An introduction to a lecture

An introduction to a lecture

Listen to the introduction of a psychology lecture to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to the first lecture of our new course in Positive Psychology. While some people may associate psychology with looking at what's wrong with us, and at what problems we have, there is much more to psychology than that. Positive psychology, for example, looks at how to help people become happier.

This lecture begins with a question: what makes a happy life?

Now, I'm going to give you one possible answer. A happy life is a life in which you are completely absorbed in what you do. Now, how does this compare with what you and your partner said? 

This answer comes from the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and the theory of flow. Csikszentmihalyi is a psychologist who has spent much of his professional life on the study of what makes people happy and how we can find happiness.

Csikszentmihalyi suggests the theory that happiness is not caused by external events or things that happen to us. Our perception of these things and how we see these events either makes us happy or sad. In other words, if we want happiness, we have to actively look for it. However, this does not mean that we should always look for happiness! Csikszentmihalyi believed that our happiest moments happen when we are in a state of flow.

The theory of flow can be summarised like this: when we are totally involved in, or focused on, what we are doing, we are in a state of flow.

Csikszentmihalyi got the inspiration for this theory when he noticed how artists worked in a studio. They completely lost track of time, they didn't notice they were hungry or tired, and they could work for hours, even days, without stopping. Anyone I have spoken to who has experienced this state of concentration has said it's difficult to explain. The best way to explain it is that it is like being in a river and the flow of the water carries you away.

For the rest of this lecture, I will explore this theory of flow in more detail. First we will look at Csikszentmihalyi's life, and how it influenced his ideas. Then we will look at the conditions that go with a state of flow. What creates flow, exactly? Finally, we will look at activities that can help us achieve flow in our everyday lives. Will this course make you happy for life? Well, maybe. Maybe. 

Right, let's get started. If you look at the next slide …


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Submitted by Ibrahimyousef on Tue, 16/05/2023 - 15:49


Yes, I have been a state of flow ,when I was answering the test to lose track of something.

Submitted by Sevak on Sun, 30/04/2023 - 13:48


I The second question in Task 2 is quite ambiguous. I mean the professor just read the question outloud and didn't even give the students time to think or answer.

Hello Sevak,

Yes, I think you're right. It's more of a rhetorical question than him asking them to do something so active.

We've changed the wording of that question so that it's clearer.

Thanks very much for taking the time to point this out to us.

All the best,
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Sliang on Tue, 04/04/2023 - 04:36


Yes, I have experienced the state of flow many times, particularly when I was studying architecture in university a few years ago. I often got lost track of time while working on design projects and assignments. I remember one significant instance when I worked on a design project for over 33 hours without sleeping or taking a break, except for a quick meal of dumplings and a few trips to the bathroom. Despite the lack of sleep and rest, I was completely immersed in my work and felt a sense of fulfillment when I finally completed the project.

Submitted by Lyubov Filimonova on Tue, 28/02/2023 - 09:06


Sure. I have been in state of flow when I aa playing intellectual games with my friends ( bar quiz).Usually, I am really absorbed to find correct answer and win first place. We have constant team and play weekly.

Submitted by Enass on Sat, 04/02/2023 - 04:44


Yes, i have been in a srate of flow, when i was in an exam, i completely lost track of time and i was just concentrated on my paper.

Submitted by amaralbda on Tue, 24/01/2023 - 22:48


Yes, when I study something interesting to me.

Submitted by Nicole1889 on Fri, 20/01/2023 - 14:22


Yes, I have been in a state of flow, while I was reading something interesting.

Submitted by richtran on Tue, 10/01/2023 - 17:29


Yes, i had been in a state of flow while i was playing games.

Submitted by Huiyan Chen on Sat, 07/01/2023 - 12:59


Yes, I've been in a state of flow while I am listening to the radio.