Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 449
Goals/Self-Determination Theory/SDT/Deci/Ryan: which types of goals or aspirations do people pursue in their lives? Kasser and Ryan (1993(1), 1996(2)) examined two sets of goals: those for wealth, fame as intrinsic goals. The researchers hypothesized that the intrinsic goals would be associated with greater wellbeing than would the extrinsic goals because intrinsic goals are more closely linked to satisfaction of the basic psychological needs.
Kasser and Ryan found that the relative importance people place on extrinsic goals was negatively related to indicators of wellbeing, whereas the relative importance they placed on intrinsic goals was positively related to the same indicators of wellbeing. Sheldon, Ryan, Deci and Kasser (2004)(3) showed that both the goal contents (extrinsic versus intrinsic) people pursue and the motives they have for pursuing the goals (controlled versus autonomous) are associated with their wellbeing. >Motivation/Deci/Ryan, >Regulation/Deci/Ryan, >Self-Determination Theory/Deci/Ryan.



1. Kasser, T. and Ryan, R. M. 1993. A dark side of the American dream: correlates of financial success as a central life aspiration, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65: 410–22
2. Kasser, T. and Ryan, R. M. 1996. Further examining the American dream: differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 22: 80–7
3. Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Deci, E. L. and Kasser, T. 2004. The independent effects of goal contents and motives on well-being: it’s both what you pursue and why you pursue it, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30: 475–86



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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