Interacting with Computers vol:24 issue:4 pages:237-250
In this paper we report on the results of an experiment on the experience of flow and presence while engaging with an interactive music system, the Music Paint Machine. This music system provides a game-like environment in which a musician can create a digital painting by playing an acoustic musical instrument, by moving the body in different directions, and by selecting colours using a pressure mat. The experiment aimed at getting a better insight into the possible relationship between flow experience and presence. Based on the definition of flow as a combination of the highest level of presence (presence-as- feeling) and a positive emotional state (Riva et al., 2004a), we hypothesized that presence has a predictive value for flow. Sixty-five musicians, both amateur and professional, participated in the experiment. Flow experience was measured with the Flow State Scale (Jackson and Eklund, 2004). Presence was measured with an in-house designed presence questionnaire. Results showed a significantly strong correlation between flow and presence. Moreover, the scores for presence significantly predicted the Flow State Scale, and explained a significant proportion of variance in the Flow State Scale. Furthermore, many sig- nificant associations were found between flow and presence variables, among which the most significant were the strong correlation (Spearman’s rank) between the naturalness of using the system and the Flow State Scale and between the feeling of non-mediation and the Flow State Scale.