Document Type





Flow theory, Flow antecedents, Computer-mediated environment, CME, Perceived ease of use, PEOU, Computer playfulness, Person Artifact Task model, PAT, Affect




Information and Library Science


Flow theory has been applied to computer-mediated environments to study positive user experiences such as increased exploratory behavior, communication, learning, positive affect, and computer use. However, a review of the existing flow studies in computer-mediated environments in Psychology, Consumer Behavior, Communications, Human-Computer Interaction, and Management Information Systems shows ambiguities in the conceptualization of flow constructs and inconsistency in the flow models. It thus raises the question of whether the direct adoption of traditional flow theory is appropriate without a careful re-conceptualization to consider the uniqueness of the computer-mediated environments. This paper focuses on flow antecedents and identifies the importance of separating the task from the artifact within a computer-mediated environment. It proposes a component-based model that consists of person (P), artifact (A), and task (T), as well as the interactions of these components. The model, named the PAT model, is developed by understanding the original flow theory, reviewing existing empirical flow studies within computer-mediated environments, and analyzing the characteristics of computer-mediated environments. A set of propositions is constructed to demonstrate the predictive power of the model.