Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 442
Internalization/Motivation/Self-Determination Theory/Deci/Ryan: internalization is a developmental process through which external values and regulations can, to varying degrees, be taken in and integrated with one’s sense of self.
Self-Determination Theory/SDT proposes that there is a natural developmental tendency for people to take in the values, behaviours and opinions they encounter in their lives and to move toward accepting them as their own. However, this process will function more or less effectively depending on the degree to which the person experiences basic psychological need satisfaction while that process is operating. >Self-Determination Theory/Deci/Ryan, >Motivation/Deci/Ryan, >Autonomy/Deci/Ryan.
Corr I 447
Many studies have supported the hypothesizes that need supportive social contexts lead to fuller internalization of values and behavioural regulations (e.g., Niemiec, Lynch, Vansteenkiste et al. 2006(1); Williams and Deci 1996(2)).
In one laboratory experiment (Deci, Eghrari, Patrick and Leone 1994)(3) found that three facilitating factors – namely,

- providing a rationale for a requested behaviour,
- acknowledging people’s feelings about the behaviour, and
- highlighting choice rather than control

all contributed to facilitating internalization of extrinsic motivation.



1. Niemiec, C. P., Lynch, M. F., Vansteenkiste, M., Bernstein, J., Deci, E. L. and Ryan, R. M. 2006. The antecedents and consequences of autonomous self-regulation for college: a self-determination theory perspective
2. Williams, G. C. and Deci, E. L. 1996. Internalization of biopsychosocial values by medical students: a test of self-determination theory, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70: 767–79
3. Deci, E. L., Eghrari, H., Patrick, B. C. and Leone, D. R. 1994. Facilitating internalization: the self-determination theory perspective, Journal of Personality 62: 119–42


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.
Deci, Edward L.
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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