Psychological Selection and Optimal Experience

  • Antonella Delle Fave
  • Fausto Massimini
  • Marta Bassi
Part of the Cross-Cultural Advancements in Positive Psychology book series (CAPP, volume 2)


Individuals play an active role in determining their life trajectories and in influencing the long-term development of the human species. This role is made possible by the evolution of consciousness and cognition that enable the individual to actively and uniquely process information coming from the external environment and the inner world. Since individuals are faced with excessive information at any given moment, they have to choose among them through the selective focus of attention. Criterion for selection is the quality of subjective experience. Flow or optimal experience was identified as a particularly complex and positive state of consciousness characterized by deep involvement, absorption, and enjoyment. Flow is the core of psychological selection, the process leading to the selective cultivation of activities, to the life-long construction of personal meaning and to the pursuit of self-determined goals. This chapter will focus on the psychological features of optimal experience, on its role in psychological selection, and on its neurophysiological underpinnings. Flow will be finally evaluated in its relation with bio-cultural inheritance and with the eudaimonic perspective in positive psychology.


Conscious Experience Optimal Experience Personal Skill Cultural Information Implicit System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonella Delle Fave
    • 1
  • Fausto Massimini
    • 1
  • Marta Bassi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche Luigi SaccosUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanoItaly

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