Både selvbestemmelsesteorien (Self-Determination Theory, SDT) og Maslow har en behovspsykologi. Hvordan er de forskellige? Det beskrives herunder i et leksikonopslag af Richard Ryan og en yngre forsker, Stefano Di Domenico (som nok er pennefører) (se referencen nederst). I dette venlige lys fremstår SDT som en videreudvikling af nogle af Maslows nøgleindsigter (bl.a. interessen for optimal menneskelig funktion), men også som afgørende forskellig fra Maslows spekulative ideer (bl.a. er SDT's psykologiske behov lige vigtige, ikke hierarkiske, og menneskets integrative væksttendens ses ikke som automatisk, men afhænger af omgivelsernes støtte til de psykologiske behov). Teksten her er samtidig en effektiv introduktion til SDT - og sådan begynder den:
"Self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000; 2017) is a contemporary theory of motivation and personality development that draws upon and offers many important revisions to classic humanistic ideas, including those of Maslow. Central to SDT is the “organismic” assumption that people have an integrative tendency, which leads them to seek out challenges, to be curious and interested, and to develop and express their capacities. However, SDT emphasises that this integrative tendency is by no means automatic, but rather dependent on the satisfaction of basic psychological needs, namely, those for autonomy (feeling volitional), competence (feeling effective), and relatedness (feeling connected with others).
These satisfactions are thus seen as essential elements in people’s active integrative propensities—when these needs are supported integration proceeds, when these needs are thwarted integrative growth tendencies are forestalled. In fact, within SDT these three basic needs represent experiential nutriments that are necessary for ongoing psychological growth, integrity, and wellness.
The integrative growth tendencies within SDT are manifest as propensities toward intrinsic motivation and internalization. Intrinsic motivation is a prototype of growth motivation, and describes the inherent and spontaneous tendency “to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capacity, to explore, and to learn” (Ryan & Deci, 2000, p. 70). A concept that is closely related to intrinsic motivation is flow (Czikszentmihalyi, 1990), which refers to experiential states of non-self-conscious enjoyment and total absorption in an activity.
Intrinsic motivation and flow are exactly the kind of “peak experiences” that Maslow (1970) found to be common among his self-actualizers. SDT also argues that integrative propensities motivate tendencies to internalize and integrate social regulations. People who show greater internalization are more prone to behave because of inner values than because of outer or inner rewards and pressure, again like Maslow’s actualizers. Research within SDT has found that whereas social-contextual factors that support people’s experiences of autonomy, competence, and relatedness facilitate the expression of intrinsic motivation and internalization, situations that frustrate and thwart these needs undermine both of these growth-related organismic propensities.
With its concept of basic psychological needs, SDT also differentiates the types of life aspirations that people pursue. These distinctions represent another way in which SDT has advanced aspects of Maslow’s theory. Specifically, SDT differentiates intrinsic aspirations from extrinsic aspirations (Kasser & Ryan, 1996).
The contents of intrinsic aspirations afford direct satisfaction of autonomy, competence, and relatedness and are typically exemplified by goals for developing meaningful relationships, personal growth, and making community contributions. The contents of extrinsic aspirations, on the other hand, do not afford direct satisfaction of psychological needs, aim to obtain external validation from others, and are typically exemplified by goals for money, social recognition, and having an attractive appearance.
Recall Maslow’s finding that self-actualizers prioritize their personal growth and self-determination over prestige and status. Consistent with this idea, research within SDT has shown that both the relative importance and attainment of intrinsic aspirations are predictive of a variety of positive outcomes. These findings offer a new kind of support for the premise that growth needs enhance psychological wellness.
The needs posited by SDT are well aligned with Maslow’s concept of growth needs because, rather than operating on the principle of drive reduction, their fulfillment energizes optimal psychological functioning and healthy personality development. Another similarity between SDT and Maslow’s theory is that both maintain the universality of psychological needs, a premise for which SDT researchers have amassed much empirical support.
However, there are also marked differences between these two perspectives. One particularly salient difference is that whereas SDT specifies the importance of psychological needs across all developmental epochs and levels of personality functioning, Maslow’s growth needs are only relevant to those who have ascended to the top of his developmental hierarchy. Another important difference is that whereas SDT distinguishes needs from desires, and accordingly maintains that autonomy, competence, and relatedness are important for healthy and effective functioning regardless of individual differences in people’s desire for need fulfillment, Maslow used the terms “need” and “desire” interchangeably."
Stefano I. Di Domenico1 & Richard M. Ryan (2017): Growth needs. In: Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, Editors: V. Zeigler-Hill & T. Shackelford. New York: Springer.