Bit of a Tangent

010 | Flow states, optimal performance, and PhD hunter-gathering

August 12, 2019

A deep-dive into the Flow state. Gianluca and Jared discuss the physiology and psychology of being in “the zone,” and the decades of research behind this state of optimal cognitive and physical performance. They also trade hypotheses about how and why the Flow state may have evolved, using the model of cultural evolution within hunter-gatherer tribes. 

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Shownotes:

Flow psychology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

6 components of Flow: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)#Components

Free soloing (a perfect example of a high-risk flow activity): https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7775622/

Anders Ericsson’s 10,000-hour theory: https://www.businessinsider.co.za/anders-ericsson-how-to-become-an-expert-at-anything-2016-6

[We couldn’t find the quote about abusing a tool]

Shower thoughts: https://www.reddit.com/r/Showerthoughts/

Origins of the term “silver bullet”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Silver_Bullet

An article discussing the McKinsey study on flow: https://hbr.org/2014/05/create-a-work-environment-that-fosters-flow

A brief primer on adrenaline, cortisol, and stress responses: https://www.livestrong.com/article/207432-adrenaline-cortisol/

Big 5 personality traits: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits

Neuroticism and Flow:

Csikszentmihalyi's Flow Model: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Challenge_vs_skill.svg

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (the Father of Flow): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi

Carl Jung: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung

Flow state and life satisfaction: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beautiful-minds/201111/who-enters-flow

Hedonic adaptation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill

The exploitation of Flow states in video game design: https://medium.com/@raydaz/the-applications-relevance-of-flow-state-design-in-video-games-1572dac0d2c

Scott Alexander’s SlateStarCodex post which inspired Gianluca’s “PhD Hunter” idea: https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/06/04/book-review-the-secret-of-our-success/

Nobody on earth can build a pencil from scratch: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/i-pencil/

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