Document Type

Encyclopedia Entry


Is part of Encyclopedia of Creativity (3rd ed.), Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology.


flow; creativity; creative flow; psychology; time; control; autotelic experience; interactional synchrony; balance between skills and challenges; concentration; flow corridor; flow feeling; flow training; group flow; happiness; involvement; measurement of flow; optimal experience; peak performance; wish to do the activity

Identifier Data




Publication Source

Encyclopedia of Creativity, 3rd ed.


The concept of flow which Csikszentmihalyi vividly described above was introduced into psychology in 1975 culminating in his seminal work Flow: The psychology of optimal experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008). In his study of high-performing individuals from a range of domains, Csikszentmihalyi found flow in sports activities, games, rituals, professional activities, and artistic creations, when he asked his interview partners to describe the optimal experience, which made them feel happy and kept them motivated. Their optimal experience included a sense of effortless action, as if nothing else seemed to matter, and the experience itself was the whole. In such moments, thoughts, feelings, wishes, and action are in concert (Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi, 2011). Put in general and abstract terms, being in flow represents a duality of performing and feeling at a peak level.