Mapping flow experience by electroencephalography (EEG) dynamics and connectivity


Although not originally designed as an explanation of media enjoyment, the Flow Theory (FT) has been broadly used in the field of media psychology to investigate issues like how does enjoyment occur during media exposure and why does it differ among individuals. In this project, we will  investigate using neuroscience methods the Synchronization Theory of Flow (STF), which defines the subjective experience of “flow”, focused motivation leading to a feeling of spontaneous joy during media use, as the result of the synchronization of attentional and reward processing brain
networks. By means of electrodes placed on participants’ scalp (electroencephalogram), this project aims to measure electrical pulses at different brain sites to map the EEG temporal dynamics of attentional networks.

Data analysis techniques such as granger causality connectivity measures, dynamic causal modeling and transfer entropy will be used. In a final stage, we will combine the electrophysiological brain signals with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to reconstruct the brain sources that give rise to the scalp potentials and map connectivity patterns between attentional and reward related networks. By going beyond the traditional event related
component analyses and guided by a formally and neurally explicit model, this research will increase our understanding of the neural correlates of flow during media use and its temporal dynamics.

Duration of the project

The project runs from 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2017.

Staff involved

  • dr. Elena Núñez Castellar

Financed by

  • University Research Fund (BOF) - Ghent University