Motivation internalization and simplex structure in self-determination theory

Ali Ünlü, Ulrich Dettweiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Self-determination theory, as proposed by Deci and Ryan, postulated different types of motivation regulation. As to the introjected and identified regulation of extrinsic motivation, their internalizations were described as “some-what external” and “somewhat internal” and remained undetermined in the theory. This paper introduces a constrained regression analysis that allows these vaguely expressed motivations to be estimated in an “optimal” manner, in any given empirical context. The approach was even generalized and applied for simplex structure analysis in self-determination theory. The technique was exemplified with an empirical study comparing science teaching in a classical school class versus an expeditionary outdoor program. Based on a sample of 84 German pupils (43 girls, 41 boys, 10 to 12 years old), data were collected using the German version of the Academic Self-Regulation Questionnaire. The science-teaching format was seen to not influence the pupils' internalization of identified regulation. The internalization of introjected regulation differed and shifted more toward the external pole in the outdoor teaching format. The quantification approach supported the simplex structure of self-determination theory, whereas correlations may disconfirm the simplex structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-691
Number of pages17
JournalPsychological Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2015


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