Self-determination theory

Self-determination theory

Self-determination theory (SDT) is a general theory of human motivation concerned with the development and functioning of personality within social contexts. The theory focuses on the degree to which human behaviors are volitional or self-determined - that is, the degree to which people endorse their actions at the highest level of reflection and engage in the actions with a full sense of choice. Over the past three decades SDT has evolved into a set of four mini-theories that share the organic-dialectical meta-theory and the concept of basic needs. Self-determination theory has been brought to many applied settings such as education, health care, parenting, work organizations, religion, addictions, sports, and mental health. The theory developed from psychological research done by Ed Deci, [ Richard M. Ryan] , and their collaborators from around the world.

elf-determination and the Organic-dialectical meta-theory

SDT is based on an organic-dialectical meta-theory, which begins with the assumption that people are active organisms, with innate tendencies toward psychological growth and development, who strive to master ongoing challenges and to integrate their experiences into a coherent sense of self. This natural human tendency does not operate automatically, however, but instead requires ongoing nourishment and supports from the social environment in order to function effectively. That is, the social context can either support or thwart the natural tendencies toward active engagement and psychological growth. Thus, it is the dialectic between the active organism and the social context that is the basis for SDT's predictions about behavior, experience, and development.

Cognitive evaluation theory

Each mini-theory has been developed to explain a set of motivationally based phenomena that emerged from laboratory and field research focused on different issues. Cognitive evaluation theory addresses the effects of social contexts on intrinsic motivation. This theory argues that intrinsic motivation is maintained only when actors feel competent and self-determined.

Cognitive Evaluation theory: all external events have controlling aspects and an informal aspect. People have the psychological need for autonomy and competency. Controlling event affect the need for autonomy by switching the motivation or the perceived locus of causality (PLOC)from intrinsic (for the fun of it) to extrinsic (i.e.- reward) whereas the informational aspect affects need for competence. This theory is based on 3 propositions:

#External events that promote an internal PLOC promote intrinsic motivation because events satisfy the need for autonomy. External events that promote an external PLOC neglect the need for autonomy. Therefore, environmental events can affect a person's intrinsic motivation when they influence the PLOC for that behaviour.
#External events affect a person's intrinsic motivation for an optimally challenged activity when they influence the person's perceived competence. Events that promote greater perceived competence will enhance intrinsic motivation, whereas those that diminish perceived competence will decrease intrinsic motivation.
#Relative salience of a behaviour is caused by whether the event is mostly controlling or mostly informational. This determines the effect on intrinsic or extrinsic motivation.

Causality orientations theory

Causality orientations theory describes individual differences in people's tendencies toward self-determined behavior and toward orienting to the environment in ways that support their self-determination.

Basic needs theory

Basic needs theory elaborates the concept of basic needs and its relation to psychological health and well-being. Within SDT, the nutriments for healthy development and functioning are specified using the concept of the basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence feedback, and relatedness. These needs are innate, natural, universal, and essential for health and well-being of all people, regardless of gender, group, or culture. To the extent that the needs are ongoingly satisfied, people will function effectively and develop in a healthy way, but to the extent that they are thwarted, people will show evidence of ill-being and non-optimal functioning. The darker sides of human behavior and experience are understood in terms of basic needs having been thwarted.

ee also

* Organismic theory
* Intrinsic motivation
* Motivation
* Personality
* Social psychology

Further reading

Overviews of the theory can be found in following sources. Further articles can be downloaded on the SDT homepage (below).

* cite book
last=Deci |first=Edward L.
coauthors= & Ryan, Richard M.
title="Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior"
location=New York

* [ Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). "The 'what' and 'why' of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior." "Psychological Inquiry", 11, 227-268.]
* [ Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). "Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being." "American Psychologist", 55, 68-78.]
* cite book
last=Deci |first=Edward L.
coauthors=Richard Flaste
title=Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation
ISBN 0-14-025526-5
* cite book
last=Deci |first=Edward L.
editor= Richard M. Ryan
title=The Handbook of Self-Determination Research
publisher=University of Rochester Press
ISBN 1-58046-156-5

External links


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