Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research

2014 Edition
| Editors: Alex C. Michalos

Peak Experiences vs. Everyday Feelings

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_2109

Synonyms

Definition

Peak experiences are multifaceted transcendental and ecstatic states of extreme happiness, fulfillment, and loss of self in a mystical and transpersonal dimension. They represent crucial components of healthy human functioning which characterize self-actualizing individuals.

Description

Historical Roots

Peak experiences were first described by Abraham H. Maslow (1968, 1970), a prominent founder of humanistic psychology. In his attempt to provide a broader vision of the human being, he paved a “third way” between behaviorism and psychoanalysis and heralded the advent of positive psychology by focusing on human resources and potentials as constituents of healthy human functioning. Maslow maintained that individuals have a strong desire to realize their full potential and to reach self-actualization, that is, a state of harmony, understanding, and accomplishment, at the top of the human...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bakker, A. B. (2005). Flow among music teachers and their students: The crossover of peak experiences. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 66, 26–44.Google Scholar
  2. Christopher, J. C., Manaster, G. J., Campbell, R. L., & Weinfeld, M. B. (2002). Peak experiences, social interest, and moral reasoning: An exploratory study. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 58, 35–51.Google Scholar
  3. Delle Fave, A., Massimini, F., & Bassi, M. (2011). Psychological selection and optimal experience across cultures: Social empowerment through personal growth. Dordrecht, NL: Springer.Google Scholar
  4. Goleman, D. (1988). The meditative mind: The varieties of meditative experience. New York: Tarcher/Perigee Books.Google Scholar
  5. Ho, M. Y., Chen, S. X., & Hoffman, E. (2011). Unpacking cultural variations in peak-experiences: Cross-cultural comparisons of early childhood recollection between Hong Kong and Brazil. Journal of Happiness Studies, online first.Google Scholar
  6. Hoffman, E., & Muramoto, S. (2007). Peak-experiences among Japanese youth. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 47, 524–540.Google Scholar
  7. Hoffman, E., Iversen, V., & Ortis, F. A. (2010). Peak-experiences among Norwegian youth. Nordic Psychology, 62, 67–76.Google Scholar
  8. James, W. (1902). The varieties of religious experience. New York: Longmans Green and Co.Google Scholar
  9. Kuppuswami, B. (1985). Elements of ancient Indian psychology. Delhi, India: Konark Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Maslow, A. H. (1968). Toward a psychology of being. New York: D. Van Nostrand.Google Scholar
  11. Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  12. Mathes, E. W., Zevon, M. A., Roter, P. M., & Joerger, S. M. (1982). Peak experience tendencies: scale development and theory testing. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 22, 92–108.Google Scholar
  13. Privette, G. (1983). Peak experience, peak performance, and flow: a comparative analysis of positive human experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 1361–1368.Google Scholar
  14. Privette, G. (1984). Questionnaire: peak performance and peak experience. Pensacola, FL: University of West Florida.Google Scholar
  15. Privette, G., Bundrick, C.M. (1991). Peak experience, peak performance, and flow: Correspondence of personal descriptions and theoretical constructs. In A. Jones, & R. Crandall (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Actualization (Special Issue). Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 6, 169-188.Google Scholar
  16. Schneider, K. J., & Leitner, L. M. (2002). Humanistic psychotherapy. In M. Hersen & W. H. Sledge (Eds.), The encyclopedia of psychotherapy (Vol. 1, pp. 949–957). New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  17. Yeagle, E. H., & Privette, G. (1989). Highest happiness: An analysis of artists’ peak experience. Psychological Reports, 65, 523–530.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche e Cliniche Luigi SaccoUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Fisiopatologia Medico-Chirurgica e dei TrapiantiUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly