The relation between the sense of agency and the experience of flow

Abstract

This article investigates the relation between people’s feelings of agency and their feelings of flow. In the dominant model describing how people are able to assess their own agency-the comparator model of agency-when the person’s intentions match perfectly to what happens, the discrepancy between intention and outcome is zero, and the person is thought to interpret this lack of discrepancy as being in control. The lack of perceived push back from the external world seems remarkably similar to the state that has been described as a state of flow. However, when we used a computer game paradigm to investigate the relation between people’s feelings of agency and their feelings of flow, we found a dissociation between these two states. Although these two states may, in some ways, seem to be similar, our data indicate that they are governed by different principles and phenomenology.

Publication
Consciousness and Cognition
Date