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Dr. Edward Deci Discusses Motivation With Students and Faculty

by - Apr 11, 2017

Dr. Edward Deci, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, spoke on Thursday, April 5, to Rawls College students and faculty about the self-determination theory, how it is applied across life’s domains and the associated research.

He spoke to Ph.D. students at a luncheon that fostered deep discussion about the theory and following the luncheon, gave a formal presentation to faculty, students and members of the community. Those in attendance had the opportunity to ask questions to better hone their understanding of the theory and its application.

The self-determination theory was developed by Deci and psychologist, Richard Ryan, and has since been elaborated on by many other scholars and is a well-known theory across academia.

According to the theory, there are two different types of motivation: controlled and autonomous. Controlled motivation is when one feels coerced into behaving a certain way and can lead to defiance and rigid thinking. Autonomous motivation is when one does something because he/she is willing and eager and it leads to persistence, creativity and overall better physical and psychological health.

The theory also expands on autonomous motivation, saying one can either be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Being intrinsically motivated is when one does something because he/she finds it interesting and being extrinsically motivated is when one does an activity because it leads to a reward or consequence.

The theory also cites competence, relatedness and autonomy as the three-basic human psychological needs. Deci said for a person to be fulfilled he/she must feel confident in themselves, cared for and believe their actions are self-endorsed.

Deci also discussed how the theory can and has been applied to business environments and education by sharing research conducted in the areas.

To view pictures from the events, please visit the Rawls College Flickr account.

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