A/P Maria Kozhevnikov’s Talk at 2019 FASS Research Networking Event

We are pleased to share that A/P Maria Kozhevnikov recently gave a talk titled “Do Flow States Exist? Enhancing Cognition through Gaming” at the FASS Research Networking Event on 23 May 2019.

Her talk can also be viewed on the FASS Research Division’s Facebook page here.


Contemporary psychology and neuroscience have so far shed little light on creative states and states associated with enhanced cognitive capacities. I report the existence of enhanced cognitive states in which dramatic temporary improvements in focused attention were exhibited by participants who played (but not by those who merely observed) action video-games meeting certain criteria.

The results demonstrate that arousal (reduction in parasympathetic and increase in sympathetic activity) is a physiological marker of these states. Furthermore, participants who played high-arousal collaborative physical puzzle game (such as Escape Room) exhibited similar enhanced cognitive states in contrast to low-arousal games (Tetris).

Overall, the findings provide the first scientific evidence for the existence of the enhanced cognitive states through high-arousal gaming experiences, resonant with what has been described in previous phenomenological literature as “flow” or “peak experience”.

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