Joshua Shepherd
Carleton University
The flow construct has been influential within positive psychology, sport psychology, the science of consciousness, the philosophy of agency, and popular culture. In spite of its longstanding influence, it remains unclear [a] how the constituents of the flow state ‘hang together’ – how they relate to each other causally and functionally – [b] in what sense flow is an ‘optimal experience,’ and [c] how best to describe the unique phenomenology of the flow state. As a result, difficulties persist for a clear understanding of the flow state’s structure and function. After explicating the standard view of the flow construct (section one), I articulate several basic questions regarding its nature and functional roles (section two), and I argue that these questions are best answered by integrating flow within broader streams of research on the dynamics of thought, on cognitive control resource allocation, and on creative thought (sections three and four).
Keywords flow  cognitive control  mind wandering  creative thought
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-021-09762-x
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