First Advisor

Pugh, Kevin

First Committee Member

Bergstrom, Cassendra

Second Committee Member

Paek, Suehyeon

Third Committee Member

Harding, Jenni

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Document Type


Date Created



College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Psychological Sciences, SPS Student Work


Alardhi, Yousef T Dh Kh T. The relationship between basic psychological needs, novelty, and transformative experience: A cross-cultural study. Published Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 2024. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) categorizes motivation into two different types: intrinsic and extrinsic (Ryan & Deci, 2000a, 2017). Intrinsic motivation refers to engagement in learning activities for personal meaning and satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2017). According to SDT, in order for individuals to be intrinsically motivated, their basic psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence should be satisfied. Additionally, previous research has shown that satisfaction of basic psychological needs not only supports intrinsic motivation but also many positive educational outcomes. According to Pugh (2011), students undergo transformative experiences (TE) when they actively apply curricular concepts to their everyday lives, thereby gaining a new perspective on the world and see some aspects of the world through the lens of knowledge. Since both intrinsic motivation and TE share self-directed action, there seems to be a connection between these two constructs. Additionally, since satisfying individuals' basic psychological needs is important for their intrinsic motivation, it might also be important for TE. Limited research has been conducted on the factors that influence transformative experiences (TE) (Pugh et al., 2023). One fruitful area of research involves examining the predictive relationship between basic psychological needs, intrinsic motivation, and TE. Vansteenkiste et al. (2020) proposed a framework of criteria to be met for a construct to be validated as a basic psychological need. These criteria include the need being essential and universal. This research aimed to examine the relationships between basic psychological needs, novelty, and intrinsic motivation as potential predictors of TE. Additionally, the dissertation aimed to build upon the research conducted by Alardhi and Pugh (2023), shedding light on how basic psychological needs may explain TE through the potential mediating role of intrinsic motivation. Another objective was to assess whether novelty meets some of the criteria for being considered a new basic psychological need, particularly, the essentiality and universality criteria. Moreover, the study was conducted cross-culturally to determine whether these predictive relationships remain invariant across different populations. The results showed that all the basic psychological needs as well as novelty had direct effects on TE. However, there were no indirect effects through intrinsic motivation. Additionally, all these results remained invariant across the two groups. Results are discussed in further detail within the dissertation.

Abstract Format



Educational Psychology


108 pages

Local Identifiers


Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.