Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 158–172 | Cite as

Flow, performance and moderators of challenge-skill balance

  • Stefan EngeserEmail author
  • Falko Rheinberg
Original Paper


The concept of flow is briefly reviewed and several theoretical and methodological problems related to flow research are discussed. In three studies, we attempted to avoid these problems by measuring the experience of flow in its components, rather than operationally defining flow in terms of challenge and skill. With this measure, we tested the assumption that experience of flow substantially depends on the balance of challenge and skill. This assumption could only be partially supported, and, as expected, this relationship was moderated by the (perceived) importance of the activity and by the achievement motive. Furthermore, flow predicted performance in two of the three studies.


Flow Challenge Skill Performance Balance Achievement motive Instrumentality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für PsychologieTechnische Universität MünchenMünchenGermany
  2. 2.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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