Portrait of Mihaly Csikszentmihaly
  • Degrees
    PhD, Psychology, University of Chicago
    BA, University of Chicago
  • Research Interests
    Creativity and innovation, Flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is Claremont Graduate University’s Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management. He is also the founder and co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC). The QLRC is a nonprofit research institute that studies positive psychology, the study of human strengths such as optimism, creativity, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility.

Csikszentmihalyi received his PhD in Psychology from the University of Chicago. Since receiving his doctorate, he has served as the head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago and of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Lake Forest College.

Csikszentmihalyi is known for his research on the experience of flow, a psychological concept he introduced in his best-selling book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (Harper Perennial, 1990). The book has received much praise and attention, being described by the Library Journal as “…an intriguing look at the age-old problem of the pursuit of happiness and how, through conscious effort, we may more easily attain it.” Though published in the early 1990s, Flow has continued to draw attention from both researchers and the general public and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Since then, Csikszentmihalyi has written numerous books and articles on managing flow. In 2004, Csikszentmihalyi delivered a TEDTalk titled “Flow, the Secret to Happiness,” which has more than 3.5 million views.

He has been the principal investigator on eight grants in the last 10 years, receiving funding from the Public Health Service, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Getty Trust, the Sloan Foundation, the W.T. Grant Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation, for a total of over $10 million. He is a member of the American Academy of Education, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Leisure Studies.

Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. New York: Springer, 2014.

Co-authored with Qin Li. “Moral creativity and creative morality.” In The Ethics of Creativity, edited by S. Moran, D. Cropley, and J. C. Kaufman, 75–91. New York: Palmgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Co-authored with Sami Abuhamdeh. “Attentional involvement and intrinsic motivation.” Motivation and Emotion 36, no. 3 (2012): 257–67.

Donaldson, S.I., Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Nakamura, J. (Eds.). (2011). Applied Positive Psychology: Improving Everyday Life, Health, Schools, Work, and Society. London: Routledge Academic.

Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper Perennial, 1990.