A theory of self-determination is presented in which the concepts of intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation are explicated and the innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness are discussed. Laboratory experiments and field studies are reviewed indicating that: (1) social contexts that facilitate satisfaction of the three basic needs—by providing optimal challenge, informational feedback, interpersonal involvement, and autonomy support—promote both intrinsic motivation and self-determined forms of extrinsic motivation; and (2) intrinsic motivation and self-determined extrinsic motivation are positively associated with high quality learning and personal adjustment. Particular attention is devoted to how factors in the classroom and home affect students' self-determination and school performance.
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Preparation of this paper was supported by a grant from Human Development (HD 18922) to the authors.