An exploratory study of peak experience and other positive human experiences and writing
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This study analyzes and reports on the characteristics of writing-triggered peak experience and other positive human experiences and explores some possible factors that can bring about such moments. Three basic questions were explored: Can writing trigger peak experience and other positive human experiences? How are writing-triggered peak experience and other positive human experiences best described? What factors influence the occurrence of writing-triggered peak experience and other positive human experiences? Participants were asked to write about their happiest moment in writing. The sample consisted of 270 students enrolled in undergraduate writing classes at a major southwestern university. Of 270 participants, 119(44%) reported having had at least one peak experience or similar positive human experience as a result of writing. Protocols reporting peak experience and other positive human experiences in writing were analyzed for content, yielding a total of 14 descriptive attributes. The participants described their writing experiences as flow of the words, the process of writing is its own reward, peak performance, clarity, disappearance of negative states of mind, and enhanced sense of power and personal worth. Content analysis also yielded 13 possible triggers of peak experience and other positive human experiences including self-expression, realization, free writing, use of writing for introspection, and creative and inspirational writing. In addition, personal orientation was explored as a possible trigger of peak experience and other positive human experiences using a 16-item questionnaire. Factor analysis results yielded four factors: (1) aesthetic creative expressive writing, (2) writing as a thinking and problem solving tool (3) self-discovery, and (4) not interested in writing. Factor one accounted for the highest variance (37%). The common elements in this factor were expressive writing, self-related writing and creative poetic writing with poetic and creative writing having the highest loading.
Subjectpeak experience and writing
peak experience triggers
benefits of writing
theories of writing
theraputic use of writing
peak experience descriptions
Fatemi, Jaleh (2004). An exploratory study of peak experience and other positive human experiences and writing. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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