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Autonomy and the Experience of Self: Research on Human Volition and its Implications Seminar

16:00 - 17:00
16 February 2012
Room 3095, Level 3 Shackleton Building (Building 44) University of Southampton Highfield Campus Southampton SO17 1BJ

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Allyson Marchi on 02380 599645 or email .

Event details

The regulation of behaviour takes many forms, not all of which have the full support of the self. Self-determination theory (SDT) distinguishes people’s motivation in terms of the degree to which is regulated by the self (autonomy) or regulated by forces or dynamics that are experienced as controlling (heteronomy).

Both phenomenological and functional outcomes are predicted by these distinctions. Furthermore, whether behavioural regulation is autonomous or controlled is affected by interpersonal and cultural factors, and by the individual’s awareness and sense of choice with respect to such influences. In this talk Ryan will provide an overview of SDT’s views of self-regulation, life goals, and societal pressures, with special emphasis on recent research using new methods that highlights the importance of autonomy for individual, group and cultural wellness. He will also apply this research to issues in health care, sport and physical activity, work, close relationships and other important life domains.

Speaker information

Professor Richard M Ryan, University of Rochester, New York. Richard M. Ryan, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and a widely published researcher and theorist in the areas of human motivation, with over 250 articles, chapters and books. He is co-developer (with Edward Deci) of Self-Determination Theory, an internationally researched theory that has been applied in hundreds of studies within areas such as development, education, work, relationships, medicine, psychical activity and cross-cultural psychology. Ryan is also an award winning teacher and researcher, who has given addresses in over 60 universities worldwide. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and an Honorary Member of the German Psychological Society. He has been a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute, a James McKeen Cattell Fellow, and he is currently a Leverhulme Fellow and Visiting Professor at the University of Bath. He is also the Director of Clinical Training in Psychology at the University of Rochester, and an active psychotherapist. Recent research interests include: the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic life goals on wellbeing; mindfulness and self-regulation; vitality; and motivation in health care, education, and virtual environments.

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