Flow and Psychological Selection

  • Antonella Delle Fave
  • Marta Bassi


Flow or optimal experience is generally defined as a complex and positive state characterized by deep involvement and absorption, supporting personal growth, well-being and optimal functioning in daily life. Since its inception in the 1970s, great effort has been devoted to understand its phenomenological characteristics, antecedents and consequences, as well as its biological, cultural and psychological aspects. This chapter will provide an overview of the related findings, highlighting both the shared understanding of this experience and critical issues deserving further investigation. A specific interpretive framework will be adopted, that takes into account the active role played by individuals in shaping their life trajectories and personal development, though acknowledging the influences and constraints derived from the biological and cultural inheritance and environment. This process of psychological selection is based on personal meanings, goals and quality of subjective experience. Within this conceptual framework, flow contributes to the construction of personal identity, as well as to the co-construction of the individual’s sociocultural context, through its influence on the long-term selection and replication of specific activities and information.


Evolution Co-construction Agency Flow Goals Meaning Developmental trajectory Psychological selection 


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pathophysiology and TransplantationUniversity of MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences “Luigi Sacco”University of MilanMilanItaly

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