. A mediator can be a potential mechanism by which an independent variable can produce changes on a dependent variable. When you fully account for the effect of the mediator, the relation between independent and dependent variables may go away. For instance, imagine that you find a positive association between note-taking and performance on an exam. This association may be explained by number of hours studying, which would be the mediating variable.

A moderator is a variable that affects the strength of the relation between the predictor and criterion variable. Moderators specify when a relation will hold. It can be qualitative (e.g., sex, race, class…) or quantitative (e.g., drug dosage or level of reward). Moderating variable are typically an interaction term in statistical models. For instance, imagine researchers are evaluating the effects of a new cholesterol drug. The researchers vary the participants in minutes of daily exercise (predictor/independent variable) and measure their cholesterol levels after 30 days (criterion/dependent variable). They find that at low drug doses, there is a small association between exercise and cholesterol levels, but at high drug doses, there is a huge association between exercise and cholesterol levels. Drug dosage moderates the association between exercise and cholesterol levels.

Let’s look at some examples in psychological research.

A recent paper by Frank, Amso, & Johnson (2014) examined the developmental relationship between early perceptual abilities and face perception in infancy. In the study, the authors tested visual search abilities of 3-, 6-, and 9-month-old infants. Infants were shown panels of red rods against a black background. One of the rods was either slanted at a diagonal or moved back and forth. Accuracy at looking at the slanted or moving rod was calculated as “visual search accuracy”. Infants also viewed excerpts from Charlie Brown and Sesame Street and relative amount of time spent viewing faces was measured. They found that infants looked more at faces and were more accurate at identifying a moving target with age. This effect was fully mediated by visual search accuracy for moving rods. That is, developmental improvements in visual search accuracy fully accounted for the amount of time infants looked at faces.

A great example of a moderator comes from Cohen and Willis, 1985. In that study, the authors proposed a stress-buffering hypothesis. Prior research had suggested a main effect of social support on quality of life. However, Cohen and Willis demonstrated that the relation between social support and quality of life depends on an individual’s stress level. Someone who experiences a lot of stress, but has good social support, will show better outcomes (fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue. ) than someone with low social support. Social support is the moderating variable.

These examples should clarify the difference between mediating and moderating variables. Both types of variables provide interesting explanatory means to describe psychological phenomena.


The control trap

There is a trap into which many sales people and other would-be persuaders fall. This pitfall is to try to hold tightly to the reins of control throughout the whole process.

Grabbing control causes resistance

When I grab control of the conversation, talking past the point when you want to reply, you will get increasingly frustrated as you wait for a pause in which you can respond.

Sales people do this when they insist on going through the whole sales pitch even when the customer just wants to pay, take the product and leave.

Parents do it when they over-do the lectures to their children. A point which is initially accepted is later rejected at what gets seen as unfair punishment.

Taking direct control of a conversation or situation does not persuade. It is possible that you get temporary compliance, but you will not get true persuasion.

Fishing is a delicate game

The control game is much like fly fishing. Pull to hard and the fish will slip the hook. Let it out too far and the line will snag or the fish will swim away.

It is only through a sometimes-long process of give and take, you steadily reel in your fish.


Watch the video: cancer has spread emotional (August 2022).