Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ( / m i h aɪ tʃ i k s ɛ n t m i h aɪ / , Hungarian : Csíkszentmihályi Mihály , pronounced [t͡ʃiːksɛntmihaːji Mihaj] ( listen )  ; born September 29, 1934) is a Hungarian psychologist. He recognized and named the psychological concept of flow , a highly focused mental state. [1] [2] [ page needed ]He is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University . He is the head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College . [3]


Csikszentmihalyi is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity , but is best known as the architect of the concept of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic. He is the author of many books and over 120 articles or book chapters. Martin Seligman , president of the American Psychological Association , describes Csikszentmihalyi as the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology . [4]Csikszentmihalyi once said: “Repression is not the way to virtue When people out of fear restrain Themselves, Their Lives are by necessity diminished Only through freely Chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept dans le bounds of reason…” [5] His works are influential and are widely cited. [6]

Personal background

Csikszentmihalyi emigrated to the United States from Hungary at the age of 22. citation needed ] He received his BA in 1960 and his PhD in 1965, both from the University of Chicago . [7]

Csikszentmihalyi is the father of artist and professor Christopher Csikszentmihalyi and University of California, Berkeley [8] professor of philosophical and religious traditions of China and East Asia , Mark Csikszentmihalyi .

In 2009, Csikszentmihalyi was awarded the Clifton Strengths Prize [9] and received the Széchenyi Prize at a ceremony in Budapest in 2011. [10]


Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, selon Csikszentmihalyi ‘s flow model. [11] [ page needed ] (Click on a thumbnail to see the article)

In His seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience , Csíkszentmihályi Outlines His theory That people are happiest When They are in a state of flow -a state of concentration full gold absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. [12] [ page needed ] The idea of ​​flow is unique to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove . The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what they are doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, commitment, fulfillment, and skill-and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored. [13]

In an interview with Wired magazine, Csíkszentmihályi Described flow as “being completely Call Involved in an activity for icts own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action movement, and thought follows Inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz . Your you are involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost. ” [14]

Csikszentmihalyi caractérisée nine component states of Achieving flow including “challenge-skill balance merging of Action and awareness, clarity of goals, immediate and unambiguous feedback, on the task concentration at hand, paradox of control, processing of time, loss of self-consciousness , and autotelic experience “. [15] To achieve a state of the art, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow can not occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results. [11] [ page needed ]

One state that Csikszentmihalyi researched that of the autotelic personality. [15] The autotelic personality is one in which a person performs acts because they are intrinsically rewarding, rather than to achieve external goals. [16] Csikszentmihalyi describes the autotelic personality as being possessed by individuals who can learn to enjoy situations that would otherwise be miserable. [12] [ page needed ] Research has shown that the personality of the personality includes curiosity, persistence, and humility. [17]


A majority of Csikszentmihalyi ‘s most recent work surrounds the idea of motivation and the factors that contribute to motivation, challenge, and overall success in an individual. One personality characteristic that Csikszentmihalyi researched in detail was that of intrinsic motivation . Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues found that they were more likely to be goal-directed and enjoyable than they would lead to an increase in overall happiness . [18]

Csikszentmihalyi identified intrinsic motivation as a powerful trait to possess to optimize and enhance positive experience, feelings, and overall well-being as a result of challenging experiences. The results Indicated a new personality construct, a term Csikszentmihalyi called Expired work orientation , qui est caractérisée by “achievement, endurance, cognitive structure, order, play, and low impulsivity.” A high level of work orientation is a better predictor of grades and fulfillment of long-term goals than any school or household environmental influence. [19]


  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1975). Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: Experiencing Flow in Work and Play , San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. ISBN  0-87589-261-2
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1978) “Intrinsic Rewards and Emergent Motivation” in The Hidden Costs of Reward: New Perspectives on the Psychology of Human Motivation eds Lepper, Mark R; Greene, David, Erlbaum: Hillsdale: NY 205-216
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Larson, Reed (1984). Being Teenager: Conflict and Growth in the Teenage Years . New York: Basic Books, Inc. ISBN  0-465-00646-9
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Csikszentmihalyi, Isabella Selega, eds. (1988). Optimal Experience: Psychological studies of flow in consciousness , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press . ISBN  0-521-34288-0
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience . New York: Harper and Row. ISBN  0-06-092043-2
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1994). The Evolving Self , New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN  0-06-092192-7
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1996). Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention . New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN  0-06-092820-4
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1998). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life . Basic Books. ISBN  0-465-02411-4 (a popular exhibition emphasizing technique)
  • Gardner, Howard , Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly, and Damon, William (2001). Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet . New York, Basic Books.
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (2003). Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning . Basic Books, Inc. ISBN  0-465-02608-7
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (2014). The Systems Model of Creativity: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . Dordrecht: Springer, 2014. ISBN  978-94-017-9084-0
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (2014). Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . Dordrecht: Springer, 2014. ISBN  978-94-017-9087-1
  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (2014). Applications of Flow in Human Development and Education: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi . Dordrecht: Springer, 2014. ISBN  978-94-017-9093-2