Welcome to self-determination theory and introduction. This is an online course and I'm Richard Ryan, I'm your instructor in this course, and it's co-sponsored by the University of Rochester and the Center for Self-determination Theory. If you find your way here, you probably already know something about self-determination theory. You probably know it's a very broad theory of human motivation and wellness that has a lot of both basic and applied research. Very many years ago when we started this theory, Ed Deci and I began with a phenomena that we call intrinsic motivation. Many of you have probably heard this term before, intrinsic motivation is when we do something just because of the inherent enjoyment and the activity itself. In our early research, we did a lot of work on both what promotes and what undermines intrinsic motivation, and we'll be talking about that research soon. But we quickly move from just the topic of intrinsic motivation to the broader field of motivation in general and particularly extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is when we do those things that may not be inherently enjoyable, but we do them because there's a separate goal or outcome we'd like to achieve. Some kinds of extrinsic motivation come about from the outside, from pressures and controls that are besetting us, but some kinds of extrinsic motivation really come from within when we do something just because we think it's worthwhile or it has merit. So, we've started this whole range of extrinsic motivations and how we can promote more internalized forms of extrinsic motivations, the things we do because of value and merit. As we studied these conditions that promote intrinsic motivation and while internalized extrinsic motivation, we found that the very conditions that produce high-quality motivation also are associated with people's greatest experiences of wellness and satisfaction and that led us to develop a theory of basic psychological needs that you'll be hearing about in this course. So these general topics in motivation and wellness led us to many, many other research topics, for instance, individual differences in motivation had been studied by SDT, the things that increase our vitality and drain our energy, the role of mindfulness and how we make decisions and choices in life, the kinds of motivations that are important and close relationships. We've studied life goals and how they affect people's happiness and how nature has an impact on our wellness. Even recently, a lot of work on the neural psychology of motivation. So basic research has expanded quite a bit within this field and you'll be hearing a lot about it. But if we were to think about why it is that SDT has grown so much over the past couple of decades, it's really not just this basic research, it's really its applicability in the world, people can put SDT into practice. I'm a clinical psychologist, so one of my favorite areas of practice is psychotherapy and behavior change and SDT supplies a really a good theory of motivation for understanding how people can make those transitions in life. But Ed Deci and I right from the very beginning, we're applying SDT in classrooms and educational practice and school reform because of the importance of motivation in classrooms. In addition, SDT does a lot of work in organizations, in sport fields and exercise areas, in media, in technology, and a whole variety of other areas because in part, motivation applies to every form of human endeavor. This is one of the reasons why we've seen SDT explode in the popular literature. There are all kinds of books that make SDT accessible to the public in many different ways, and part of this is just because of its usefulness in the everyday world. So this is an introduction to self-determination theory and it's not really going to be a pop course or a workshop on how to be motivated. I'm not going to be Tony Robbins, I'm not going to teach you how to walk on hot coals or go around the world collecting Nobel Prizes, instead our hope is that this course is a point of departure for understanding the research and self-determination theory and some of the general points in practice that fall from it. These lectures are not intended to give you a detailed account of the SDT compact, but just to illustrate some general principles of self-determination theory. To do so, I'll be dipping into various research that I think illustrates the theory really well. Where we provide that research, we'll also give you the references to it so you can dig in deeply into the methods and strategies people use. Alongside these lectures, there's going to be a primary text, I have it here in front of me, it's called Self-Determination Theory, Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness. Most of the readings will be from this book and we'll point you to the ones that are most relevant to each lecture. We'll also have some supplemental readings listed for you, so again, you can dig into the wider field of inquiry. Another valuable resource for you in this course will be the website, selfdeterminationtheory.org. It contains many links to the relevant readings. Now you know this course is not a required course, it's here for your own interests and for your development. So you can watch it as you like, but the course is sequenced, so going in order will probably be a good strategy for best understanding what we're discussing. Also your choices, the level of competence or to the depths of study that you undertake in this. You may just want to stroll through some concepts or you really want to maybe dig into the details of the research and methodologies. Regardless of what style you take on this, we invite you to engage in the weekly tests that we offer at the end of each series of lectures. You can use these to challenge yourself and also confirm the understanding that you've gotten. In general, what we hope is that you really enjoy this bird's eye view of self-determination theory and you learn something about the secrets of human motivation and wellness that you can apply both to yourself and to the people around you.