“Embrace the canvass of emotions.”

Specialism: Creativity & Flow
Background: Psychology & Education


The Presentation

‘Of night and light and the half-light: The role of multi-dimensions of emotion and uncertainty tolerance in creative flow

There is a long and convoluted history of psychologists trying to understand the relationship between emotion/affect and creativity, mostly centred on a rather limited focus on ‘positive’ versus ‘negative’ affect, which has yielded confusing results. Similarly, the relationship between emotion and a peak state of intense absorption often experienced during (and often claimed as a motivator for) the creative process – flow – is also unclear.

Both creativity and flow are paradoxical and ambiguous phenomena, including in their relation to emotional antecedents, subjective experience, and outcomes. This review explores dimensions of emotion beyond the positive-negative divide, the complexity and dialectics of emotion as potentially mixed and contradictory and argues that this is related closely to the ambiguity and uncertainty inherent in creativity and flow. It is proposed that certain categories of emotions – self-related, time-related, and epistemic – are especially important emotional groupings in these contexts. How regulation of these emotions and attitudes toward ambiguity and uncertainty are handled may play significant roles in enabling creative flow.   

About the Speaker

Genevieve Cseh is a Psychology Senior Lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University and current Course Co-Leader of the MSc Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) programme. Her research focus is on flow experience and creativity and arts integration into education (STEAM) and healthcare. Other areas of interest include: positive psychology, altered/exceptional states, meditation & mindfulness, arts therapy, tolerance of ambiguity, design cognition, emotion, empathy, motivation, and attention.

Genevieve is a member of the Higher Education Academy (Fellow), the European Flow Researchers Network, the American Psychological Association’s Division 10 (Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts), the UK Creativity Researchers, and Buckinghamshire New University’s newly-founded Centre for Positive Psychology. Genevieve is also a semi-professional artist.