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Emotion. 2010 Jun;10(3):301-11. doi: 10.1037/a0018432.

The psychophysiology of flow during piano playing.

Author information

1
Neuropediatric Research Unit Q2:07, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. orjan.demanzano@ki.se

Abstract

Expert performance is commonly accompanied by a subjective state of optimal experience called flow. Previous research has shown positive correlations between flow and quality of performance and suggests that flow may function as a reward signal that promotes practice. Here, piano playing was used as a flow-inducing behavior in order to analyze the relationship between subjective flow reports and psychophysiological measures. Professional classical pianists were asked to play a musical piece and then rate state flow. The performance was repeated five times in order to induce a variation in flow, keeping other factors constant, while recording the arterial pulse pressure waveform, respiration, head movements, and activity from the corrugator supercilii and zygomaticus major facial muscles. A significant relation was found between flow and heart period, blood pressure, heart rate variability, activity of the zygomaticus major muscle, and respiratory depth. These findings are discussed in relation to current models of emotion, attention, and expertise, and flow is proposed to be a state of effortless attention, which arises through an interaction between positive affect and high attention.

PMID:
20515220
DOI:
10.1037/a0018432
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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