The Motivational Complexity of Choosing: A Review of Theory and Research

Erika A. Patall

in The Oxford Handbook of Human Motivation

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195399820
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The Motivational Complexity of Choosing: A Review of Theory and Research

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  • Psychology
  • Social Psychology
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Years of research have implicated a complex set of motivational causes and consequences of choice. Psychological theory has often prescribed the benefits of choosing, though limitations to this view of choice as being ubiquitously positive are apparent. In this chapter, the relation between choice and motivation is examined. Conceptualizations of choice as both an outcome of motivation and a motivational experience are described. The benefits and determinants of receiving and perceiving choice for motivation are then discussed according to various psychological theories. Next, the complex and often contradictory findings regarding the relation between choice and motivation are discussed in light of various factors (e.g., characteristics of choices, persons, and situations) that may influence those effects. Issues that have yet to be adequately addressed in the research on choice effects and the directions that future research might take are briefly discussed.

Keywords: provision of choice; perceived choice; decision making; autonomy; motivation

Article.  25719 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Neuropsychology

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