Mihaley Csikzentmihalayi: Theory of Flow

This theory is created by a Hungarian psychology professor called Mihalay Csikzentmihalayi. Mihalay says that people come into a state of flow when they are confronting a task or challenge that matches their own level of skill, being in this state makes the person at hand become very focused at the challenge and they start to disregard important things like hunger, fatigue and discomfort.

The flow can be found in many different types of places, engaging in art or science, being involved in sport, or even writing; this is the same across lines of cultures, genders and ages, everyone has been in a state of flow sometime in their life. Particularly sports and games and other rewarding activities that provide the individual with a goal and feedback structure will make the state of flow more likely. According to Mihalay, People that are experiencing flow encourages them to keep returning to that activity because of the rewards it offers, in turn this will build their skills over time.

Flow Model

Here is an image of the model used by Csikzentmihalayi, showing many combinations that can be used. If someone is faced with a challenge but doesn’t have the skill level to match it, this will make the person anxious as they will not know what they are doing. Another example could be somebody with a high skill level but faced with a low levelled challenge, this will be easy for them and they will become relaxed at the task at hand.

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~ by reeceharry on October 15, 2013.

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