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Lecture 10

Psy370 Lecture 10.docx

Course Code
John Vervaeke

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Begin with the motivational factors – person associated is Teresa Amabile – proposed
intrinsic motivation hypothesis: people who are intrinsically motivated are more creative
than people who are extrinsically motivated
What is the difference between these two kinds of motivation?
Extrinsic motivation you’re doing that task for its own sake
Intrinsic motivation you’re doing the task for some goal that you find valuable, e.g.
playing baseball for fun vs. playing baseball for money
Proposed that when people are ex motivated they’re more creative – however many
people were dissatisfied not with the results but with a theoretical gap – why being ex
motivated make you more creative? What’s the explanation minding ex to creativity?
Teresa and colleagues did work and emerged idea explanatory idea has to do with
attention – when you’re ex motivated you tend to keep your attention on the task vs. ex
you divide attention away
Therefore affecting the personfance is the direction of attention
This starts to bring an alternative to insight very much within insight machinery – we
understand it as self-organized form of attention - it’s starting to framnent attention it’s
starting to impede ability to solve problems
Creativity is don’t mess too much with our attentional machinery – that’s it?
The idea was taken up in phenomena that seems very specifically associated with
creativity – not just artistic but bringing any creative aspect to any performance
Flow – Csikzentmihalyi
Done a lot of core work on this
Flow theory is an instance of a kind of creativity that is making use of instrinsic
First of all flow is one of the gems and cornerstone theories of what is positive
Positive psychology is a complement to standard psych – staranada psych works from
pathological framework – study the psyche in terms of how it breaks down – useful
methodology because you can figure out how it functions
No one is proposing to stop doing this but positive psych says its an incomplete way to
study phenomenon – should also study how a system is excelling beyond a norm and not
just how its falling behind
Idea of being that that kind of developmental progression not revealed just by studying
how it breaks down
Plausible argument
As long as you hold it complementary it’s a very reasonable thing to do
Flow is going to be one of these excellences – cognition and behavior operate above
standard norm
Why relevant? We associate creativity with that
One implicit meaning is he idea that creativity is excellent and operation amove standard
One characteristic of flow state – first of all, flow state is one of true universals we’ve
uncovered without empirical rigor – people across cultures and gender, age, sES and
occupation, describe this experience in very similar terms down to detail

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Hard to find – makes it important phenomena
This is one of gems tones of positive psych – excellence that is universal
What is it? Other terms but most are at least metaphorically related to flow – like “being
in the zone”
Kinds of experiences that are talked about are athletic performance, artistic performances,
musical performances, performing jazz
What are some of the characteristics and features of flow state? You have very heightened
concentration and very ordered attention
Distinction that Adam Adler – makes distinction between part concentration and soft
vigilance – the kind of concentration found in flow is soft vigilance
We want to avoid the lack of conceptual clarity by making this distinction
Langer will say “concentrate on my finger, and what people find is that it’s hard and
boring – your mind wants to wonder” ok now look at finger and notice that its not
completely straight, its divided into three sections
People find second task easier than first task – word concentration - if we’re
concentration we’re making tunnel of mind we’re fixing it to something and holding it in
Argues it doesn’t seem to be conducive to tasks we want to solve
Soft vigilance is an exploratory way of redirecting attention - you’re doing it to object
and trying to notice whats new and different – central to mindfulness – notice details,
move to different perspectives 0 this is a very mindless automatic and inflexible form of
attention – mindful deautomotized and flexible form of attention
She predicts that this will be associated with more creative performance
We know why introducing this produces more insight
Very important that there is high concentration in flow
Ide says that soft vigilance is something we’re doing cognitive direction for – this has
largely been taught to us in a highly automatized way
Heightened concentration is soft vigilance is connected to another features of flow –
ongoing sense of discovery – distorted sense of time – time passes differently in flow
state – transcendence of the self - loss of self consciousness, narrative image we have in
our head, drops away, self monitoring of image management drops away – part of hat’s
means by self transience – sense of onement with environment – they have become one
system and that may be as a way of connecting dynamical system between brain and
Novelty and discovery – merging of acting and awareness – gap and we’re aware but two
you’re aware in action and action is aware of being aware
There’s a sense of super salience – vividness to you’re experience – it’s like you turn up
brightness and contrast – super salient – thats how people describe visual and tactic
experience when in flow state
Paradoxical way is that it’s effortless intensity – intensely involved and aroused but it’s
effortless, almost like it’s flowing from them
There’s a resistance to distraction – in the sense that theres an internal momentum that
makes the mind much less liable to drifting away
Flow state is highly self-organized and self perpetuating
Connection to Langer’s ideas of mindfulness – very oriented to present moment

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Flow state is highly valued by almost universally people claim it doesn’t correspond to
pleasure where pleasure means the sensation of satisfaction – pleasure has widened and
broadened and meaning and called anything that is good
; Let’s use pleasure in more explicit and specific sense – sensation that we mark as “oo
that was good”
Many people report that it’s not how flow experience feels – not like orgasm or chocolate
Highly valued in two ways:
Wrote anthology collecting - “optimal experience”
Flow is optimal experience – one of the best cognitive experiences that can have in life
That’s only one way in which its considered optimal – flow is also optimal performance
– people at their best – these two are linked together
This helps explain behavior that is very absurd or odd to do – one behavior that is highly
correlated with producing flow is rock climbing – very flow inducing behavior
Why do this? Idea is that many people doing it because its a quite reliable way of getting
into flow state – explains behavior from extrinsic and pleasure point of view doesn’t
make sense
What are conditions that create flow?
Chez talks about flow channel – conditions that create flow – criticisms is that he offers
only descriptive theory and not explanatory theory
Idea is – the demands of situations and here are your skills, and if the demands exceed
skills you experience anxiety, boredom, when there’s a tight match you get into flow state
Argument is this is how its associated with creativity – according to csik
First of all, the problem with graph is its very static diagram – need a more dynamical
match between skills and demand
Brain is very good at learning – put into situation and you start to learn and your skills
will go over demands and you’ll go out of flow state
As you learn, the demands also latch up a bit, the situation is just beyond the comfort
zone so you’re always stretching your skills
Better way of putting this you’re going to be presented with problems that are just
beyond your ability to solve them – you’re not going to find well defined problems –
problems that require you to stretch your skills
Martial arts – you’re ore all the time but you get past that and you get into flow state
Trying to talk about this cognitively and motivationally – respect initial premise that it’s
more than cognitive
Csik talks about the information processing that needs to occur in order for flow to occur
– doesn’t mean content but manner in which you’re processing information –
characteristics of information for flow itself
Need information that is clear – can’t be vague
Has to be diagnostic – error is highly salient and highly causally defective on your
behaviour – error really matters – makes a huge difference
Tightly coupled - two aspects is the feedback of information from environment has to be
timely and relevant – information you’re getting back has to be tightly coupled to
behavior in time sense and actually information that is relevant to what you’re trying to
do – learn diagnostic feedback – you won’t get in flow state in situations that are highly
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