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Resources for Self Determination Theory

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Books about Self Determination Theory

Kohn, Alfie. Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes. Houghton Mifflin, 1999. “In fact, the more we use artificial inducements to motivate people, the more they lose interest in what we’re bribing them to do. Rewards turn play into work, and work into drudgery.”

Pink, Daniel. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books, 2011. “Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.”

Ryan, Richard M. and Edward L. Deci. Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness. The Guilford Press, 2017. “That most people show considerable effort, agency, and commitment in their lives appears, in fact, to be more normative than exceptional, suggesting some very positive and persistent features of human nature.”

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2008. “Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.”

Cook, Dan. Lost Garden Blog. Here is a classic article about Loops & Arcs in Game Design from the Lost Garden Blog, a great resource for aspiring game designers.

Dweck, Carol. Mindset. The new psychology of success. Carol’s big idea is “growth mindset”, the idea that becoming highly skilled is a matter of effort and skilled practice, as opposed to “fixed mindset”, the idea that talent is inborn and can’t be changed.