Random Quote #17

“The goals that people set for themselves are so important to what they do and how they feel about it that an exclusive focus on experienced well-being is not tenable. We cannot hold a concept of well-being that ignores what people want. On the other hand, it is also true that a concept of well-being that ignores how people feel as they live and focuses only on how they feel when they think about their life is also untenable.”

D. Kahneman, in Thinking, Fast and Slow

Random Quote #7

“In other words, flow is a state of arousal, but it is accompanied not by the shallow respiration characteristic of mental effort but rather by the deep respiration typical of joyous states. This is compatible with our proposal that the flow state is the result of an interaction between positive affect and attention.”

in B. Bruya (ed.) Effortless attention: a new perspective in the cognitive science of attention and action.

Random Quote #3

“When silence is value, it ceases to be wasted time. It no longer drags on the clock.”

Robert V. Levine, in A Geography of Time: on tempo, culture, and the pace of life

Random Quote #1

“It is wise to take admissions of uncertainty seriously, but declarations of high confidence mainly tell you that an individual has constructed a coherent story in his mind, not necessarily that the story is true.”

D. Kahneman, in Thinking, Fast and Slow

Measuring positive emotions (Lucas, Diener & Larsen, 2003)

Lucas, R.E., Diener, E., Larsen, R.J., 2006. Measuring positive emotions. In Lopez, S.J., & Snyder, C.R., 2003. Positive Psychological Assessment – A handbook of models and measures. Washington, USA: American Psychological Association

This chapter presents a review on some of the most relevant theoretical debates and issues related to the assessment of positive emotions. At the same time, it presents information about the different assessment methods used in positive psychology research, along with the pros and cons of each of them in different studies. It is a helpful chapter for researchers who are trying to get a hold of “what’s out there” in terms of positive emotions’ assessment, especially since it leaves it to the reader to choose what fits the aims of the study best.

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Flow and Optimal Experience

One of the main concepts in my current work is that of Flow and/or Optimal Experience. Although they are used to define the same kind of subjective experience, the way of studying and operationalizing them has brought the question whether, in fact, they represent the same experience. However, the aim of this particular post is to give an overview of what the flow experience is, and its implications on individual and social growth.

The Flow concept emerged from the work of Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi. He wanted to study those experiences when individuals are intrinsically motivated and fully engaged in an activity. The main question was not the why of doing these activities, but what and how their experience is. To study this experience, Csikszentmihalyi started by interviewing artists, rock climbers, among others about their work and leisure experiences. He asked them about the experiences individuals did for their own sake. Although the activities different individuals reported were different, a similar phenomenology emerged: intense concentration, enjoyment, and a sense of merging of action and awareness, and a desire to repeat the experience after one leaves it. In fact, the term “flow” was coined because of the way individuals described this experience as “flowing”. Continue reading