Flow is a psychological state people experience when performing highly challenging tasks with a high degree of skill. It is related to happiness, creativity, and productivity. In three experiments, we developed a manipulation of flow and assessed its effects on subsequent defensive behavior. In all three experiments, participants who played a game with more features of flow (e.g. engagement, match of challenge and skill, performance feedback) reported more feelings of flow (e.g. enjoyment, concentration and interest) and less downstream defensiveness. The results suggest that we developed a flexible, reliable manipulation of flow, and that inducing people to experience flow may reduce their subsequent defensive behavior.
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