Individuals, as living open systems, actively interact with their environment. Throughout their life, they preferentially replicate a subset of the available opportunities for action. This process has been labeled psychological selection, and it is based on the quality of experience reported in daily situations. Empirical evidence has shown that individuals preferentially select, reproduce, and cultivate the activities associated with optimal experience, a distinctively positive and complex state of consciousness characterized by the perception of high challenges balanced with adequate skills, concentration and engagement, clear goals and rules, and control of the situation. From this perspective, optimal experience fosters the development of individual competencies, shaping the pattern of psychological selection. Empirical evidence was also gathered for apathy, the negative pole of experience fluctuation, characterized by disengagement, disruption of attention, negative affect, and low perceived challenges. This paper will provide findings concerning the psychological features of optimal experience and apathy across different samples and activities. A stable cognitive core was detected for both states, around which affective and motivational variables fluctuate according to the structure of the associated activities. The regulating function of short-term desirability and perceived long-term goals on the quality of experience was also highlighted. Results suggested that the association of optimal experiences and skill cultivation with structured and long-term meaningful activities could be used as an intervention tool for the promotion of individual development and social integration in youth and adults.

The investigation of optimal experience and apathy : developmental and psychosocial implications / A. Delle Fave, F. Massimini. - In: EUROPEAN PSYCHOLOGIST. - ISSN 1016-9040. - 10:4(2005), pp. 264-274.

The investigation of optimal experience and apathy : developmental and psychosocial implications

A. Delle Fave
;
F. Massimini
Ultimo
2005

Abstract

Individuals, as living open systems, actively interact with their environment. Throughout their life, they preferentially replicate a subset of the available opportunities for action. This process has been labeled psychological selection, and it is based on the quality of experience reported in daily situations. Empirical evidence has shown that individuals preferentially select, reproduce, and cultivate the activities associated with optimal experience, a distinctively positive and complex state of consciousness characterized by the perception of high challenges balanced with adequate skills, concentration and engagement, clear goals and rules, and control of the situation. From this perspective, optimal experience fosters the development of individual competencies, shaping the pattern of psychological selection. Empirical evidence was also gathered for apathy, the negative pole of experience fluctuation, characterized by disengagement, disruption of attention, negative affect, and low perceived challenges. This paper will provide findings concerning the psychological features of optimal experience and apathy across different samples and activities. A stable cognitive core was detected for both states, around which affective and motivational variables fluctuate according to the structure of the associated activities. The regulating function of short-term desirability and perceived long-term goals on the quality of experience was also highlighted. Results suggested that the association of optimal experiences and skill cultivation with structured and long-term meaningful activities could be used as an intervention tool for the promotion of individual development and social integration in youth and adults.
optimal experience; apathy; cognitive features; perceived goals; social context
Settore M-PSI/01 - Psicologia Generale
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/12038
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