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Testing Select Propositions About Absorption from the Theory of Structured Experience
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The purpose of this study was to advance understanding of absorption experiences by testing select propositions from the theory of structured experience (TSE). Absorption is a transitory condition of heightened attention, motivation, and emotion characterized by relaxation, pleasure, and the absence of demand for behavioral action or active thinking. Three studies were conducted. Study 1 was an online experiment involving 218 panel participants, Study 2 included 26 study abroad tourists who were university students, and Study 3 included 20 4-H youth study abroad travelers. Studies 1 and 2 examined both determinants (presumed causes) and results (presumed effects) of absorption by experimentally manipulating encouraged savoring techniques (focus on the present, mental time travel, and behavioral expression of emotion) and encouragement of co-creation. Additionally, Study 1 examined the potential effect of a construct new to TSE; instructional engagement, on absorption. Study 3 examined the relations between absorption and its theoretical results: deep structured experience, perceived value of time spent, delight, and proclivity to recommend the experience to other people. Results from Studies 1 and 2 indicated that the three savoring techniques were not significant predictors of absorption. Encouragement to co-create significantly reduced absorption. Instructional engagement was a significant predictor of absorption. Absorption was a significant predictor of results specified by the theory of structured experience: deep structured experience prevalence and deep structured experience frequency. Similarly, deep structured experience prevalence was a significant and positive predictor of perceived value of time spent, delight, and proclivity to recommend.
Lacanienta, Andrew (2018). Testing Select Propositions About Absorption from the Theory of Structured Experience. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from