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Lecture 6

Lecture 6: Motivation

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McGill University
PSYC 471
Richard Koestner

Sept 21 Why do we watch so much TV, and why is it difficult to stop? - the answer is provided by a hungarian researcher, Csikszentmihalyi - goals: to understand this conceprt of flow and how he uses experience sampling methods to measure it, to understand the experiences that underlie TV-watching, to understand what might be suitable goals for someone who feels they watch too much TV - the more educated you are, the higher your SES, the worse you feel about watching it - people who surf every day: it's hard, time-consuming, cold, etc. he thought they were a little odd and wondered what motivates them. - one of them says that if you did it too and felt what they felt, you'd understand. - flow: a sense of effortless action felt in moments that stand out as the best in our lives. - components: - clarity of goals (both long term and short term, eg. when you're playing chess your goal is to capture the king, but from moment to moment, you have to focus per piece) - immediate feedback (we don't know how we're doing in our courses yet, so we have no valid feedback) - challenges and skills are matched (focussing right before a hurricane, because it's like surfing in hawaii or south africa. they're looking for challenges and they feel that their skills meet it) - absorbed in the task (flow activities absorb our full attention. we're very good multitaskers in this generation, and we often do this. 120k bits of information capacity used, and this is about our cap.) - sense of personal control (doing something that other people might see as dangerous etc is okay when you're good at it.) - altered sense of time (you feel like you've been doing something for half an hour, but you'll look up and it's two hours later - this often happens. the reverse can also happen, for example if you're sprinting) The Paradox of Work and Leisure - a novel way of assessing people's phenominological experience: you randomly beep people 7-8 times in the day and ask them to complete a very brief survey - the key indicator is "how challenged do you feel and what skills do you feel you're using" - almost everyone desires more leisure and less work - with this method, he'll get like, 70 reports every week, which will allow them to construct a pattern - there may be a lot of variability. one lady in particular may be happy when talking to friends and not talking to her husband (they divorced a year later) - flow is 60% of the time at work, 20% of the time on leisure. - people at work have greater concentration, greater positive affect - if people were doing sports and hobbies, they would be reporting higher levels of flow, but the people were mostly sitting around watching tv. - the only thing that matches tv in not producing flow is sitting on a chair and staring into space. his conclusion from this study is that we're all wasting time by watching tv. and not only that, we don't know we're wasting it. - Csikszentmihalyi does not have a good opinion of tv. sometimes people get addicted to it. - why do we get so caught up with tv? it allows us to avoid chaos and negative attention - is internet surfing as passive as tv watching? is it also a way to provide a little bit of structure for our minds? - people were significantly less potent/vibrant when watching tv. no difference in cheerfulness. people are more relaxed when watching tv. concentration, challenge and skills are lower when we watch tv (the latter two being /very/ low) - if we didn't watch TV, we'd probably read - read
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