All or nothing: The influence of hyperactivity and inattention on perceived flow engagement and time distortion during video game play
Mosse Sahlstrom, Love
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ADHD has long been associated with negative aspects of daily functioning, and few investigations have investigated the potentially positive aspects of the neurological condition. However, studies suggest individuals with ADHD tendencies are better at dealing with urgent threats, possess increased sensitivity for sound-colour impressions, and are inclined to enter a state hyper focus in situations that interest them or capture their full attention. Specifically, self-reported ADHD symptoms have been associated with self-reported scores of hyper focus scales. In turn, hyper focus is a concept closely related to flow theory; rationalizing an investigation into the relationship between ADHD and flow engagement. ADHD has furthermore been associated with increased screen-time and amplified risk for video game addiction. Hence, this study aimed to investigate the influence of hyperactivity/ impulsivity and inattention (components of ADHD) on self-reported flow and time distortion. Forty eight (N = 48) adult participants were recruited online for the purpose of completing an ASRS Scale, play Tetris during three temporally separated intervals, estimate the amount of time played they had played after each interval, and complete the Flow Short scale. Two independent t-tests indicated no significant effects of hyperactivity/ impulsivity or inattention on self-reported flow, but significant effects on time distortion. Similarly, two Mann Whitney U tests indicated no significant effects on self-reported flow, but significant effects on time distortion. Conclusively, the findings suggested that, during video game play, hyperactivity/ impulsivity and inattention significantly distort our capacity for temporal estimation, which is a key component of flow. However, no significant differences were found in relation to self-reported flow scores. Future studies of similar nature are recommended to employ a sample size of N = +100, conduct the study offline in a controlled environment, and include additional outcome variables such as eye-tracking for increased inter-rater reliability.
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