Flow, hypnotizability, absorption, and neuroticism in a college student population.



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The concept of “flow” refers to a state of attention and concentration in a current task. Benefits of entering a flow state may include the ability to optimize performance by reducing conscious cognitive processing (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002). For example, studies have found a state of flow is associated with improved athletic performance (Swann, Keegan, Piggot, & Crust, 2012). However, little is known about the relationship between other constructs and the impact they have on flow state. Dietrich (2004) has suggested that the ability to enter a flow state may relate to the same conscious state as hypnosis and absorption. Research also suggests a negative correlation between neuroticism and flow (Ullen et al., 2012). Further, Carlstedt (2004) posits a theory on optimal performance which suggests that high hypnotizability, high absorption ability, and low neuroticism may combine to improve the ability to enter a flow state. The present study addresses the relationship between flow and the constructs of hypnotizability, absorption, and neuroticism. One hundred and seventy undergraduate students completed measures of flow (CORE Flow Scale; CORE), hypnotizability (Elkins Hypnotizability Scale; EHS), absorption (Tellegen Absorption Scale; TAS), neuroticism (International Personality Item Pool- Neuroticism; IPIP-N), and dispositional flow (Dispositional Flow Scale-long version; DFS). Results indicated positive correlations between CORE and EHS as well as between DFS and IPIP-N. Multiple regression analysis confirmed a relationship between DFS, EHS, and CORE such that DFS has a moderating effect on the relationship between EHS and CORE. Results of this study advance knowledge of the gaps in components of flow and our understanding of the flow state experience by expanding on the relationship between flow state and hypnosis as well as neuroticism.