Self-Determination Theory

Edward L. Deci, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

150 Scopus citations


Self-determination Theory (SDT) is a motivational theory of personality, development, and social processes that examines how social contexts and individual differences facilitate different types of motivation, especially autonomous motivation and controlled motivation, and in turn predict learning, performance, experience, and psychological health. SDT proposes that all human beings have three basic psychological needs - the needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness - the satisfaction of which are essential nutrients for effective functioning and wellness. Satisfaction of these basic needs promotes the optimal motivational traits and states of autonomous motivation and intrinsic aspirations, which facilitate psychological health and effective engagement with the world.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (Print)9780080970868
StatePublished - 26 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Amotivation
  • Autonomous motivation
  • Autonomy
  • Autonomy support
  • Basic psychological needs
  • Competence
  • Controlled motivation
  • Extrinsic aspirations
  • Extrinsic motivation
  • Intrinsic aspirations
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Need support
  • Relatedness


Dive into the research topics of 'Self-Determination Theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this