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Edward L. Deci

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Edward L. Deci
  • Professor
  • author
  • psychologist
  • Ph.D., Social Psychology, Carnegie-Mellon University
  • M.B.A., University of Pennsylvania
  • A.B., Mathematics, Hamilton College
GenreMotivation, Psychology, Education, Business

Edward L. Deci (/ˈdsi/;[1] born 1942[2]) is a professor of Psychology and Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences at the University of Rochester, and director of its Human Motivation Program. He is well known in psychology for his theories of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and basic psychological needs which he has been researching for 40 years.[3] With Richard Ryan, he is the co-founder of self-determination theory (SDT), an influential contemporary motivational theory.

Deci is also Director of the Monhegan Museum in Monhegan, Maine.[citation needed]

Early life and education


Edward L. Deci was born in October of 1942 in Palmyra, New York.

Deci attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He graduated in 1964 with a degree in mathematics.

He then studied at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and earned his Master of Business Administration from there in 1967.

Deci went on to earn his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in social psychology in 1970. In his dissertation, he explored intrinsic motivation and the way social-contextual factors may have an effect on motivation.[4]

Self-determination theory


Self-determination theory is a macro theory of human motivation that differentiates between autonomous and controlled forms of motivation; the theory has been applied to predict behavior and inform behavior change in many contexts including: education, health care, work organizations, parenting, and sport (as well as many others).




  • Deci, E. L. (1996). Why we do what we do: Understanding self-motivation. New York: Penguin.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.[5]

Selected works

  • Deci, E.L. (1975). Intrinsic motivation. New York: Plenum Publishing Co. Japanese Edition, Tokyo: Seishin Shobo, 1980.
  • Deci, E.L. (1980). The psychology of self-determination. Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath (Lexington Books). Japanese Edition, Tokyo: Seishin Shobo, 1985.
  • Deci, Edward L.; Ryan, Richard M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum. ISBN 0-306-42022-8.
  • Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). "The 'what' and 'why' of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior." Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.
  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). "Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being." American Psychologist, 55, 68-78.
  • Deci, Edward L.; Flaste, Richard (1996). Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-025526-5
  • Deci, Edward L. (2006). Ryan, Richard M. (ed.). The Handbook of Self-Determination Research. University of Rochester Press. ISBN 1-58046-156-5
  • Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. New York: Guilford Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4625-2876-9.

See also



  1. ^ Edward, Deci. "Edward Deci on Self-Determination Theory".
  2. ^ Sheehy, Noel; Chapman, Antony J.; Conroy, Wendy A. (2002). Biographical Dictionary of Psychology. ISBN 9780415285612. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
  3. ^ "Edward L. Deci". deci.socialpsychology.org. Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  4. ^ Deci, Edward L.; Ryan, Richard M. (2019), Zeigler-Hill, Virgil; Shackelford, Todd K. (eds.), "Deci, Edward and Ryan, Richard", Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1–4, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_423-1, ISBN 978-3-319-28099-8, retrieved 2023-11-20
  5. ^ Deci, Edward L.; Ryan, Richard M. (2020), "Deci, Edward and Ryan, Richard", Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 1021–1024, retrieved 2023-11-20