Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro theory of human motivation and personality, concerning people's inherent growth tendencies and their innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation behind the choices that people make without any external influence and interference. SDT focuses on the degree to which an individual’s behavior is self-motivated and self-determined. In the 1970s, research on SDT evolved from studies comparing the Intrinsic and Extrinsic motives, and from growing understanding of the dominant role intrinsic motivation played in an individual’s behavior but it was not until the mid-1980s that SDT was formally introduced and accepted as a sound empirical theory. Research applying SDT to different areas in social psychology has increased considerably since the 2000s... Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan later expanded on the early work differentiating between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and proposed three main intrinsic needs involved in self-determination. According to Deci and Ryan, the three psychological needs motivate the self to initiate behavior and specify nutriments that are essential for psychological health and well-being of an individual. These needs are said to be universal, innate and psychological and include the need for competence (mastery), autonomy, and relatedness (connection). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-determination_theory
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