Summary: Self-Determination Theory is a theory of motivation and personality that addresses three universal, innate and psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and psychological relatedness.

Originators: Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, psychologists at the University of Rochester.

Key Terms: motivation, competence, autonomy, relatedness

Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan)

Self-Determination Theory (SDT) is an important theory of motivation that addresses issues of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. People have innate psychological needs:

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