Keynote Speakers

Avi Assor

"The tripartite structure of the meta-need for autonomy"
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Avi Assor is Professor Emeritus of Educational and School Psychology at Ben Gurion University (BGU), Israel. His research focuses on socializing processes affecting children's autonomous internalization of values and autonomous motivation. Within this general domain, he focuses on the harms of conditional parental regard, and the benefits of teachers' and parents' support for youth development of values, interests and goals, providing an experience of having an authentic inner compass. Recently, he has been focusing on the benefits of the needs for freedom and authentic inner compass as two essential components of the meta-need for autonomy. Other recent projects involve the development of a model of socio-emotional learning based on SDT, and the development of a video- and simulation- based program to enhance educators’ capacity to support students’ basic needs and autonomous value internalization. He has published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and the Journal of Educational Psychology. He is on the editorial board of the journal of Motivation and Emotion.

Emma Bradshaw

"Aspiring, Acquiring, and Retiring: What We Know and Where We Could Go with Goal Content Theory Research"
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Emma L. Bradshaw, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Positive Psychology & Education at the Australian Catholic University. Dr. Bradshaw's research employs both traditional and cutting-edge statistical methodologies to explore various aspects of self-determination theory, with a special focus on goal contents theory. Her work in this field has shed light on the role of intrinsic and extrinsic goals in wellbeing and the social, contextual, and psychological conditions that promote positive values and the origins of striving to do good in the world. Emma was awarded the Dennis McInerney SELF PhD Award 2022 and nominated for ACU Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence During Doctoral Studies. She is also a Review Editor at Frontiers in Psychology and Goals and Values Editor for the Centre for Self-Determination Theory. 

Kirk Warren Brown

"Mindfulness: An Inner Resource to Support Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction""
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Kirk Warren Brown is a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and is affiliate faculty in Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. His research centers on the importance of awareness of internal states and behavior to healthy human functioning, with a particular interest in the nature of mindfulness and the value of mindfulness training to enhance emotion regulation, self-regulation, and well-being. He has authored numerous scholarly articles on these topics and published the Handbook of Mindfulness: Theory, Research, and Practice (2015) and the Oxford Handbook of Hypo-egoic Phenomena(2016). His work has been featured in a range of national and international media outlets. Dr. Brown is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Social and Personality Psychology, and the American Psychological Association. He also teaches the evidence-based Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program.

Rafael Calvo

"Psychological Needs and Values: Tensions in Design Engineering"
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Rafael A. Calvo is Professor and Director of Research at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London. He is also co-lead at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and co-editor of the IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society. He is director of the Wellbeing Technology  Lab that focuses on the design of systems that support wellbeing in areas of mental health, medicine and education. He is a keen player in the push for more ethical technology design, and is the recipient of five teaching awards, and published four books and over 200 articles in the fields of HCI, wellbeing-supportive design, learning technologies, affective computing, and computational intelligence.

Sebastiano Costa

"A review of the SDT's studies about the antecedents of parental psychological control"
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Sebastiano Costa is an Associate Professor in Developmental and Educational Psychology at the University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" (Caserta, Italy). His research interests focus on the emotional and motivational aspects underlying the relation between contextual factors and psychological outcomes across the life-span. He is particularly fascinated with the processes and dynamics (i.e., antecedents and mediators) involved in several settings and contexts (school, family, etc.). Specifically, he has shown remarkable interest in parenting and parental practices, using self-determination theory as a theoretical framework.

Susan Fowler

"Fulfilling the Promise of SDT: A Journey from Theory to Practical Application"
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Susan Fowler is the CEO and founder of Mojo Moments and an adjunct professor in the master of science in executive leadership at the University of San Diego. The author of seven books including Self Leadership and The One Minute Manager with Ken Blanchard and Master Your Motivation. Her bestselling, Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work…and What Does, was translated into 14 languages, with the second edition released on May 16, 2023.

Marylène Gagne

"How and why does algorithmic management influence gig-worker motivation?"
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Marylène Gagné is John Curtin Distinguished Professor at the Future of Work Institute at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. Marylène's research examines how organisations, through their structures, cultures, rewards, tasks, and management, affect people’s motivational orientations towards their work, including volunteer work, and how quality of motivation influences performance and well-being in the workplace. She is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. She is currently associate editor at Motivation and Emotion.

Leen Haerens

"Challenging the Beliefs Driving A Controlling Style in Coaching and Education: What the Research Reveals"
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Prof. Leen Haerens leads the research group in Sports Pedagogy at Ghent University, Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Guided by Self-Determination Theory, her mission is to generate new knowledge and practical insights that enable children, youth and adults to develop, learn and perform in a safe and motivating (movement) context. Through her work, she has generated several paradigm-shifting insights regarding the (de-)motivating style of physical education teachers and sport coaches. Innovative aspects of her work include the use of video-based vignettes in experimental designs, the development of observational measures of (de-)motivating styles through observations, and the use of profile analyses to gain more refined insights into teachers’ and coaches’ styles. Prof. Leen Haerens also has tremendous expertise with developing and testing interventions to train teachers, coaches and managers to adopt a more motivating style and to promote physical activity and sport participation in the population. During the past years, she has published over 140 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts in this area of research.

Josh Howard

"What we’ve learnt from meta-analysis of SDT regulation types and how we can build a perpetually updating meta-analysis of our entire field"
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Josh Howard is a senior lecturer at Monash University in the Department of Management. His work has focused on distinguishing and examining various types of motivation through the application of measurement modelling, latent profile analysis, and meta-analysis. He is also interested in the impacts of financial incentives, guaranteed basic income, and leadership. 

Mireille Joussemet

"Why and How to support autonomy when it’s difficult to do so (and matters the most)"
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Mireille Joussemet (who you can call MJ) is an associate professor at the University of Montreal where she co-leads the How-to Project, which evaluates the parenting program How to talk so kids will listen & how to listen so kids will talk (Faber & Mazlish, 1980). She discovered SDT at McGill, where she conducted research under Richard Koestner’s supervision and obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Her research efforts focus on children’s need for autonomy as well as on how adults (especially parents) can meet this need and facilitate their development and psychological health.

Idit Katz

"When choice motivates and when it does not: Research on choice, autonomy, and well-being."
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Idit Katz (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor at the School of Education at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. She heads the Educational Psychology and Counseling MA program. Her research mainly focuses on the antecedents and outcomes of teachers' parents' and students' motivation. 

Lisa Legault

"Self-Determination and Public Messaging: Brief Autonomy Supportive Communications are Effective across Life Domains"
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Lisa Legault is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Clarkson University. Her research examines the role of motivation in positive social behavior, including prejudice reduction and proenvironmental behavior. She is Executive Editor of the Journal of Social Psychology.

Genevieve Mageau

"Autonomy support across domains of socialization"
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Geneviève is a professor at the University of Montreal in Canada and co-leader of the How-to Project, which evaluates the parenting program How to talk so kids will listen & how to listen so kids will talk. She obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Quebec at Montreal, where she conducted motivational research with Prof. Robert J. Vallerand. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship on socialization at McGill University with Prof. Richard Koestner. Her recent work focuses on the definition, determinants and outcomes of autonomy support in hierarchical relationships (mainly parent-child interactions), with an emphasis on the interplay of autonomy support and structure across domains of socialization.

Frank Martela

"Psychological needs at the core of national well-being: The why, how, and what of doing SDT research on national and political level"
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Frank Martela, PhD, is a University Lecturer at Aalto University, specialized in basic psychological needs, meaning in life, well-being, and how these can be supported in work life. He has two Ph.D.’s from organizational research (2012 Aalto University) and moral philosophy (2019 University of Helsinki). His scientific publications have appeared in journals such as Perspectives on Psychological Science, Nature Human Behaviour, Journal of Personality, Academy of Management Review and Southern Journal of Philosophy. He has written for Scientific American Mind, CNBC, and Harvard Business Review, and his book A Wonderful Life – Insights on Finding a Meaningful Experience (HarperCollins 2020) has been translated to 29 languages.

Nikos Ntoumanis

"Antecedents of Need Supportive and Need Thwarting Interpersonal Styles: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
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Nikos is a Professor of Motivation Science at the University of Southern Denmark, where he co-direct the Danish Centre for Motivation and Behaviour Science (DRIVEN). His research focuses on factors that optimise motivation and promote optimal performance, psychological well-being, and health-conducive behaviours. He has used SDT in his research for over 20 years and has presented at all SDT Conferences but the first one.

Johnmarshall Reeve

"What Happens When Your Child Has a Highly Autonomy-Supportive Teacher?"
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Johnmarshall Reeve is a Professor in the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney, Australia. His research focuses mostly on autonomy-supportive teaching, students’ agentic engagement, and the neuroscience of intrinsic motivation. Information and resources are available at

Scott Rigby

"Deconstructing the Experience of Growth: Autonomy, Competence, and the Hero’s Journey"
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Scott is founder/CEO of Immersyve and motivationWorks, focusing on the application of SDT to organizations, products, and services. Scott works with companies on culture and the development of motivational best practices, with an interest in the predictive measurement of motivation and engagement alongside practical interventions to improve organizational culture. Scott pioneered and has authored numerous publications on the application of SDT to business and technology, including Glued to Games: How Video Games Draw Us In and Hold Us Spellbound. Scott is the co-creator of the “Player Experience of Need Satisfaction” (PENS) model, a widely-used engagement model in game design.

Guy Roth

"Learning to fail but not failing to learn: Emotion Regulation and Learning from Academic Failures"
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Guy Roth is an associate professor at the School of Education, Ben-Gurion University, where he focuses on the definition and implications of adaptive versus maladaptive emotion regulation. He is particularly interested in the consequences of defensively suppressing emotions versus integrative emotion regulation, where one takes an autonomous interest in negative emotions. He examines various domains, including relationships, mental well-being, and learning from failures.

Kennon Sheldon

"Freely determined: An SDT perspective."
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Kennon Sheldon is a Curator’s Professor of Psychological Science at the University of Missouri.  He has been involved in SDT research since his NIMH post-doctoral fellow days at Rochester, starting in 1992.  His research focuses on personal goals, self-concordance, and goals’ effects on happiness and well-being.

Bart Soenens

"What Do we Mean in SDT when We Say that People Are Pro-active and Resilient By"
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Bart Soenens is a full professor at Ghent University (Belgiumà, Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology. His main research focus is on parent-child relationships and on the complex ways in which parenting style affects children’s and adolescents’ psychosocial development. He has relied strongly on SDT to add conceptual precision and clarity to developmental research on parenting. His research has focused not only on the positive contribution of need-supportive parenting to developmental assets (such as healthy identity development and adaptive emotion regulation) but also on the developmental risks (such as internalizing distress and behavioral problems) associated with need-thwarting parenting, and psychologically controlling parenting in particular. This research on parenting from the SDT perspective is diverse both in terms of methodology (relying on longitudinal research, diary studies, observational research, qualitative studies with in-depth interviews, and experimental designs) and in terms of the populations studied, including different age groups (ranging from toddlers, over elementary school children and adolescents, to emerging adults) and sampling not only children from the general population but also children with developmental disabilities, adolescents at risk for developmental problems (e.g., referred youth and adolescents with eating disorders), as well as parents of children from such at-risk populations (e.g., parents of children with autism spectrum disorder).

Robert Vallerand

"The Role of Passion in Psychological Resilience"
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Professor Robert J. Vallerand is Full Professor of Psychology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Motivational Processes and Optimal Functioning, and Director of the Research Laboratory on Social Behavior. He has published 12 books and monographs and over 400 scientific articles and chapters. He has served as President of the Canadian Psychological Association and the International Positive Psychology Association. He has supervised a number of students, including 25 who are now university professors worldwide. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, The Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and others. He has received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity, the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal Award from the International Positive Psychology Association, the William James Award from the American Psychological Association for his 2015 book, The Psychology of Passion and others. Bob has been involved in SDT from its beginning. His current research focuses on the role of passion in optimal functioning.

Jolene Van der Kaap-Deeder

"What about Positive Emotions within Self-Determination Theory? Highlighting the Role of Positive Emotions in Flourishing and Introducing the Concept of Emotion Crafting"
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Jolene van der Kaap-Deeder works as an associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Much of her research has been dedicated to examining how the social context (e.g., parents) can foster or thwart individuals’ basic psychological needs as stated within the Self-Determination Theory and how this relates to, for instance, individuals’ emotion regulation, well-being, and motivation. Recently, she has focused especially on the proactive role individuals play in shaping their emotional experiences.

Maarten Vansteenkiste

"What Do we Mean in SDT when We Say that People Are Pro-active and Resilient By Nature?"
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Maarten Vansteenkiste is since 2014 a full professor in the Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology. Since his research internship at the University of Rochester (1999-2000), collaborating with Prof. Dr. Ryan and Prof. Deci, the founding fathers of Self-Determination Theory (SDT), he has substantially contributed to the extension, refinement, application and dissemination of this framework. His work addresses topics, such as the study of motivational profiles, individuals' multiple reasons for lacking motivation, the interface between psychological and physiological needs, the notion of need crafting and the development of a circumplex model on (de)motivating socialization. In terms of societal impact, the publication of a Dutch handbook entitled ‘Vitamins for growth’ (Vansteenkiste & Soenens, 2015) was particularly impactful in Flanders and the Netherlands. He played a critical role during the COVID-19 crisis as the only psychologist of a key scientific advisory committee to aid policy makers in developing an evidence-based policy. To this end, he led a consortium of scholars who tracked diverse aspects of individuals’ psychological functioning (motivation, well-being, vaccination) across 2,5 years during the pandemic (see

Netta Weinstein

"Listening, understanding, and autonomy during life’s important conversations"
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Netta Weinstein is a Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Reading and Research Associate at the University of Oxford. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester (2010). She studies the bi-directional links between interpersonal exchanges and human motivation, with a particular focus on interpersonal support for autonomous functioning, self-expression, and self-connection.