Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 3 of 3 items for

  • Author or Editor: Chanel J. Larche x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search

Abstract

Background and aims

Interest surrounding the relationship between flow and problematic gameplay has surged. An important antecedent of flow in the context of video-gaming is the skill-challenge balance, but researchers have only manipulated this balance by changing speed of play. The current research seeks to examine the skill-challenge balance and flow in a mobile game in which challenge is increased via the complexity of puzzles. We predicted games like Candy-Crush would more strongly support a model of flow in which the greatest flow would be experienced by more skilled players and that high flow games would induce the most urge to continue play.

Methods

We had 60 Candy-Crush players play games near their level standing (maximal skill-challenge balance), or games that were too easy or too hard. Perceived skill, challenge, flow, and urge to continue gameplay were measured after each game.

Results

Players felt the highest degree of skill-challenge balance when playing games around their level standing. Easy games produced the least flow, while both regular and hard games produced comparable flow despite hard games being far more challenging and frustrating. The findings support models of flow positing those with highest perceived skill will experience greater flow. Finally, flow and arousal combine to increase urge to keep playing.

Discussion and conclusions

Our findings suggest those with high perceived skill will experience deep, immersive flow which motivates players to keep playing.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Mike J. Dixon
,
Jeffrey Gutierrez
,
Chanel J. Larche
,
Madison Stange
,
Candice Graydon
,
Tyler B. Kruger
, and
Stephen D. Smith

Background and aims

Slot machines are a very popular form of gambling. In this study, we look at two different routes to enjoying slots play. One route involves the degree to which players react to rewards. The other route involves what we call dark flow – a pleasurable, but maladaptive state where players become completely engrossed in slots play, providing an escape from the depressing thoughts that characterize their everyday lives.

Methods

One hundred and twenty-nine high-frequency slots players were tested on slot-machine simulators set up in the lobby of a casino. We measured reward reactivity using post-reinforcement pauses (PRPs) and the force with which players pressed the spin button following different slot-machine outcomes. For each player, we calculated the slopes of PRPs and force as a function of credit gains. We also assessed players’ slots game enjoyment and their experience of dark flow, depression, and problem gambling.

Results

Both the PRP and the force measures of reward reactivity were significantly correlated with players’ enjoyment of the slots session, but neither measure was correlated with either problem gambling or depression. Ratings of dark flow were strongly correlated with slots enjoyment (which accounted for far more positive affect variance than the reward reactivity measures) and were correlated with both problem gambling scores and depression.

Discussion and conclusions

Our results suggest that of these two routes to enjoying slot-machine play, the dark flow route is especially problematic. We contend that the dark flow state may be enjoyable because it provides escape from the negative thoughts linked to depression.

Open access
Journal of Behavioral Addictions
Authors:
Tyler B. Kruger
,
Mike J. Dixon
,
Candice Graydon
,
Madison Stange
,
Chanel J. Larche
,
Stephen D. Smith
, and
Daniel Smilek

Abstract

Background and aims: Slot machines are a pervasive form of gambling in North America. Some gamblers describe entering “the slot machine zone”—a complete immersion into slots play to the exclusion of all else. Methods: We assessed 111 gamblers for mindfulness (using the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS)), gambling problems (using the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)), depressive symptoms (using the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale), and boredom proneness (using the Boredom Proneness Scale). In a counterbalanced order, participants played a slot machine simulator and completed an auditory vigilance task. During each task, participants were interrupted with thought probes to assess whether they were: on-task, spontaneously mind-wandering, or deliberately mind-wandering. After completing each task, we retrospectively assessed flow and affect. Compared to the more exciting slots play, we propose that gamblers may use deliberate mind-wandering as a maladaptive means to regulate affect during a repetitive vigilance task. Results: Our key results were that gamblers reported greater negative affect following the vigilance task (when compared to slots) and greater positive affect following slots play (when compared to the vigilance task). We also found that those who scored higher in problem gambling were more likely to use deliberate mind-wandering as a means to cope with negative affect during the vigilance task. Using hierarchical multiple regression, we found that the number of “deliberately mind-wandering” responses accounted for unique variance when predicting problem gambling severity (over and above depression, mindfulness, and boredom proneness). Conclusions: These assessments highlight a potential coping mechanism used by problem gamblers in order to deal with negative affect.

Open access