Economics Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 444
Social Environment/Self-Determination Theory/SDT/Psychology/Deci/Ryan: Thesis: social environments that facilitate satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for competence, autonomy and relatedness will lead to more autonomous types of motivation – namely, identified, integrated and intrinsic – whereas social environments that are thwarting of the basic needs will lead to either controlled motivation or amotivation. >Motivation/Deci/Ryan, >Regulation/Deci/Ryan, >Self-Determination Theory/Deci/Ryan.
Initial work on the motivational effects of social environment environments was a set of laboratory experiments that examined how various factors such as rewards, feedback and deadlines affect intrinsic motivation. In the first studies, Deci (1971)(1) found that when participants received monetary rewards for solving an interesting spatial-relations puzzle, they were subsequently less intrinsically motivated for the activity than were participants who had done the same activity without receiving the rewards.
The extrinsic rewards seemed to undermine the participants’ intrinsic motivations. This finding has been replicated dozens of times, and a meta-analysis (Deci, Koestner and Ryan 1999)(2) confirmed this effect across more than 100 experiments.
Studies (e.g., Vallerand and Reid 1984)(3) further showed that positive feedback enhanced the intrinsic motivation of participants relative to those who did not get the feedback. Thus, it appears that feedback that affirms competence when accompanied by a sense of autonomy typically enhances intrinsic motivation (Ryan 1982(4)).
Corr I 447
Effects of the environment o internalization: SDT is built on the assumption that people are naturally inclined to internalize values and behaviours that are exhibited by important others in their socializing environment. (…) [but] only to the extent that people experience satisfaction of the basic needs as they are acquiring the values and behaviours.
That is, environments that support need satisfaction will lead people to accept the structures that are endorsed by the social world, but those that are rejecting or controlling will impair internalization, leaving the people controlled either by external or introjected regulatory processes. >Regulation/Deci/Ryan.



1. Deci, E. L. 1971. Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 18: 105–15
2. Deci, E. L., Koestner, R. and Ryan, R. M. 1999. A meta-analytic review of experiments examining the effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation, Psychological Bulletin 125: 627–68
3. Vallerand, R. J. and Reid, G. 1984. On the causal effects of perceived competence on intrinsic motivation: a test of cognitive evaluation theory, Journal of Sport Psychology 6: 94–102
4. Ryan, R. M. 1982. Control and information in the intrapersonal sphere: an extension of cognitive evaluation theory, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 43: 450–61



Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, „Self-determination theory: a consideration of human motivational universals“, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Ryan, Richard M.
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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