Aarhus Universitets segl

Ib Ravn

Beyond chaos and rigidity, flexstability

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Chaos and rigidity are often used to describe problematic psychological states. If they are to be avoided, how does one conceive of a normative alternative? As a midway compromise between chaos and rigidity? This paper proposes that underlying chaos and rigidity are two dimensions of healthy human experience, those of stability (focus, routine, unity) and flexibility (exploration, novelty, diversity). Their union is possible, the optimal state of “flexstability”, a state in which individuals experience flexibility and stability at the same time. Chaos can be now understood as flexibility without stability, and rigidity as stability without flexibility. These concepts may be arranged in a two-by-two “flexstability matrix” that suggests that normative psychological development navigates the extremes of chaos and rigidity and seeks the state of flexibility. The concepts of the matrix are applied to six research areas in psychology: parenting styles, identity formation, the development of mind, flow, emotional regulation and self-determination.
TidsskriftNew Ideas in Psychology
Antal sider7
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022

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