Scientific American: Three Critical Elements Sustain MotivationOctober 18, 2012 by Shannon

October 18th 2012.



:Whether you pursue an activity for its own sake or because external forces compel you, psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan of the University of Rochester argue that you gain motivation when you feel in charge. In evaluations of students, athletes and employees, the researchers have found that the perception of autonomy predicts the energy with which individuals pursue a goal.

In 2006 Deci and Ryan, with psychologist Arlen C. Moller, designed several experiments to evaluate the effects of feeling controlled versus self-directed. They found that subjects given the opportunity to select a course of action based on their own opinions (for example, giving a speech for or against teaching psychology in high school) persisted longer in a subsequent puzzle-solving activity than participants who were either given no choice or pressured to select one side over another. Deci and Ryan posit that acting under duress is taxing, whereas pursuing a task you endorse is energizing.”

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