aPersonality Psychology Chapter 9
Regulation and Motivation: Self-Determination Theory
According to the Self-determination Theory (Of Edward Deci and Richard Ryan)
there is a big difference between engaging in an activity because of extrinsic
reasons and engaging in the same activity for intrinsic reasons.
o Want to study in exam – extrincis – wana be successful in life ,
intrincis – my family wants me to be a teacher
When we are Extrinsically Motivated we engage in an activity due to reasons
outside the activity itself. (For rewards or because punishment will follow if
not complete, like doing homework.)
When we are Intrinsically Motivated we engage in an activity simply because
we receive joy and pleasure from that activity. (Like painting, if you’re into
According to the self-determination theory, the reasons why we do something are
often more important than what we do.
2 important predictions of Self-Determination Theory:
1. The reasons why we do something (Intrinsic or extrinsic reasons) are
important for effort, performance, and task persistence.
2. The way another person communicates his or her expectations and
instructions to us also has a big impact on our effort, performance, and
Self-Determination theory is grounded in the Humanistic Tradition, which
emphasizes responsibility, growth, and the actualizing tendency.
Actualizing Tendency: The motive to actualize or bring about growth and
Ex: think of a flower ,if the envioronement doesn’t interfere the person can
do what they want to do
Carl rogers talks about the actualizing tendency
According to the Self-Determination theory, there are 3 basic and universal
psychological needs: Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness.
People need autonomy, because they must feel that hey can freely choose what
to pursue, instead of being pushed around, forced to do things, or burdened
with a lot of have to’s, from the people or situations around them.
o A person can do something they want to do , not feeling pushed
by other people
o How much he wants to do it
People need competence, because they must feel competent at their pursuits,
achieving mastery at tasks that are neither to easy nor too hard for them.
o They have the skill and they can do it
o How much skills you have
People need relatedness, because they must feel they have meaningful
relationships with people around them, like peers or supervisors. The
feeling of being connected to others, people to care for, and to receive.
o Ex: school and work organization
o How much related you are to your profs When these 3 needs are met, people will feel motivated and will happily
participate in some activity.
For people to satisfy their need for autonomy they must feel they can act out of
their own volition (I.e. from their own wishes, preferences, and desires.)
The opposite of autonomy is control.
An important part of satisfying the need for competence is working on tasks that
are Optimally Challenging. (When an activity is neither to easy nor to hard.)
Flow: An experience marked by complete absorption, deep enjoyment, intense
concentration, and almost an altered state, as people block out all irrelevant
stimuli and focus completely on the task at hand. (Think of being vary into a
video game, or how some athletes call it being in the “zone”)
o You completely focus on one thing , everything around you is not
When people are in a state of flow, they have no sense of time, reporting that
minutes seem to pass in mere moments.
Overjustification Effect: When people lose interest in a formerly intrinsically
interesting activity as a result of extrinsic control.
o I like painting ,new friends , so you wont paint that day
o I love biooo, but extrinsic factor chemistry making you loose bio
Locus of Control: Describes the connection between behavior and outcomes.
o Those with an internal locus of control believe they can influence
what happens to them through their own efforts, behavior, or
o I didn’t study much , that why my mark is bad
o Those with an external locus of control believe that what happens to
them is due to chance, luck, fate, or other people.
o Bad mark , proff was really bad
Locus of Causality: Refers to the connection between choice and behavior.
A key difference is that, people may understand the contingency between their
behavior and some outcome and are able to control their behaviors (Locus of
Control), but they may not want t