Need satisfaction and the self-regulation of learning

Edward L. Deci, Richard M. Ryan, Geoffrey C. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

366 Scopus citations


Self-regulation is analyzed in terms of self-determination theory using the concepts of intrinsic motivation and the internalization of extrinsic motivation. Laboratory experiments and field studies are reviewed indicating that: (1) intrinsic motivation and fully internalized extrinsic motivation are positively associated with high quality learning and personal adjustment; and (2) maintaining intrinsic motivation and internalizing extrinsic motivation are facilitated by social contexts that allow satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Such contexts are ones that are characterized by the provision of choice, optimal challenge, informational feedback, interpersonal involvement, and acknowledgment of feelings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-183
Number of pages19
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Preparation of this article was supported by a research grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD-19914) and by an individual NRSA from the National Cancer Institute (CA-60348).


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