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Self-determination of babies



Watching a little person grow is fantastically emotionally rewarding...and educational.

At just 4 months little baby Jarrah is doing a great job validating Self-Determination Theory. That's the theory of motivation that says we're motivated to do things that increase our:

a) autonomy (seeing our actions arise from personal choices rather than outside control);

b) competence (being able to control our environment so we get predictable outcomes); and

c) relatedness (authentic participation in our social world).

The easiest way to measure motivation is to observe the time we freely invest in a given activity without getting bored or distracted.

Here's the evidence:

Baby Jarrah's time to boredom or freak-out:

- playing on the baby bouncer (see pic)= 35 minutes [= autonomy and competence]

- playing with mum or dad = no limit [= relatedness]

- interacting with toys = 3 mins [= none of the above, they're just dumb toys]


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