American psychologist [1934- ]
Assembling a new Bionicle
For several decades Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his team at the University of Chicago have investigated, what Csikszentmihalyi has termed, “flow”—loosely: the more positive or “optimal” aspects of human experience. He points to a remarkable consistency in how various activities are described by research participants “when they were going especially well” (1990: 48-49). This consistency remains firm “regardless of culture, stage of modernization, social class, age, or gender.” Csikszentmihalyi reports that we experience “flow” when we are “able to concentrate” on “a challenging activity that requires skills” that “we have a chance of completing.” He refers to a “flow channel” which lies between “boredom” and “anxiety” (1990: 74).
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York : Harper Perennial.
Csikszentmihalyi points to “the rapt concentration on the child’s face” as each instance of enjoyable learning adds to the complexity of the developing self. He contends that this natural connection between growth and enjoyment disappears with time not least because “’learning’ becomes an external imposition when schooling starts” (1990: 47).