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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, and has been elaborated and refined by scholars from many countries. Deci is currently a professor at the University of Rochester in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology in Rochester, NY; Ryan, a clinical psychologist, was recently appointed as Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney, Australia.  Together and separately, Deci and Ryan have promoted SDT through theory, research, and their ongoing training of scholars.

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:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Relationships
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychopathology
  • Organizations
  • Sports and Exercise
  • Goals
  • Health and Well-being
  • Environment

Did You Know? »

New SDT Book by Ryan & Deci.  Get your Special Discount Now!

New SDT Book by Ryan & Deci. Get your Special Discount Now!

The 2nd Printing of the Self-Determination Theory Book just released with embossed cover This long-awaited book by Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci is now...

 
See Recently Released SDT Articles Here First

See Recently Released SDT Articles Here First

Advance Online SDT Articles: Halvari, H., Healey, J., Olafsen, A. H., Byrkjeland, R., Deci, E. L., Williams, G. C. (2016). Physical activity and motivational predictors...

 
Paul Adachi, recipient of APA Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Media Psychology & Technology Award

Paul Adachi, recipient of APA Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Media Psychology & Technology Award

Congratulations to SDT Scholar Paul Adachi, for receiving this prestigious APA award. For more information about Paul Adachi’s research, click here.

 
Motivation: What works and what doesn’t

Motivation: What works and what doesn’t

How do you motivate people at work? Three decades ago it was all about reward and punishment but much has changed since the days of the behaviourists, BF Skinner...

 
Discover NEW questions and answers about SDT from Ryan’s and Deci’s latest podcast.

Discover NEW questions and answers about SDT from Ryan’s and Deci’s latest podcast.

What Really Motivates Us It’s a question of carrot or stick. Or possibly neither. What really motivates us? Humans have pondered this question for decades. Is...