Notes on ‘‘Toward Integrative Models of Flow’’: Effects of Performance, Skill, Challenge, Playfulness, and Presence on Flow in Video Games by Seung-A Annie Jin

Flow is the “process of optimal experience” (Jin, 169). Flow is also qualified by the overlapping of “a clear goal, feedback, a match between challenge and skill, concentration, focus,
control, loss of self-consciousness, transformation of time, and the activity’s autotelic nature” (Jin, 169).

According to Csikszentmihalyi’s “explication of activities that are most likely to induce the flow state”, an activity must do the following:

  • “have concrete goals with manageable rules”
  • “provide actions and opportunities that can be manually or automatically adjusted to users’ skills and capabilities”
  • “provide clear information on how users are doing”
  • “have abundant multimodal (visual, aural, and haptic) information that screens out distractions and facilitates concentration” (Jin, 170)

Within the framework of necessary condition, the most important necessary condition is that there is an equal balance of both challenge and skill (170). According to both self-determination theory and cognitive evaluation theory, “receiving positive feedback from successful performance” increases the competence of the individual and near-intrinsically induces the state of flow (Jin, 170).

In 2004, one study found that video games provide the ideal framework for the induction of flow in that they are inherently easy to optimize for induction into the state (Jin, 171). Additionally, more creative gamers are more likely to experience flow along with their sense of originality (Jin, 173).

Autoletic personality is defined as “a conjunction of receptive qualities (i.e., openness to new challenges) and active qualities (i.e., readiness to engage and persist in high-challenge activities) characterized by curiosity about meta-skills, interest in life, imagination, and inventiveness” (Jin, 173).

As an autoletic trait, playfulness has been shown to relate to gamers’ feelings of originality and creativity, which can more readily induce the flow state (Jin, 173).

Self presence has been shown to be a key factor in the onset of flow (Jin, 173). This “self presence” can be virtual or physical – the virtual variation of which is classified by a method of virtual representation of the player within the gamespace (Jin, 174).

Flow is classified by the following 4 criteria:

  • “focused attention” on one’s actions
  • “a loss of reflective self-consciousness”
  • “a deep sense of control”
  • “distorted temporal experience” (Jin, 175)

The rest of this article did not usefully add to the ideas already discussed – it simply elaborated upon the reasons why the previously discussed statements were true.

Jin, Seung-A Annie. “‘Toward Integrative Models of Flow’: Effects of Performance, Skill, Challenge, Playfulness, and Presence on Flow in Video Games.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 56, no. 2, 2012, pp. 169–186., doi:10.1080/08838151.2012.678516.

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