The Process of Entering Flow and the Outcomes of Flow in Product Trials
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Flow is a psychological state that is considered to be an ‘optimal experience.’ Given its power in eliciting positive experiences, flow has been suggested to be an important topic for future research. However, the literature lacks a nuanced understanding of flow and it has yet to expand beyond the online context in consumer behavior research. This dissertation addresses these related problems through two essays. The first essay addresses the underlying problem by helping understand the process of entering flow. I demonstrate how the two component parts of flow- fluency and absorption, combine to elicit flow. Across three studies I demonstrate that fluency-related aspects of an experience facilitate the absorption-related experiences, which mediate perceptions of being in flow overall. In Study 1 I demonstrate that the perceived fluency of listening to a song increases absorption which mediates perceptions of being in flow. In Study 2 I replicate the flow process model in the context of reading. Study 3 is dedicated to shutting down the relationship between fluency and absorption. I shut down the relationship between fluency and absorption by having people work on an easy Sudoku puzzle. The second essay builds from the findings of the first to facilitate flow in product trials and demonstrate the positive consequences it has for product attitudes and the desire to engage with the products again. I use three studies to achieve these goals. In Study 1 I demonstrate that flow experienced in the trial of a rowing machine mediates the desire to engage with the rowing machine again. In Study 2, I demonstrate that manipulating curiosity before the trial of an augmented reality game facilitates flow while playing the game. In Study 2 I also demonstrate that flow mediates an increase in attitudes towards the game and the desire to play the game again. In Study 3 I demonstrate that the relationship between curiosity and flow is moderated by the valence of information that elicits curiosity. Again, flow mediated the desire to listen to the song again in the future.