Individual development in a bio-cultural perspective

Am Psychol. 2000 Jan;55(1):24-33. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.55.1.24.


Biological and cultural inheritance deeply influence daily human behavior. However, individuals actively interact with bio-cultural information. Throughout their lives, they preferentially cultivate a limited subset of activities, values, and personal interests. This process, defined as psychological selection, is strictly related to the quality of subjective experience. Specifically, cross-cultural studies have highlighted the central role played by optimal experience or flow, the most positive and complex daily experience reported by the participants. It is characterized by high involvement, deep concentration, intrinsic motivation, and the perception of high challenges matched by adequate personal skills. The associated activities represent the basic units of psychological selection. Flow can therefore influence the selective transmission of bio-cultural information and the process of bio-cultural evolution.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Personality Development*
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social Environment
  • Social Identification