Models of concentration in natural environments: A comparative approach based on streams of experiential data
Giovanni B. Moneta (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (University of Chicago), 1999, 27(6), 603-638

The concept of flow is well-established in the psychology literature, and we are fortunate to have the key player in its development, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as a member of our Board of Consulting Editors. Searching through our archives, I was interested to see the variety in topics covered in relation to flow, with a number of recent studies focused on gaming experience in online contexts.

When Csikszentmihalyi first proposed the concept, in 1975, computers in general, let alone the Internet, were not yet in wide use. I think it’s great that classic theories, such as this one, have a strong basis for application to modern contexts.

In this paper, Csikszentmihalyi and his coauthor Moneta investigated one aspect of flow theory—that of subjective feelings of concentration being dependent on the balance between perceived challenges posed by a task and perceived skills in mastering the task. Participants were given a pager and a set of identical questionnaires to carry with him/her for 7 consecutive days, and pager signals were transmitted at eight intervals per day, after which the participant was instructed to complete one of the questionnaires. As predicted, subjective feelings of concentration were affected by both key factors, although it was noted that concentration does vary throughout the day. The authors finish with a statement that despite the wealth of existing research, there is still room for further development of a the flow model, an aim which is still in progress four decades after its introduction!

Sarah Krivan | Marketing Manager
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal