Prof. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was born on September 29, 1934, in Fiume, Italy, in what is now Croatia. He grew up in Fiume, Florence, and Rome. He emigrated to the United States when he was 22, earning his bachelor’s in 1959 and his PhD in 1965 from the University of Chicago.
During his time at the University of Chicago, Csikszentmihalyi began exploring creativity and the evolution of self. His examinations led to the development of his theory on flow. After graduation, he taught at Lake Forest College, and in 1969, Csikszentmihalyi accepted a professorship with the University of Chicago where he remained until 2000. At that time, he left Illinois and began working with Claremont Graduate University (CGU). He founded the Quality of Life Research Center at the school and continues to work with CGU.
Active role in the revolution: NO
In United States of America
Arrival: 1956, NY
Education: He received his B.A. in 1960 and his PhD in 1965, both from the University of Chicago.
He is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College.
Occupation: Professor of Psychology
Workplace: Claremont College, Claremont, California
Awards: Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College.
His seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
The native form of this personal name is Csíkszentmihályi Mihály. This article uses the Western name order.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Hungarian: Csíkszentmihályi Mihály, pronounced [ˈt͡ʃiːksɛntmihaːji ˈmihaːj] ( listen); born 29 September 1934) is a Hungarian psychologist. He created the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state. He is the Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He is the former head of the department of psychology at the University of Chicago and of the department of sociology and anthropology at Lake Forest College.
Csikszentmihalyi emmigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia at the age of 22. He received his B.A. in 1960 and his PhD in 1965, both from the University of Chicago.
Csikszentmihalyi is the father of artist and professor Christopher Csikszentmihályi and University of California, Berkeley professor of philosophical and religious traditions of China and East Asia, Mark Csikszentmihalyi.
In 2009, Csikszentmihalyi was awarded the Clifton Strengths Prize and received the Széchenyi Prize at a ceremony in Budapest in 2011.
Csikszentmihalyi is noted for his work in the study of happiness and creativity, but is best known as the architect of the notion of flow and for his years of research and writing on the topic. He is the author of many books and over 120 articles or book chapters. Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, described Csikszentmihalyi as the world’s leading researcher on positive psychology. Csikszentmihalyi once said: “Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.” His works are influential and are widely cited.
Main article: Flow (psychology)
Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihalyi’s flow model. (Click on a fragment of the image to go to the appropriate article)
In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csíkszentmihályi outlines his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow— a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.
In an interview with Wired magazine, Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
Csikszentmihalyi characterized nine component states of achieving flow including “challenge-skill balance, merging of action and awareness, clarity of goals, immediate and unambiguous feedback, concentration on the task at hand, paradox of control, transformation of time, loss of self-consciousness, and autotelic experience.” To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. Both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.
One state that Csikszentmihalyi researched was that of the autotelic personality. The autotelic personality is one in which a person performs acts because they are intrinsically rewarding, rather than to achieve external goals. Csikszentmihalyi describes the autotelic personality as a trait possessed by individuals who can learn to enjoy situations that most other people would find miserable. Research has shown that aspects associated with the autotelic personality include curiosity, persistence, and humility.
A majority of Csikszentmihalyi’s most recent work surrounds the idea of motivation and the factors that contribute to motivation, challenge, and overall success in an individual. One personality characteristic that Csikszentmihalyi researched in detail was that of intrinsic motivation. Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues found that intrinsically motivated people were more likely to be goal-directed and enjoy challenges that would lead to an increase in overall happiness.
Csikszentmihalyi identified intrinsic motivation as a powerful trait to possess to optimize and enhance positive experience, feelings, and overall well-being as a result of challenging experiences. The results indicated a new personality construct, a term Csikszentmihalyi called work orientation, which is characterized by “achievement, endurance, cognitive structure, order, play, and low impulsivity.” A high level of work orientation in students is said to be a better predictor of grades and fulfillment of long-term goals than any school or household environmental influence.