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Mohammad Shehata, Salma Elnagar, Shota Yasunaga, Shigeki Nakauchi, Shinsuke Shimojo; Flow of the eye: Gaze direction as an objective measure of flow experience. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1205. doi: 10.1167/18.10.1205.
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INTRODUCTION: Flow is a mental state in which a person performing an activity, at the appropriate skill-challenge level, experience high focus and control, enjoyment, effortless action, and reduced self-consciousness and sense of time (Csikszentmihalyi et al., 1975, 2014). So far, most studies identify the flow through subjective questionnaires (Jackson et al., 2008, 2010). Only few studies tried to establish an objective measure of flow utilizing physiological measures such as heart, vascular or hormonal changes (Manzano et al., 2010; Peifer et al., 2014; Tozman et al., 2016) or auditory evoked potential measured through electroencephalogram recording (Shehata et al., unpublished). Here, we tested the utilization of eye measures as an objective measure of flow. METHODS and RESULTS: We used a music rhythm game to induce flow in 8 healthy volunteers. In experiment 1, three conditions were used for each music of choice: "Easy", "Normal", or "Overload" based on the number of notes to respond to, thus, creating a low, fit, or high skill-challenge levels, respectively. Blinking rate and gaze direction (towards notes entry) were found to reflect the skill-challenge level (N=8). In experiment 2, "Easy" condition was replaced by "Boredom" condition which matches "Normal" condition in the number of notes but the notes were repetitive and the music was shuffled. Thus, "Boredom" condition manipulated the enjoyment element of flow, confirmed through a subjective questionnaire, without affecting the sensory-motor load. Here, only gaze direction was found to reflect the enjoyment level while blinking rate was related only to the notes number (N=6). CONCLUSION: Gaze direction was found to reflect both the appropriate skill-challenge level and high enjoyment as critical elements of the flow, providing a promising objective flow measure. It is more objective and feasible to measure, with a higher temporal resolution and accuracy, relative to the previously reported objective measures.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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