Skip to main content


Faculty photo

Edward L. Deci

  • Professor of Psychology

PhD, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1970

429 Meliora Hall
(585) 275-2461

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

Prof. Deci will not be accepting applications for graduate students for the 2017-18 academic year.

Professor Deci is interested in human motivation, particularly the nature and development of self-determination.

I examine a variety of issues in human motivation, isolating basic processes and testing their application to education, health care, parenting, mental health, and work organizations in the US and across cultures. Using both laboratory and field methods, my work focuses primarily on the nature and development of self-determination. For more detail, please see the Self-Determination Theory website.

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • CSP 552  Human Motivation and Emotion
  • CSP 553  Introduction to Social Psychology and Personality
  • CSP 589  Training Group in Gestalt Therapy

Selected Publications

  • Weinstein, N., Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2011). Motivational determinants of integrating positive and negative past identities. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 527-544.
  • Moller, A.C., Deci, E.L., & Elliot, A.J. (2010). Person-level relatedness and the incremental value of relating. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 754-767.
  • Roth, G., Assor, A., Niemiec, C.P., Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2009). The emotional and academic consequences of parental conditional regard: Comparing conditional positive regard, conditional negative regard, and autonomy support as parenting practices. Developmental Psychology, 45, 1119-1142.
  • Niemiec, C.P., Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2009). The path taken: consequences of attaining intrinsic and extrinsic aspirations in post-college life. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 291-306.
  • Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2008). A self-determination theory approach to psychotherapy: The motivational basis for effective change. Canadian Psychology, 49, 186-193.
  • Ryan, R.M., Huta, V., & Deci, E.L. (2008). Living well: A self-determination theory perspective on eudaimonia. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 139-170.
  • Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2008). Facilitating optimal motivation and psychological well-being across life's domains. Canadian Psychology, 49, 14-23.
  • Deci, E.L., La Guardia, J.G., Moller, A.C., Scheiner, M.J., & Ryan, R.M. (2006).  On the benefits of giving as well as receiving autonomy support:  Mutuality in close friendships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 313-327.
  • Moller, A.C., Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2006). Choice and ego-depletion: The moderating role of autonomy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 1024-1036.
  • Ryan, R.M., & Deci, E.L. (2006). Self-Regulation and the problem of human autonomy: Does psychology need choice, self-determination, and will? Journal of Personality, 74, 1557-1585.
  • Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M. (2000). The"what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268.