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date: 06 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Flow is a state of deep absorption that may be experienced when engaged in activities that stretch one’s capacities. A defining feature of the flow state is a reduction in self-awareness, which has been described in the flow literature as loss of self-consciousness. This chapter specifies the senses in which awareness of the self is, and is not, lost when one is in flow. It reviews the phenomenological, psychometric, and neurophysiological literatures addressing hypo-egoism in flow, suggesting that flow activities are characterized by hypo-egoic complexity or a dialectical interplay of directed and effortless attention. Flow is seen to be both hypo-egoic and egoic, with a loss of self-awareness and yet ultimately a growth of the self. The chapter considers whether the hypo-egoism in flow extends beyond loss of self-awareness to a focus on domains larger than the individual self, and calls for more research on the hypo-egoic component of flow.

Keywords: flow, attention, self-consciousness, hypo-egoism, complexity, effortless attention, transient hypofrontality

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