A possible physiological correlate for mental flow

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A possible physiological correlate for mental flow

The relationship between mental flow and physiological coherence was investigated in three tasks. Coherence is a state defined by a particular pattern of low frequency heart rate variability (HRV) which has been related to optimal performance and positive mental states. Flow is a pleasurable performance-enhancing psychological state. In the first task participants answered questionnaires. In the second they played a coherence-inducing biofeedback game and in a third they played a flow-inducing videogame. HRV was used to measure coherence while flow was assessed using the Flow State Scales. The data revealed that coherence could be induced without flow and vice versa. More surprising the correlations between flow and coherence were different in each of the tasks. We conclude that coherence and flow are discrete constructs despite their theoretical similarities.

The Journal of Positive Psychology Volume 7, Issue 4, 2012

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