Annotated Bibliography of Self-Determination Theory Sources


Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder, CO: West View Press.
  • Amabile requested art-students to create works that would be shown in a gallery. Some artists were paid commission and others were not. Amabile finds that the non-commission pieces were overwhelmingly better received in comparison to the commissioned pieces. She also finds that among, those that were commissioned, the artists who more creative license and positive feedback created works that were received much better by the critics than those that were given more restrictions in their commissions.

Anderson, R., Manoogian, S. T., & Reznick, J. S. (1976). The Undermining and enhancing of intrinsic motivation in preschool children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (34), pp. 915-922.
  • In this study, children were given a task to be performed in the presence of adults. The findings show that the children who were engaged the present adult had higher levels of intrinsic motivation than the children who were ignored by the adult. These findings suggest a strong correlation between relatedness and intrinsic motivation.
  • Abstract: A 2-phase field experiment was conducted with 72 lower-socioeconomic preschool children to test the overjustification effect, which proposes that intrinsic motivation will decrease with the addition of contingent, external rewards which alone are sufficient to justify performance. Ss showing high intrinsic motivation on the target activity were exposed to 1 of 6 conditions. In the 3 experimental conditions the child received either money, an award, or positive verbal reinforcement for his/her performance on the target activity. Comparison groups controlled for time or history, the presence of the E, and the personal attention given the child by the E. Money and awards, expected to be perceived as sufficient to justify performance, reduced subsequent intrinsic motivation during a free-play period. Positive verbal reinforcement, predicted to be insufficient to justify performance, resulted in increased intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation in control groups for time and presence of the E did not change. Unexpectedly, a large decline in intrinsic motivation occurred in a control group where the child was ignored. This effect is discussed in terms of attribution and learning theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved).

Deci, E. L., & Gagné, M. (2005). Self-determination theory and work motivation. Journal of organizational behavior, 26 (4), pp. 331-362.
  • In this study, the authors find that autonomy positively relates to intrinsic motivation. In contrast, rewards are seen as negatively impacting intrinsic motivation, especially if the task requires a great deal of creative thinking.
  • Abstract: Cognitive evaluation theory, which explains the effects of extrinsic motivators on intrinsic motivation, received some initial attention in the organizational literature. However, the simple dichotomy between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation made the theory difficult to apply to work settings. Differentiating extrinsic motivation into types that differ in their degree of autonomy led to self-determination theory, which has received widespread attention in the education, health care, and sport domains. This article describes self-determination theory as a theory of work motivation and shows its relevance to theories of organizational behavior

Dunn, E. W., Ankin, L. B., & Norton, M. I. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science (21).
  • In this survey, the authors find that happiness is positively affected by spending money on others much more so than spending money on themselves. This article indicates that relatedness (in the form of generosity) relates to intrinsic motivation and other psychological factors.
  • Abstract: While much research has examined the effect of income on happiness, we suggest that how people spend their money may be at least as important as how much money they earn. Specifically, we hypothesized that spending money on other people may have a more positive impact on happiness than spending money on oneself. Providing converging evidence for this hypothesis, we found that spending more of one’s income on others predicted greater happiness both cross-sectionally (in a nationally representative survey study) and longitudinally (in a field study of windfall spending). Finally, participants who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to spend money on themselves. 2 Can money buy happiness? A large body of cross-sectional survey research has demonstrated that income has a reliable, but surprisingly weak effect on happiness within nations (1-3), particularly once basic needs are met (4). Indeed, while real incomes have surged dramatically in recent decades, happiness levels have remained largely flat within developed countries across time (5). One of the most intriguing explanations for this counterintuitive finding is that people often pour their increased wealth into pursuits that provide little in the way of lasting happiness, such as purchasing costly consumer goods (6).


Grolnick, W., & Ryan, R. M. (1989). Parent styles associated with children's self-regulation and competence in school. Journal of Educational Psychology (81), pp. 143-154.
  • This study considers the impact of parent involvement on students. They found that the type of support given by parents, whether autonomy-supportive or controlling, directly impacts the degree to which the children internalized the regulations suggested by their parents.
  • Abstract: Three dimension of parent style -- autonomy support, involvement, and provision of structure--were studied using 64 mothers and 50 fathers of children in grades 3 through 6. Focus was on defining parental influences on children's school-related adjustment and performance. The three aspects of home environment were differentially associated with varied school outcomes.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). An overview of self-determination theory: An organismic-dialectical perspective. In E. L. Deci, & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of Self-Determination Research. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.
  • This article explores the key concepts of Organismic Integration Theory, including: introjection, amotivation, external regulation, and integrated regulation. The authors find that the more integrated a regulation becomes, the more closely that motivation mimics intrinsic motivation.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000b). The undermining of intrinsic motivation and self-regulation. In C. Sansone, & J. Harackiewicz (Eds.), Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation: The Search for Optimal Motivation and Performance. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • This article explains the damaging effects of extrinsic rewards on intrinsic motivation. They also find that the increased presence of the three psychological needs yields better psychological outcomes - happiness for example.