The self-determination theory (SDT) is a psychology framework that defines
motivation along a continuum of
causes that prompt behavior. These causes are said
to be extrinsic (prompted by degrees of external influence) and intrinsic (prompted by
the joy of doing something, for the sake of doing it).
The SDT asserts that our behavior is energized by the psychological need for: Competence,
Relatedness, and Autonomy (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2000).
Autonomy - The need to feel that we have a choice in what we do, that our choices coincide with our values and beliefs, that we don't feel constrained when controlled by others.
Competence - The need to feel that we are effective, growing our abilities, and meeting new challenges without feeling overwhelmed.
Relatedness - The need to feel supported by others, that our lives matter, and we are a valued member of community.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior, New York: Plenum Press.
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(4), 227-268.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L., (2000). Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 25(1), 54-67.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L., (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.
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