Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology
The second volume in the collected works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi covers about thirty years of Csikszentmihalyi‘s work on three main and interconnected areas of study: attention, flow and positive psychology. Describing attention as psychic energy and in the footsteps of William James, Csikszentmihalyi explores the allocation of attention, the when and where and the amount of attention humans pay to tasks and the role of attention in creating ‘experiences’, or ordered patterns of information. Taking into account information processing theories and attempts at quantifying people’s investment, the chapters deal with such topics as time budgets and the development and use of the Experience Sampling Method of collecting data on attention in everyday life. Following the chapters on attention and reflecting Csikszentmihalyi’s branching out into sociology and anthropology, there are chapters on the topic of adult play and leisure and connected to that, on flow, a concept formulated and developed by Csikszentmihalyi. Flow has become a popular concept in business and management around the world and research on the concept continues to flourish. Finally, this volume contains articles that stem from Csikszentmihalyi’s connection with Martin Seligman; they deal with concepts and theories, as well as with the development and short history, of the field and the “movement” of positive psychology.