Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Alan O Connor 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

Hi, Alan here, Bsc Applied Psychology in IADT. Originally from a small village in Meath, I am now living and working in Dublin. Over the four years of my studies in IADT, I have developed a keen interest in Transpersonal and Positive Psychology. This has led me to focusing on Art therapies, particularly the use of Music therapy. I hope to continue my studies in the topic of Music Therapy and contribute to the ever-growing research which is being undertaken on this particular subject of Psychology.

Thesis Title

Collective/ Group Flow: The Effect of Drumming Circles on Shared Flow State.

Thesis Overview

My Final Year Dissertation incorporated elements of Transpersonal
Psychology and the Psychology of Music. The thesis consisted of an experiment which consisted of three drumming workshops. Each workshop explored different styles and rhythms of drumming. The participants in this experiment learned styles such as Samba, Free-Form and Shamanic drumming.

Thesis Objectives

This study explored the effect of drumming circles on Shared flow state theory. Collective and shared flow is an important concept in the study of psychology, as it allows individuals to connect with each other in a meaningful way. By exploring the effects of drumming circles, this study aimed to provide a better understanding of how collective and shared flow can be achieved in group settings. It also explored how the use of drumming circles can help facilitate group cohesion, collaboration, and creativity. Additionally, this study examined the role of the type/style of drumming which facilitates an environment in which individuals can experience collective and shared flow.
Rather than measuring participant's individual Flow state, this study sought to measure a group of participants with a Shared Flow Scale to critically analyse the factors in which a Collective sense of flow could be achieved. Ultimately, this Research study aimed to explore the potential of collective and shared flow as an effective tool for enhancing group dynamics and experience collective consciousness through the lens of group Flow state theory.

Thesis Outcomes

The findings within this study suggested that drumming styles did have an effect on the Shared/Collective flow state of individuals.
A significant difference was found in the Flow state experienced by participants in the Shamanic and Free-Form drumming workshop. Those who partook in the Shamanic drumming workshop experienced a higher sense of flow when compared to the other two groups. Interesting findings in relation to how Collective Flow is formed were also observed.
See below for my full Dissertation.