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Journal ArticleDOI

Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior

01 Mar 1988-Contemporary Sociology-Vol. 17, Iss: 2, pp 253

AboutThis article is published in Contemporary Sociology.The article was published on 1988-03-01. It has received 15816 citation(s) till now. The article focuses on the topic(s): Goal theory & Overjustification effect.

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Research guided by self-determination theory has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development, leading to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatedness.
Abstract: Human beings can be proactive and engaged or, alternatively, passive and alienated, largely as a function of the social conditions in which they develop and function. Accordingly, research guided by self-determination theo~ has focused on the social-contextual conditions that facilitate versus forestall the natural processes of self-motivation and healthy psychological development. Specifically, factors have been examined that enhance versus undermine intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, and well-being. The findings have led to the postulate of three innate psychological needs--competence, autonomy, and relatednesswhich when satisfied yield enhanced self-motivation and mental health and when thwarted lead to diminished motivation and well-being. Also considered is the significance of these psychological needs and processes within domains such as health care, education, work, sport, religion, and psychotherapy. T he fullest representations of humanity show people to be curious, vital, and self-motivated. At their best, they are agentic and inspired, striving to learn; extend themselves; master new skills; and apply their talents responsibly. That most people show considerable effort, agency, and commitment in their lives appears, in fact, to be more normative than exceptional, suggesting some very positive and persistent features of human nature. Yet, it is also clear that the human spirit can be diminished or crushed and that individuals sometimes reject growth and responsibility. Regardless of social strata or cultural origin, examples of both children and adults who are apathetic, alienated, and irresponsible are abundant. Such non-optimal human functioning can be observed not only in our psychological clinics but also among the millions who, for hours a day, sit passively before their televisions, stare blankly from the back of their classrooms, or wait listlessly for the weekend as they go about their jobs. The persistent, proactive, and positive tendencies of human nature are clearly not invariantly apparent. The fact that human nature, phenotypically expressed, can be either active or passive, constructive or indolent, suggests more than mere dispositional differences and is a function of more than just biological endowments. It also bespeaks a wide range of reactions to social environments that is worthy of our most intense scientific investigation. Specifically, social contexts catalyze both within- and between-person differences in motivation and personal growth, resulting in people being more self-motivated, energized, and integrated in some situations, domains, and cultures than in others. Research on the conditions that foster versus undermine positive human potentials has both theoretical import and practical significance because it can contribute not only to formal knowledge of the causes of human behavior but also to the design of social environments that optimize people's development, performance, and well-being. Research guided by self-determination theory (SDT) has had an ongoing concern with precisely these

26,488 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Self-determination theory (SDT) maintains that an understanding of human motivation requires a consideration of innate psychological needs for competence, autonomy, and relatedness. We discuss the SDT concept of needs as it relates to previous need theories, emphasizing that needs specify the necessary conditions for psychological growth, integrity, and well-being. This concept of needs leads to the hypotheses that different regulatory processes underlying goal pursuits are differentially associated with effective functioning and well-being and also that different goal contents have different relations to the quality of behavior and mental health, specifically because different regulatory processes and different goal contents are associated with differing degrees of need satisfaction. Social contexts and individual differences that support satisfaction of the basic needs facilitate natural growth processes including intrinsically motivated behavior and integration of extrinsic motivations, whereas those that forestall autonomy, competence, or relatedness are associated with poorer motivation, performance, and well-being. We also discuss the relation of the psychological needs to cultural values, evolutionary processes, and other contemporary motivation theories.

19,104 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This review revisits the classic definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in light of contemporary research and theory and discusses the relations of both classes of motives to basic human needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness.
Abstract: Intrinsic and extrinsic types of motivation have been widely studied, and the distinction between them has shed important light on both developmental and educational practices. In this review we revisit the classic definitions of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in light of contemporary research and theory. Intrinsic motivation remains an important construct, reflecting the natural human propensity to learn and assimilate. However, extrinsic motivation is argued to vary considerably in its relative autonomy and thus can either reflect external control or true self-regulation. The relations of both classes of motives to basic human needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are discussed. ≈ 2000 Academic Press To be motivated means to be moved to do something. A person who feels no impetus or inspiration to act is thus characterized as unmotivated, whereas someone who is energized or activated toward an end is considered motivated. Most everyone who works or plays with others is, accordingly, concerned with motivation, facing the question of how much motivation those others, or oneself, has for a task, and practitioners of all types face the perennial task of fostering more versus less motivation in those around them. Most theories of motivation reflect these concerns by viewing motivation as a unitary phenomenon, one that varies from very little motivation to act to a great deal of it. Yet, even brief reflection suggests that motivation is hardly a unitary phenomenon. People have not only different amounts, but also different kinds of motivation. That is, they vary not only in level of motivation (i.e., how much motivation), but also in the orientation of that motivation (i.e., what type of motivation). Orientation of motivation concerns the underlying attitudes and goals that give rise to action—that is, it concerns the why of actions. As an example, a student can be highly motivated to do homework out of curiosity and interest or, alternatively, because he or she wants to procure the approval of a teacher or parent. A student could be motivated

12,248 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced self-awareness.
Abstract: Mindfulness is an attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being. This research provides a theoretical and empirical examination of the role of mindfulness in psychological well-being. The development and psychometric properties of the dispositional Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) are described. Correlational, quasi-experimental, and laboratory studies then show that the MAAS measures a unique quality of consciousness that is related to a variety of well-being constructs, that differentiates mindfulness practitioners from others, and that is associated with enhanced selfawareness. An experience-sampling study shows that both dispositional and state mindfulness predict self-regulated behavior and positive emotional states. Finally, a clinical intervention study with cancer patients demonstrates that increases in mindfulness over time relate to declines in mood disturbance and stress. Many philosophical, spiritual, and psychological traditions emphasize the importance of the quality of consciousness for the maintenance and enhancement of well-being (Wilber, 2000). Despite this, it is easy to overlook the importance of consciousness in human well-being because almost everyone exercises its primary capacities, that is, attention and awareness. Indeed, the relation between qualities of consciousness and well-being has received little empirical attention. One attribute of consciousness that has been much-discussed in relation to well-being is mindfulness. The concept of mindfulness has roots in Buddhist and other contemplative traditions where conscious attention and awareness are actively cultivated. It is most commonly defined as the state of being attentive to and aware of what is taking place in the present. For example, Nyanaponika Thera (1972) called mindfulness “the clear and single-minded awareness of what actually happens to us and in us at the successive moments of perception” (p. 5). Hanh (1976) similarly defined mindfulness as “keeping one’s consciousness alive to the present reality” (p. 11). Recent research has shown that the enhancement of mindfulness through training facilitates a variety of well-being outcomes (e.g., Kabat-Zinn, 1990). To date, however, there has been little work examining this attribute as a naturally occurring characteristic. Recognizing that most everyone has the capacity to attend and to be aware, we nonetheless assume (a) that individuals differ in their propensity or willingness to be aware and to sustain attention to what is occurring in the present and (b) that this mindful capacity varies within persons, because it can be sharpened or dulled by a variety of factors. The intent of the present research is to reliably identify these inter- and intrapersonal variations in mindfulness, establish their relations to other relevant psychological constructs, and demonstrate their importance to a variety of forms of psychological well-being.

8,335 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: The concept of school engagement has attracted increasing attention as representing a possible antidote to declining academic motivation and achievement. Engagement is presumed to be malleable, responsive to contextual features, and amenable to environmental change. Researchers describe behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement and recommend studying engagement as a multifaceted construct. This article reviews definitions, measures, precursors, and outcomes of engagement; discusses limitations in the existing research; and suggests improvements. The authors conclude that, although much has been learned, the potential contribution of the concept of school engagement to research on student experience has yet to be realized. They call for richer characterizations of how students behave, feel, and think—research that could aid in the development of finely tuned interventions

6,263 citations