What’s a Flow Experience?
- Demand/Skill Match
- Intrinsic Motivation
- Self Growth
- Order in Consciousness
- Sense of … control, freedom, timelessness, flowing, discovery
- Whenever we shift attention from one cognitive precept (i.e. idea) to another, the neuromodulator dopamine is released in the midbrain. Dopamine fixes attention, makes thinking more efficient, and increases alertness.
- The level of dopamine scales (i.e. increases) as the importance of the cognitive precept increases.
- High and sustained levels of dopamine are associated with feelings of elation and pleasure.
- If we rapidly shift attention between a series of important cognitive precepts, the sustained and elevated release of dopamine will occur. This will be subsequently reported as a state of high elation or pleasure.
- Background and otherwise neutral elements of those cognitive precepts will be nonconsciously perceived to correlate with dopamine release. These neutral elements will also elicit dopamine release, even when rapid attentional shifting is not demanded.
(by the way, this outline is greatly expanded with journal references in the section ‘flow: a reverent interpretation)
Implications:The implications of a dopaminergic definition of flow are several, and are quite significant.
written by me (1999)