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Key Terms and Definitions

30 December, 2015 - 10:26
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Attribution : beliefs or perceptions about the causes of success and failure.

Autonomy : the psychological need to feel free of external constraints on behavior, to feel empowered.

Competence : the psychological need to feel capable or skilled.

Extinction : the tendency for learned behaviors to become less likely to continue when reinforcement no longer occurs.

Extrinsic motivation : the drive to act based on factors external to the person (e.g., a promise of reward, potential recognition, the threat of punishment).

Intrinsic motivation : the drive to act based on factors internal to the person (e.g., being interested in the task, feeling optimally challenged, personally valuing the task).

Mastery goals : reasons for engaging in an action that involve self-improvement (e.g., studying hard in order to learn as much as you can).

Operant conditioning : changing the odds of a behavior recurring. According to behavioral theory, behavior can be strengthened (more likely to recur) by reinforcements, such as rewards, praise, or removing an unpleasant condition; behavior can be weakened (less likely to recur) by punishment, such as withdrawal of approval or adding an unpleasant condition.

Performance goals : reasons for engaging in an action that involve demonstrating competence (e.g., studying hard in order to show others that you are smart).

Performance-avoidance goals : reasons for engaging in an action that involve not demonstrating incompetence.

Persistence : to continue despite difficulty or obstacles.

Personal interest : an interest that is relatively stable (more enduring than situational interest) and due to factors within the person. Examples of personal interest include being drawn to write an essay because it's related to a hobby of yours, and studying the music of a historical era because you play the piano.

Relatedness : the psychological need to belong, to feel connected or involved with others.

Self-determination : free choice of one's own acts or states without external coercion.

Self-efficacy : an individual's belief that he/she is capable of carrying out a specific task or of reaching a specific goal.

Self-handicapping : occurs in evaluative situations in which the person does not believe she will succeed; it is thought to enable the person to blame failure on factors other than his own ability.

Self-regulation : the development of a set of adaptive behaviors that positively affect one's learning or behavior. Examples of self-regulated learning strategies include periodically stopping myself during reading to check if I understood what I just read, organizing my workspace so I have everything I need to complete the task, and rewarding myself for accomplishing steps in a project.

Situational interest : an interest that is temporarily triggered by features of the immediate situation. Examples of situational interest include being drawn to a powerpoint presentation by the animation and bright colors, enjoying working on an assignment because you can work with a partner.

Vicarious : performed by one person to the benefit of another. Vicarious learning involves being able to learn from watching someone else do the task.