March 28, 2016

Autonomy support in 2 minutes

Motivation is energy for action. More important than how much motivation you have for something is what the quality of your motivation is. Two sorts of motivation are autonomous motivation and controlled motivation. In this video I explain these concepts and why they are important.

March 26, 2016

Controlled motivation impedes intergroups relations

There is a new study out which suggests that controlled motivation can be an obstacles to good intergroup relations in various ways.

Controlled Motivational Orientation and Prejudice 
The Mediating Role of Dehumanization

Abstract. This research investigates the effect of controlled versus autonomous motivation on intergroup relations. Two studies were conducted: Study 1 (N = 152 Greek Cypriot undergraduate students) showed that controlled motivational orientation, measured as a personality variable, was related to more prejudicial beliefs toward outgroups, lower intrinsic motives for contact, less desire for contact, and less actual contact with outgroups.

March 22, 2016

The Journey to a Growth Mindset: Carol Dweck's Live Keynote Presentation

Intrinsic motivation and deliberate practice strengthen each other

Instrinsic motivation, the motivation you feel when you do what you find interesting, and deliberate practice, the goal focused way of practicing in which you, through feedback, make progress by eliminating, step by step, mistakes in your performance, turn out to strengthen each other. Researchers from Estonia, Vink et al. (2014), did a longitudinal study over a period of 12 months in which 163 athletes participated. They found that a higher initial intrinsic motivation predicted more deliberate practice and that higher initial deliberate practice predicted more intrinsic motivation. Over the 12 month period intrinsic motivation and individual deliberate practice were reciprocally related, in other words there was an upward spiral of intrinsic motivation and deliberate practice.

Self-concordant goals feel easier to pursue

Self-concordant goals are goals that fit with the developing interests and values of a person. This means people have a stronger autonomous motivation for these goals. Previous research has shown that having autonomous goals is associated with achieving more progress and satisfaction. There is also research which has shown that having self-concordant goals leads tot the use of effective self-regulation strategies.

Self-concordant goals → effective self-regulation → goal progress

In Self-concordance theory I mentioned that Vasalampi et al. (2009) found empirical support for self-condordance theory which says the following: “having personal goals that are selected for autonomous reasons increases goal-directed effort and thereby increases goal progress. Goal progress, in turn, leads to an increase in subjective well-being and adjustment.” Put more simply: goal motivation is related to more goal progress. Two newer publications confirmed the relationship between goal motivation and goal progress but found that it is mediated by several other variables.

Self-concordance theory

In the post Beneficial effects of a progress focus I listed evidence of how a perception of progress toward goals is associated with such things as increased well-being, motivation, and better physical and mental health. In that post, I also mentioned especially that progress leads to increased well-being in particular when it is related to the fulfillment of the individual’s need for autonomy, competence and relatedness (Sheldon & Kasser, 1998).

March 13, 2016

Trump's escalating rhetoric resembles the methods dictators use

In this post from 2012 I wrote that people may create fear in order to control other people. I explained that creating fear is an effective way of gaining people's attention, creating hyper-vigilance, suppressing their rationality, and legitimizing violence in order to fight the (supposed) threats and to enforce loyalty. People doing this set in motion a vicious cycle. In other words, a process of escalation seems to be inevitable. In order to keep their followers' fears sustained, and their rationality suppressed, they have to keep feeding them with new information about the (supposed) threat. By creating more fear they get more attention, suppress more people's rationality, legitimize greater violence and acquire greater control. These are the methods dictators use.

March 11, 2016

3 Ways of I-am-thinking which can be harmful

"I-am-thinking" can be more harmful than we may realize.

How we think and talk about ourselves, and others, can have a great influence on our and others' emotions, behavior, results, and development. Research by Mueller & Dweck (1998), for example, has shown that different types of praise can have different types of effects. Praising traits and abilities can evoke a fixed mindset while praising effort can evoke a growth mindset.

March 8, 2016

The curtain falls for ego depletion

Last year I wrote that the existence of ego depletion is doubtful (here) and that I think the concept is based on a too simple way of thinking about psychology (here - sorry it is in Dutch). Now it appears that the curtain definitely falls for the concept of ego depletion.

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