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Flow Theory

  • By: Seung-A Annie Jin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

Flow theory, as suggested by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, posits that people feel happiest when they are in a state of flow. People experience flow in their everyday lives, professional performances, leisure activities, and entertainment media consumption. Flow has been one of the most prominent concepts of positive psychology. The concept has been examined over the past decade across various disciplines, including psychology, marketing, communication, education, organizational science, and cognitive neuroscience. This entry provides a definition of flow and the key characteristics of a flow state as well as a discussion about the theoretical and practical relevance of the flow construct to psychology of media violence. The entry concludes with a discussion about individual difference factors that moderate the effects of violent media enjoyment on flow.

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