PSYB30H3 Lecture Notes - Motivation, Maximum Capacity, Introjection

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19 Jun 2013
Chapter 9: Regulation and Motivation: Self-Determination Theory
Self-determination theory: how people adjust their responses to the environment, both consciously and
unconsciously. The reasons why we do something are more important than what we do
Extrinsically motivated: acting because of some external pressures like rewards or punishments (failing
an assignment), we may not enjoy the activity as much, perform our best, or continue the behaviour on
our own
Intrinsically motivated: acting out of our own desires and by our own choice doing things that are fun or
satisfying to us (making music), we enjoy what we are doing and increase our well-being in the process
Humanistic tradition: emphasizes responsibility, growth, and the actualizing tendency
Actualizing tendency: motive to actualize or bring about growth and positive change (a weed has
motivation and grows even from underneath the sidewalk)
3 Basic and universal psychological needs:
Autonomy- feeling free and able to make choices about one’s actions, being self-regulating and
able to determine one’s own actions and plans, as opposed to feeling like a pawn at the mercy
of others or fate (provided by autonomy support)
Competence- feeling effective in one’s actions and having the opportunities and experiences to
exercise, expand, and express one’s abilities (provided by structure, optimal challenge)
Relatedness- feeling connected to others, having people to care for, and to receive care from
(provided by involvement- time, interest, energy)
Strategies that help individuals develop and express their own self are autonomy supportive; the
opposite of autonomy support is control
Giving children choices over some behaviours, even if parents may not agree with those choices, helps
children build a sense of autonomy
Optimally challenging: tasks that are too difficult, where the demand outpaces the person’s skills, may
cause the person to feel frustrated and then worried and anxious. Tasks that are too easy may cause
relaxation and then boredom
Flow: (a positive state) engagement in tasks that have a clear set of goals, that require appropriate
responses, give immediate feedback, and in which people are operating at their maximum capacity
-an experience marked by complete absorption, deep enjoyment, intense concentration, and almost an
altered state, as people block out all irrelevant stimuli and focus entirely on the task at hand
-athletes call this “being in the zone”
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Autonomy-supportive teachers spend time listening to students, giving them time to talk, and take the
students’ perspective. These behaviours establish a sense of warmth, affection, and acceptance of
students, fostering relatedness
In contrast, controlling teachers seem to ignore the teacher-student relationship altogether and focus
on correct answers and desired classroom behaviours instead
Overjustification effect: undermining of intrinsic interest, rewards will decrease the desired behaviour
-external motivators such as deadlines, imposed goals, competition, surveillance, and evaluations may
undermine intrinsic interest and performance if they are used to control (depriving autonomy) instead
of for information (to increase competence)
Locus of control: describes the connection between choice and behaviour; the extent to which people
feel free to choose their own behaviours or follow their own interests
-A person who expects to control his/her own fate, or who perceives that rewards are dependent on
his/her own behaviour (amount of time spent studying for exam)has an internal locus of control
-A person who sees his/her life as being controlled by external forces- chance, luck, or fate (the prof
marked the exam easy) unaffected by his/her own behaviour has an external locus of control
Locus of causality: connection between choice and behaviour
Locus of causality (autonomy) is slightly different from locus of control: people may understand the
contingency between their behaviour and some outcome and are able to control their behaviours (locus
of control), but they may not want to or feel free to engage in those behaviours (locus of causality)
The opposite of autonomy is compliance (compliance to conformity to norms and obedience to a direct
order) or defiance, both of which occur in direct response to the controlling actions of another
Anytime a person gives in to external (rewards, punishments) or internal (guilt) pressures to behave in a
certain way, he/she is behaving without autonomy
Self-efficacy: belief that one can be competent and effective at some activity
-predicts how motivated a person will be before and during an activity
2 parts to self-efficacy beliefs:
Outcome expectation- belief that behaving in a certain way will produce a certain outcome
Efficacy expectation- belief that one is capable of acting in a certain way; the expectation about
whether a person will succeed or fail at performing the required action
According to the self-efficacy theory, the efficacy expectation is more important that the outcome
We develop our self-efficacy beliefs from 4 sources of information:
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