Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is a theory of motivation. It is concerned with supporting our natural or intrinsic tendencies to behave in effective and healthy ways. SDT has been researched and practiced by a network of researchers around the world.
The theory was initially developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan at the University of Rochester, and has been elaborated and refined by scholars from many countries. Deci and Ryan are professors in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester, where they direct a pre- and post-doctoral training program focused on SDT.
This website presents a brief overview of SDT and provides resources that address important issues such as human needs, values, intrinsic motivation, development, motivation across cultures, individual differences, and psychological well-being. Also addressed are the applications of Self-Determination Theory to:
SDT Featured in the News
- Huffington Post: It's Simple, Easy and Free -- And It Will Improve Your Life (Oct 8, 2013)
- NY Times: The Accumulated Wisdom on Bribing Your Children (Oct 3, 2013)
- Huffington Post: What Would You Do With Ten Extra Years of Life (Sept 7, 2013)
- VIDEO: Clip from Richard Ryan's and Edward Deci's Opening Remarks at the 2013 SDT Conference
Recent Research and Commentary
- JUST RELEASED: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity publishes conference papers on "SDT and MI in Behavioral Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Health."
- SDT FEATURED RESEARCH in Journal of Adolescence's current special issue "The Cross-Cultural Significance of Control and Autonomy in Parent-Adolescent Relationships."
- Moller et al. (2012). "Financial Motivation Undermines Maintenance in an Intensive Diet and Activity Intervention." Journal of Obesity.
- Legate, Ryan, & Weinstein (2012). "Is coming out always a "good thing?" Exploring the relations of autonomy support, outness, and wellness for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals." Social Psychological and Personality Science, 3, 145-152.