Keynote lectures

The flow experience: The influence of skills-demands-compatibility on experiential and physiological indicators

 prof.dr Johannes Keller, Ulm University, Germany


The experience of flow, as reflected in the deep involvement in an activity perceived as intrinsically rewarding, is typically described as an “optimal experience”. In the literature discussing the flow experience, one frequently finds the advice to maximize time in flow to enhance life-satisfaction and subjective well-being. However, this advice seems premature because consequences of flow experiences have not been systematically assessed yet. In order to address this gap, we investigated the influence of skills-demands-compatibility (the central precondition of flow experiences) on several experiential and physiological processes in a series of experiments. The experience of
(non-)flow was manipulated based on different modes of computerized tasks. Participants worked on the tasks either in one of two non-adaptive conditions (“boredom” or “overload”), or in an adaptive playing mode condition, in which the difficulty level is constantly adapted to participants’ individual performance level. The latter reliably leads to significantly higher levels of self-reported flow experience compared to non-adaptive conditions. Also, participants showed distinct physiological reactions under adaptive conditions compared to non-adaptive conditions. Our results suggest that flow involves a combination of distinct experiential and physiological processes. Some elements of our findings suggest that flow situations can be associated with physiological stress responses. These results challenge the “rosy picture perspective” on flow that predominates in the literature on the flow experience to date.


Cognitive constraints and language structures

prof.dr Aleksandar Kostić, Laboratory for Experimental Psychology, Psychology Department, University of Belgrade

At the Laboratory for Experimental Psychology (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade) there is a continuous line of research devoted to better understanding of language processing, in particular, processing of inflected morphology. In the course of several decades this line of research addressed some of the basic issues related to language structuring and the set of cognitive constraints that guide this structuring. Put differently, this research is based on the premise that in order to understand language processing we should get thorough insight into the logic of language structures.

The conceptual framework of this research is based on the premise that language is a self-organizing system where language structures emerge as an optimal solution for a given cognitive constraints. The metric applied in this research is derived from information-theoretic framework. Number of experimental data indicates that cognitive system is extremely sensitive to uncertainty variation expressed in terms of the amount of information (entropy). Consequently, the dynamics the language structures is motivated by preservation of optimal information load margins which appear as indices of the stable state of the overall system.