Time Speeds Up During Flow States: A Study in Virtual Reality with the Video Game Thumper

Hans Rutrecht, Marc Wittmann, Shiva Khoshnoud, Federico Alvarez Igarzábal
2021 Timing & Time Perception  
Flow is a mental state characterized by deep absorption during challenging activities, which was first studied by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. One of the defining characteristics of this state is the loss of the sense of time. Despite the widespread scientific interest in flow, there are few quantitative studies specifically on the aspect of time perception. The present study focuses on the relation between time perception and flow states in the context of video game play. Participants (n = 100)
more » ... yed the rhythm game Thumper for 25 minutes in one of two conditions: in virtual reality (VR) or on a computer screen (2D). Participants who played the game in VR performed better and had a stronger feeling of presence than those who played in 2D. Thumper was flow-inducing regardless of condition and the more flow participants experienced the less they thought about time and the faster time passed subjectively. The total score obtained by players as an objective measure of player performance was positively correlated with flow states, indicating that the more flow participants experienced, the better they played.
doi:10.1163/22134468-bja10033 fatcat:qc4wjorzpzdsbgiy7pth2d3ena