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15 Private Speech and Motivation: The Role

of Language in a Sociocultural Account
of Motivational Processes
David J. Atencio and Ignacio Montero

Inspired by Vygolskian theory, a large number of stud- that is played by private speech. We explore thi.s aspect
ies have emerged in the past 4 decades investigating the of verbally mediated self-regulatory development in this
mediation of sell-regulation through children's use of pri- chapter by carefully considering the conative and affective
vate speech (Berk, 1992; Winsler, Chapter 1 of t h i s volume; aspects of language in the mediation of higher psycholog-
/ivin, 1979). It is now widely accepted t h a t children use ical processes. We believe that private speech mediates
private speech as a tool tor thinking and as a metacog- motivational and metamotivational processes in addition
nilive mediator ol self-regulatoiT function (Winsler, Dia/, to being a tool that mediates cognitive and melacognilive
& Montero. 1997; Winsler & Naglieri, 2003). W i t h i n the processes. It is the conative and a f f e c t i v e aspects of private
Vygolskian tradition, it is assumed that private speech rep- speech that f u n c t i o n in the development of young chil-
resents children's capacity to verbally mediate their own dren's increasing self-awareness (Morin, 1993; Morin &
thoughts and actions and thai this capacity is social in Everett, 1990), identity formation (Pcnuel & Wertsch,
origin (Berk & Spuhl, 1995; Berk <fe Winsler, 199.5). Chil- 1995), voluntary control of their actions (Berk, 1992), and
dren essentially appropriate the capacity (o collaborate capacity to motivate a course of action toward goal attain-
with themselves from the collaborations they have had ment (Atencio, 2003; Chin & Alexander, 2000; de Dins &
with others. Therefore, we now understand thai private Montero, 2003; Montero & Iluertas. 1999).
speech is speech for self that mediates the development of The second important idea from Vygotsky that forms
higher psychological processes (Wcrtsch & Stone, 1985). OUT-conceptual framework is (he intimation that dialogues
The focus of this chapter is to build on this consensus to self are the basis for forming our motives. Vygot-
in the field and extend the discussion regarding private sky believed that one of the end stales of verbally medi-
speech mediation into the more amative and motivational ated sell-regulation was the formulation of motivation
aspects ol self-regulation. This discussion is based on two (Vygolsky, 1934/1987). Self-rcgulatoiy capacity encom-
subtle, yet important, ideas found within Vygotsky's the- passes more than cognitive and metacognitive processes.
ory. The first notion embedded in his writings warns us This capacity includes the propensity to motivate a course
that in order to truly understand the manner in which of action from w i t h i n and the capacity to enact affective
private speech mediates self-regulatory- development, we processes tor remaining vigilant toward some goal. It is
must understand self-regulation as a union of intellectual our contention that private speech mediates the devel-
and affective development. In his words: opment of these motivational processes t h a t are encom-
passed in sell-regulalory capacity and that are originated
Among the most basic defects of traditional approaches to in dialogic interaction with others (Smimova, 1987).
the study nt psychology has been the isolation of the intel- We begin by extending the conceptual framework ol ver-
lectual from the volitional and affective aspects of conscious- bal mediation given to us by sociocultural theory lo the
ness . . . t h i n k i n g was divorced from (he full v i t a l i t y of l i f e ,
from the motives, interests, and inclinations of the thinking field ol motivation. We then continue with an analysis of
individual (Vygolsky, 1934/1987, p. 50). motivational theories that focus on higher human psycho-
logical functioning and discuss the mediational role lhat is
Vygotsky argues that in order to understand the played by verbal processes implicit in these theories. We
ontogeny of consciousness, we must understand how our then carefully review the small literature lo date on pri-
motives, inclinations, and interests are formed (Vygot- vate speech and motivation, emphasi/ing its role as a tool
sky, 1934/1987). In order lo understand the development for mediation of motivational elements and processes. We
of volition and the emergence of motivational processes, conclude our chapter by laying out a set of priorities for
a t t e n t i o n must be paid to bolli cognitive arid a f f e c t i v e f u t u r e research in t h i s area within a general framework
developmenl when understanding the mediations! role anchored in a sociocullural account of motivation.

A VYGOTSKIAN PERSPECTIVE ON MOTIVATION have been published t h a i focus on the ontogeny of motiva-
tion (e.g., Nicholls, 1990; Stipek, 1984; W i g f i e l d L-ecles,
Werlsch ( 1 9 9 1 ) summarized the theoretical f o u i K l a t i n n s
2001). In t h i s tradition, changes obseiTed in the configu-
ol the work of L. S. Vygolsky (1896-19.14) in three points:
ration of certain motivational processes t h r o u g h o u t devel-
(a) the notio n t h a t higher- m e n t a l functions derive from
opment have been identified and described.
social l i f e ; ( h ) a reliance on genetic analysis of such func-
However f r o m a Vvgotskian perspective, a genetic anal-
t i o n s ; and (e) th e emphasis of medialional means in the
ysis allows us lo e x a m i n e developmental change even f u r -
development ol higher psychological functions. This foun-
ther, ll first allows for t he analvsis of th e history of"species
d a t i o n .serves as a basis lor presenting a Vygotskian per-
(i.e., does a concrete motivational process appeal' in other
spective, on motivation.
species as well as in humans?). Second, t h i s type of anal-
ysis also provides theoretical relevance lo t h e history of
Social origins cultures (i.e., arc there c u l t u r a l antecedents that signal
current m o t i v a t i o n a l processes?). A genetic analysis also
The theoretical extension t h a t may be made to the field of" provides a theoretical integration lor a n a l v / i n g the his-
h u m a n motivation in general, and academic motivation in tory ol social groups (i.e., what interactive processes exist
particular, is to postulate the social origin of human moti- collectively t h a t give rise to motivational processes?) as
vational processes. Different research traditions separate much as ilie historv of individuals (i.e.. can acquisition
basic motives from social motives (e.g., see Maslow, 1970; and change ol motivational process be obsei-ved in devel-
McClelland, 1985; Murray, 1938). Depending on one's epis- opment?). Finally, a Vygotskian genetic analvsis provides
lemological approach, this may imply a radical dualism the necessary conceptual framework f o r a developmen-
or simply a laying out ol d i f f e r e n t areas of investigation tal and contextual account of motivation (see McCaslin &
w i t h i n a conceptual framework. However, the Vygotskian Murdock, 1991; Monlero& Huertas, 1999; Paris & Turner,
perspective holds that culture "revolutionizes" biology as a 1994; Rucda & Dembo, 1995; Rueda & Moll, 1994; Sivan,
means of t r a n s m i t t i n g species' characteristics. Therefore, 1986).
it is possible to Iwpolhesi/e t h a t both primary motiva- Similarly, one can argue t h a t the entire h u m an moti-
tions and social motives experienced by humans derive vational system has been built throughout huma n phvlo-
from culture's i n f l u e n c e on biology. Thus, certain types gcnetic and sociogenetic development. This genetic pro-
of motivation originate from the fact that our species is cess is evidenced in the ontogeny of the i n d i v i d u a l . A baby
a social one (e.g., power, a f f i l i a t i o n , and achievement; see begins to f u n c t i o n w i l h honieostalic motivational systems,
McClelland, 1985). In much the same way, social practices the equilibriu m oi whic h depends on the social environ-
make primary human motivations, such as seeking loocl or ment (Kopp, 1982). As the child develops along physical,
reproduction, clearly different from those in other species social, and i n t e l l e c t u al pathways, motivational processes
because they are channeled and mediated through a series become functionally organi/ed through a dialectical rela-
of social processes and i n s t i t u t i o n s. tionship between the child's will and contextual forces in
Many perspectives on motivation emphasize the impor- his or her environment (e.g., parental control, physical bar-
t a n t role of context and social interaction (Deci & Ryan. riers, task difficulty; Bullock, 1991). The f i n a l step, from
1985; Paris & Turner, 1994; Rucda & Moll, 1994; Sivan, the perspective of the f u n c t i o n a l organization of motiva-
1986). However, from a Vygotskian perspective, the roles tional systems, is the transition Irom external regulation to
ol context and social interaction are specified as develop- self-regulation (Atencio, 2003; Bandura, 1991; Montero
m e n t a l antecedents lo h u m a n m o t i v a t i o n . A rephrasing ol Huertas, 1999). With regard to cognitive processes and cer-
Vygotsky's ( 1 9 8 1 ) general genetic law ol cultural develop- tain motor processes, there are clear' indications that the
ment would stale that all specifically human motivation first steps in this self-regulatory process appear simultane-
appears twice, first on the plane of social activity, that ously with th e internalization of language (Diaz & Berk,
is, as an interpsvchologieal process, then, with develop- 1992; Vygotsky, 1934/1987). This co-occurrence, in turn,
ment, on the individual plane or as an intrapsychological is directly related to t he third theme in Vygolskian theory
process. Through an internalizalio n process, individuals outlined by Wc-rtsch (1991).
form ( h e i r ' own motivation out of interpersonally medi-
ated motivations t h a t energize, direct, and f u e l socially
shared actions. Language and dialogical mediation

E x t e n d i n g th e V'\golskian perspective to the study ol

h u m a n motivation is based on the assumption that the
Genetic analyses internalization of language becomes a tool for the trans-
The second theme ol' Vygotskian theory is a reliance on mission of motivational processes in much the same way
genetic analysis. In laving out a Vygotskian perspective that such inlernalization of language 1 unctions as a tool lor
of human motivation, it is essential lo understand human the transmission of cognitive processes. The third theme
m o t i v a t i o n not only as social in origin but also as being central to Vygotsky's theory and most relevant tor a Vvgot-
based on emerging processes. Many studies in the West skian account ol m o t i v a t i o n is the notion t h a t all higher

psychological functions are mediated by tools and signs of the personality" (Vygotsky, 1929/1989, p. 56). In a more
embedded in the socioculturai context of ontogeny. Vygot- general sense, socioculturai theory (e.g., Bakhtin, 1981,
sky (1978, 1981} suggested that tool and sign use for 1986; El'Konin, 1972; Sokolov, 1968/1972; Voloshinov,
psychological activity (e.g., use of a memory mnemonic) 1929/1973; Vygotsky, 1934/1987; Wertsch, 1979a, 1979b,
are the means by which higher psychological processes 1980, 1991) sets forth the idea that dialogue functions
are tormed within the individual. Signs and tools serve in mediating our awareness of ourselves. Vygotsky (1934/
as a means for the development of self-regulation (Dia/, 1987) more specifically argued that dialogue functions in
Neal, & Amaya-Williams, 1990). Vygotsky (1978) outlined this manner both overtly and covertly in the form of inner
the concept of sign and tool and their logical 1 unction speech. He believed that inner speech continues the social
of mediating human activity. One distinction to be made dialogue we experience in our social activities; it consti-
between the two is in how they orient activity. A tool's tutes the social formation of mind and, therefore, the basis
function is to serve as the conductor of human influence for one's capacity to plan, direct, organize, and motivate
on the object of activity. The tool is therefore externally ori- one's own courses of action (Wertsch, 1977, 1979a, 1 979b,
ented and leads to changes in objects. The tool becomes the 1980, 1981).
means by which human action masters nature (Vygolsky, Furthermore, Bakhtin (1981, 1986; Voloshinov, 19291
1978). On the other hand, the sign is a means of internal 1973) believed that all thought, meaning, and existence
human activity and subsequently changes nothing in the enter into a dialogic relation with others. Monologue, in
object of a psychological operation. The sign is a means his view, does not exist. What appears to be monologic
of mastering oneself; thus, the sign is internally oriented. activity is in (act a dialogic process. Bakhtin believed that
One central use of these mediational means is elaborated monologue relerred to any discourse that seeks to deny the
in Vygotsky's theory of thought and language (Vygolsky, dialogic nature of existence (Morris, 1994). Later interpre-
1934/1987). The use of language as a means ol mediating tations ot Vygotsky's theory view speech activity as inher-
psychological functioning is central to his theory. Vygot- ently dialogic in both its external and internal manifesta-
sky (1978) argued: "The most significant moment in the tions for others and for self, respectively (Cheyne &Tarulli,
course of intellectual development, which gives birth to 1999;Ko7iilin, 1 990; Rad/.ikhovskii, 1991; Werlsch, 1980).
the purely human forms of practical and abstract intel- The basis of intrapersonal communication, that is, the
ligence, occurs when speech and practical activity, two basis of our inner speech, is its dialogic nature. Although
previously completely independent lines of development, Vygotsky's original writings conflict as to whether he
converge" (p. 24). believed dialogue to exist only between individuals, he
Through the use of speech, the child is now able to auto- did explicitly argue that inner speech is indeed a "unique
nomously master a wide variety of tasks. Speech becomes form of internal collaboration with oneself" (Vygotsky,
a tool of thought that provides a means of planning, orga- 1934/1987, p. 273). Inner speech is dialogue with the self.
nizing, and directing one's actions. Thus, through the use In development, inner speech is transformed from the
of speech, the self-system acquires its volitional dimen- external plane to the internal plane (Vygotsky, 1934/1987).
sion. That is, the use of speech becomes a means by which Private speech, therefore, constitutes the overt manifesta-
the self mediates self-system processes. Specifically, the tion of one's dialogue with the self.
socioculturai approach argues that speech becomes the Self-talk, intrapcrsonalfy administered feedback, ego-
vehicle by which the self communicates with the self, centric speech, self statements, attributions, inner dia-
that is, following Vygolsky: the self appropriates capac- logue, and intrapersonal verbal mediation are all terms
ities that were previously available interpsychologically. that have been used in various cognitive and motiva-
The self-system uses speech to sell-evaluate, self-affirm, tional models of development to refer to overt and covert
self-motivate, and self-regulate one's action. forms of private dialogue. In addition, social speech that
It is important to emphasize here the central role is commonly distinguished from private speech in most
Vygotsky placed on the relationship between thought and private speech coding systems (see Winsler, Ferny hough,
speech in the development of the self and its capacity McClaren, & Way, 2005, for extensive review) is essentially
for self-regulation. Vygolsky agreed, in principle, with his a "social dialogue" that is understood as interpersonal
contemporaries in the West, Cooley (1902/1968), Mead communicative speech - that is, speech that is directed to
(1925/1968; 1934), and James (1910/1968), that one's con- another person. It is easier to see the dialogic nature of this
cept of self emanates from one's social experience. In latter form of verbal mediation; this is a dialogue between,
Vygotsky's lecture on the problem of the will and its devel- not within, persons. However, terms such as directive
opment in childhood, he argues that the child's will "is speech, verbal feedback, verbal praise, verbal command,
directly dependent on the child's collective action" (Vygot- verbal persuasion, positive reinforcement, and controlling
sky, 1934/1987, p. 357). Earlier in his theorizing, Vygotsky statements are commonly used in motivational research
argued that "we become ourselves through others The that emphasize the addresser over the addressee in dia-
personality becomes a personality for itself by virtue of logue, Bakhtin (1986) warns that this is consistent with
the fact that it is in itself, through what is previouslv failing to recognize the dialogic nature of communication.
showed to others. This is the process of the development Therefore, there exists no speech activity separate from

dialogue. As Vocate (1994) argues, self-talk or dialogue motivation (e.g., Beck, 2000; Ford, 1992; Franken, 2002;
with self is essentially a dialectic between the individual Reeve, 1996; Weiner, 1992), achievement motivation (e.g.,
and society as embodied by the internalized other. Ferny- Aronson, 2002; Elliot & Dweck, 2005; Wigfield & Eccles,
hough (1996, and Chapter 2 of this volume) argues that 2001), or motivation in education (e.g., Brophy, 2004;
.such seniiotic dialogue is nonhierarchical and not dialecti- Pintrich & Schunk, 2002; Slipek, 2002), verbal media-
cal in nature. In expanding on this position, he views inter- lion of motivational processes, in one way or another, is
nalized mental dialogues as involving "a constant interplay emphasized in most contemporary motivational theories.
between differing, often conflicting perspectives" (Ferny- Implicitly, several motivational theorists postulate verbal
hough, 1996, p. 51). mediation ot motivational processes to some extent (e.g.,
The term "dialogue" in Bakhtin's model emphasizes Bandura, 1986, 1997; Deci & Ryan, 1985; Dweck, 1986;
mediational functioning as taking place in the mutual Harler, 1983; Ryan & Deci, 2000a; Weiner, 1985, 2005).
and continual embeddedness of self and society. Dialogue, Historically, many motivational scholars refer to the
according to Bakhtin, is a special form of interaction. Most Latin root of the word "move" as a starting point for defin-
commonly in verbal forms, it represents the mutual inter- ing motivation (Kolesnick, 1978; Pintrich & Schunk, 2002;
dependence between self and others, the relevance of his- Wigfield & Eccles, 2002). Consequently, we can define mo-
tory to the present, and the implication that "the self shares tivation as "the process whereby goal-directed activity is
no sovereign internal territory" (Bakhtin, 1929/1984, instigated and sustained" (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002, p. 5).
p. 287). Dialogue is understood as the fundamental basis Psychological science has provided us with many accounts
for appropriating our inner voice (Vygotsky, 1934/1987) of how such processes unfold in the course of action. With
and is represented not in single form, but rather in a mul- the advent of the cognitive revolution in psychological sci-
tiplicity of social voices (Wertsch, 1991). Dialogue is a pre- ence during the late 1960s and 1970s, new motivational
cursor and product, a mediator and tool ol sell-system theories emerged. This advent signaled a move from mech-
functioning. The social context in which development anistic models of motivation that emphasized a passive
occurs is filled with dialogues with others that inform indi- or at least reactive organism controlled by internal needs
viduals about themselves; therefore, social dialogues arc a and external consequences of its behavior to a Godlike
precursory and mediational means for the development metaphor of human motivation that viewed humans as
of the .self-system. In motivational theory (Bandura, 1986, capable of actively forming beliefs and self-regulation. In
1997; Deci & Ryan, 1985), dialogues with others are the this organismic view, human propensity for action was
basis by which individuals direct or inhibit their actions now seen as caused by the individual's capacity to regu-
toward goal attainment. late one's life by anticipating results, adjusting personal
Wertsch (1991) has extended both Vygolsky's and and contextual circumstances, and allocating resources
Bakhtin's theories by postulating a manifold of dialogues in order to achieve goals (see Weiner, 1990). Although
that form "voices" by which the mind functions. Similarly, there exist many different general theories of motiva-
Hermans (1996) argues that the self is also anchored in tion (e.g., Franken, 2002; Weiner, 1992), a comprehensive
multiplicity of voices. In Bakhtin's view, dialogue becomes review is beyond the scope of this chapter. However, it
one's own as it is appropriated from dialogue with oth- is important to briefly review theoretical perspectives that
ers, that is, the voice of self is taken from other social we believe postulate verbal mediation in the development
voices. The process by which this occurs is termed "ventril- of motivational processes (see Elliot & Dweck, 2005; Pin-
oquation" (Bakhtin, 1981). Ventriloquation is the means trich & Schunk, 2002; Wigfield & Eccles, 2002, for wider
by which various levels of society exert their influence reviews).
on the developing self. This concept is very relevant for
examining the motivational aspects of private speech. Ven-
Social learning tradition and
triloquation can be understood as a mechanism of moti-
social cognitive theory
vational development. Specifically, ventriloquation may
function as a vehicle for forming our self-understandings The work of Bandura is a clear example of the move-
and subsequently our motivation for activity. In summary, ment from a mechanistic model to a Godlike metaphor
the central tenets of Vygotskian and Bakhtinian theoret- of the human being in motivational theories. From his
ical approaches lay a theoretical foundation for examin- early research on observational learning (Bandura, 1965)
ing motivational development as a process that unfolds to the more recent social cognitive theory of learning
through verbal mediation, social interaction, and inter- and motivation (Bandura, 1997), Bandura's emphasis has
nalization of previously shared functions. shifted from contextual aspects to the intrapersonal vari-
ables that govern human thought and action. More
importantly, Bandura's recent theoretical revisions have
emphasized the importance of one's cognitions or self-
referent thoughts as the basis for agentic processes; there
Although the term "language" does not appear within are no cognitions as influential as one's perceived sell-
the subject indexes of most popular textbooks on human efficacy (Bandura, 2001). His definition of self-efficacy

expectancies is based on I wo aspects: the classic media- basis by which they regulate t h e i r task motivation from
tional role ol I he outcome anticipation - (he expectancy - within.
am! (he personal confidence to achieve it the selt-effieacy Wollers (2003) postulates a conceptual d i s t i n c t i o n
belief (Bandura, 1977). Within the general process ol" between motivation and regulation of m o t i v a t i o n. Wollers
self-regulated learning anil h u m a n agency, self-efficacy argues that m o t i v a t i o n a l regulation can be d i f f e r e n t i a t e d
expectancies are the most powerful explanatory factor of" from motivational processes themselves by the aware-
motivational variables such as goal setting, choice, effort ness and purpose!ulness of students' t h o u g h t s and actions.
expenditure, and task persistence. A VygoLskian perspec- By adopting a Vygotskian approach, spontaneous pri-
tive of motivation focuses on verbal mediation of self- vate speech can be recogni/ed as an i m i t a t o r ol indi-
eflicacy beliefs, goal selling, effon expenditure, and other vidual's attempts to regulate t h e i r own motivation based
motivational variables. on their appraisals (e.g., self-efficacy beliefs), expectancies
Social cognitive theory posits intenlionalilv , fore- (e.g., outcome expectancies), and most importantly, ver-
thought, self-reacliveness, and self-reflectiveness as core bal mediation ol t h e i r awareness and purposeful actions.
components of human agency (Bandura, 2001). In much Private speech f u n c t i o n i n g in t h i s m a n n e r becomes an
the same way as self-efficacy beliefs, these core features important tool for regulating one's m o t i v a t i o n. In order
of agentic processes are understood as verbally medi- lor individuals to regulate their motivation, they m u s t pos-
ated from a Vygotskian perspective- Although this the- sess a conscious understanding of and conscious i n t e n t i o n
ory has been successfully lested in many contexts includ- to alter their motivational processes (Boekaerts, 1992).
ing educatio n {Pajares, 1996; Schunk, 1991; Zimmerman, Private speech mediation ol these cognitive-affective pro-
1989), there is not a clear developmental perspective cesses needs to be explored in order to better understand
despite its general statement about personal histories of the connection between self-efficacy beliefs and adaptive
learning- Bandura's own developmental analysis of sell- learning.
e/'/icacy focuses primarily on the origins of self-referent
thought and the manner in which self-efficacy mediates
Intrinsic motivation
children's conception of tear and arousal, behavioral and
cognitive control, and interest and motivation (Bandura, The construct ol intrinsic m o t i v a t i on focuses on the inher-
1981). Bandura emphasi/es the connection between ent tendency of individuals to seek out novelty and opti-
self-verbali/ations, the cultivation self-inducements (i.e., mal challenge in pursuit of exploration, understanding,
self-reactions such as self-rewards), goal l o r m a t i o n , and and elaboration of one's capacities (Ryan & Deci, 2()00b,
subsequent self-motivation, but does not o u t l i n e the devel- 2000c). The construct first emerged in a n i m a l research
opmental role that verbal mediation plays in motivational and subsequent theoretical perspectives followed. Most
development. accounts of h u m a n intrinsic motivation trace back to
Similarly, Schunk and Zimmerman (1997) offer a sec- Robert White's early work on competence or effeclance
ond developmental analysis from a social cognitive per- motivation ( W h i l e , 1959), For brevity, we l i m i t our discus-
spective. In their analysis of the social origins ol scli- sion to the seminal work of Deci and Rvan (1985, 2002).
regulatoi> competence, an observational phase, i m i t a t i o n W i t h t h e i r collaborators at t h e University of Rochester,
phase, self-control led phase, and self-regulated phase they have spent the past 3 decades elaborating a general
are postulated to outline t h e developmental progression theory of" human motivation and personality development
of self-regulatory competence. Like Bandura, these known as Sell-Determination Theory (SDT) (see Deei &
authors suggest t h a t social dialogues function more in Ryan, 2002; Ryan & Deci, 2000b, 2002, for a discussion
the antecedents of self-regulatory competence, whereas of SDT). SDT is a maerotheory based on an organismic-
self-verbali7.ations that mediate self-efficacy, metacogni- dialeclical assumption. This theory assumes that humans
tion and affect function more in self-regnlaloiy compe- are active organisms, possess a natural propensity toward
tence, that is, the f i n a l phase of development in t h e i r model growth and development, strive toward mastery in the
(Schunk & Zimmerman, 1997). pursuit of their 1 goals, and are persistent in f o r m i n g a
We believe t h a t private speech holds promise for clarify- coherent sense of self. SDT assumes that those tendencies
ing and providing greater delail about how self-efficacy is operate in relation to dynamic social c o n t e x t s t h a t d i f -
acquired and used in children's goal-directed activity. Ban- ferentially thwart and support organisms' n a t u r a l tenden-
dura (1981) called for research t h a t would provide greater- cies toward growth, development, and coherence (Deci &
detail on how self-efficacy knowledge is acquired and how Rvan, 1985; Reeve, Deci, & Ryan, 2004; R v a n & Deci,
it shapes our personal development. Tn our view, self- 2002). SDT is also based on the assumption t h a t humans
efficacy knowledge is developed from children's sponta- possess three f u n d a m e n t a l psychological needs ol com-
neous use of private speech (Morin, 1993; Morin & l-A'erctt, petence, autonomy, and relatedness. To the extent that
1990; Penuel & Wertsch, 1995). FVivatc speech utterances these needs are met in development as it unfolds in one's
such as "1 did i t " become the means by which children social context, one w i l l develop self-determination, well-
regulate their thoughts and actions in the course ol goal- being, and competence (Deci & Rvan, 2000; Ryan &
dirccled a c t i v i t y . More i m p o r t a n t l y , it also becomes the Deci, 2000b). Engagement in i n t r i n s i c a l l y motivated

activity is the most salient source of self-determination internalization and integration. By examining ways in
though extrinsically motivated activity can also become which children are differentially scaffolded by others in an
self-determined (Deci & Ryan, 1987, 1992; Ryan, Connell, autonomy-supportive versus directive manner, motivation
& Grolnick, 1992). Intrinsic motivation, as opposed to could be measured as an interactive process that results in
extrinsic molivation, is "the inherent tendency to seek internali/ed and integrated motivation within children.
out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one's In addition, an emphasis on the role of verbal feed-
capacities, to explore and to learn" (Ryan & Deci, 2000b, back can provide an interesting conceptual bridge between
p. 70). From the perspective ot SDT, intrinsic molivation SDT and sociocuhural theory. The proposed fundamen-
is understood to be a natural propensity of humans and a tal needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness that
product of working toward satisfying the three fundamen- ground SDT can be postulated as culturally constructed
tal psychological needs. A primary focus of both theory and/or constrained values. From our perspective, intrinsic
and research in this field has been on examining the nec- motivation could then be seen as internalized motivation-
essary conditions for eliciting and maintaining as well as appropriated motivation in terms of Rogoff (2003) - in
undermining and diminishing intrinsic molivation. much the same way that OIT emphasizes internalization
Within SDT, two subtheories exist thai further account as central to the intcgrativc process necessary for self-
for the development of intrinsic motivation and extrin- determination to develop. Within a process of internal-
sic motivation (Deci & Ryan, 1985). Cognitive Evalua- ization of cultural motivation and values, riot necessarily
tion Theory (GET) focuses on identifying the factors thai as postulated by OIT, language could be understood as
account for variability in intrinsic motivation. In this the- a medial ional tool between the cultural context and the
ory, events that promote perceived competence and an individual.
internal locus of causality are understood to enhance
intrinsic motivation in individuals. Events that promote
Attribution theory
a sense of incompetence or perceived external locus of
causality are believed to undermine intrinsic motivation. The attribution theory postulated by Weiner (1974) is one
In addition, GET postulates that feedback from one's of the widely respected perspectives within the field of
engagement in activity, whether originating externally or motivation in education. Weiner connected social psy-
within individuals, has three functional aspects that dif- chology's concept of causal attribution studied by Heider
ferentially affect the development oi intrinsic motivation. (1958) and Kelley (1967) to the motivational process pos-
The informational aspect emphasizes the notion of per- tulated in the classical Atkinson (1957) expectancy-value
ceived competence and internal locus oi causality and model. This classical model postulated that the needs for
thus enhances intrinsic motivation. The controlling aspect success and avoidance of failure were products of a per-
of feedback promotes an external locus of causality and sonal learning history. Weiner argued that those needs
functions in undermining intrinsic motivation. The moti- were a product of causal attribution that subjects made
vational aspect of feedback promotes a sense oi incompe- for their success and failure. That is, the key concept to
tence and also undermines the development of intrinsic explain achievement behavior was not the existence of a
motivation. need for achievement but the causal explanation made for
A significant body of empirical research grounded in results.
SDT and GET has found that parent interactions (Grol- For more than 30 years, Weiner (1974, 1986, 1992,2005)
nick & Apostoleris, 2002; Grolnick, Deci, & Ryan, 1997; has developed and successfully tested a broad theoiy of
Grolnick & Ryan, 1989; Grolnick, Ryan, & Deci, 1991), human motivation and emotion with explanatory poten-
teacher interactions (Deci & Ryan, 2002; Reeve & Lang, tial for intrapersonal as well as interpersonal psychologi-
2006; Ryan & Stiller, 1991), and more specifically, parental cal process. He has shown that achievement motivation
verbal controls (Deci, Driver, Hotchkiss, Robbins, & Wil- (choice and persistence) depends on attributed, rather
son, 1993) affect children's intrinsic motivation. than actual, causes of outcomes. He has taught us that
The second subthcory of SDT accounts for how extrin- the relevant features of attributions were not the specific
sic motivation develops into self-determination and how causes (ability, effort, task difficulty, luck) but their causal
behavior becomes self-regulated (Ryan & Deci, 2000a; dimensions (locus, stability, and controllability). Weiner
Ryan & Connell, 1989; Ryan ct ai., 1992). Organismic provided a theoretical framework that includes a detailed
Integration Theory (OIT) accounts for the development analysis of the components of the causal process, the con-
of extrinsic motivation into self-determination by empha- ditions that allow this process to be displayed, and its con-
sizing integration and inlernalizalion processes in the sequences in terms of motivation, expectancies for suc-
development of self-regulation (Deci & Ryan, 1985). OIT cess, emotions, and judgments of responsibility lor others'
describes the factors that facilitate or hinder the inte- behavior (see Pintrich & Schunk, 2002, for a comprehen-
grative and internalization processes and provides a sive discussion).
five-phase model of self-regulation. We believe that a Developmental studies have shown that children's
Vygotskian account of motivation is useful tor further- understanding of the different causal attributions differs
ing our understanding of the factors that influence the from that of adults. Nicholls (1990) summarized the most

relevant research on this issue showing the developmental of negative judgments of one's competence) have been
process of differentiation among conceptions on ability, widely accepted conceptual distinctions that have guided
effort, difficulty, and kick between the ages of 3 and 13. research in this field (Dweck, 1991). Both types of goals
In addition, Dweck and colleagues (Cain & Dwcck, 1989; are formed from individual's theories of intelligence,
Dweck, 2000; Dweck & Molden, 2005) have provided us expectancies, causal attributions for success and failure,
with an account of how children form concepts of ability strategy analysis, and emotional reactions.
and personal theories of intelligence. This line of research In general, children oriented toward learning goals
illustrates the importance of taking a developmental and adopt an incremental concept of ability (malleable) or
contextual perspective when applying attributional theory theory of intelligence (Cain & Dweck, 1989). For these
to educational activities. From our perspective, this type children, performance standards are personalized, allow-
of research has strong implications for emphasi/.ing the ing them to maintain a high expectation level for future
rnedialional role of language in the formation of causal achievements. They tend to make lew causal attributions,
attributions and subjective constmals of intelligence. but when they do, they attribute causes as internal and
From a classical cognitive perspective, causal attribu- controllable (effort and ability) for successes as well as
tions are simply a result of our information-processing failures. Children who adopt learning goals engage in
system, and language is the communicative interface with strategic analysis, that is, they review their task-execution
the external world. However, from a Vygotskian perspec- process to become aware of what they have done well and
tive, the existence of contextual and developmental dif- how to improve what they have done wrong. This allows
ferences in how children construe causes for success and them to consider failure as a learning opportunity. Sub-
failure provides an important basis for exploring themedi- sequently, their emotional reactions are low-intensity and
ational role of language in the development of attribu- center on experiencing satisfaction from having exerting
tional thought and motivation (Atencio & A/Iontcro, 2005; effort in pursuit of their goals.
Montero, de Dios, & Huertas, 2006). In addition, the On the other hand, children oriented toward perfor-
work of Woltcrs (2003) also provides theoretical connec- mance goals are characterized as adopting an entity con-
tions among self-regulation of motivation, self-talk, ant! cept of ability that causes them to understand intelligence
attribution control that we believe are mediated by dia- as fixed or uncontrollable (Cain & Dweck, 1989). Children
logues occurring inlrapsychologically. Children's sponta- who adopt this concept of ability also adopt a view of
neous private speech in the course of goal-directed activity performance standards as governed by normative com-
is commonly emitted as a means of conceptualizing facets parisons. Therefore, those believing they have a high level
of their actions in terms of causes, controls, and conse- ol ability have high expectations of obtaining a favorable
quences. We believe that examining children's causal attri- assessment of others in comparison to their peers. In con-
butions as they are spontaneously emitted in the course trast, children who adopt an incremental concept of ability
of their engagement in activity will reveal important infor- and see themselves as having a low level of ability believe
mation about motivational processes and justification that they are destined to fail. Children frequently make causal
private speech is a melamotivational and a mctacognitive attributions of their success and failure. Those with high
tool in development. skill attribute success to internal causes and failure to
external ones, whereas those having low ability tend to
attribute their success to external, noncontrollable causes
Goal theory and their failures to internal causes (Dicner & Dweck,
The past 2 decades in the field of academic motivation 1978). Children with this pattern suffer from a lack of
have witnessed the consolidation of what has been called strategic analysis and tend to consider failure as a personal
goal theory (Dweck, 1991). More than a unified theory, censure (Dweck, 1975). This makes their emotional reac-
it should be considered as a group of theories (Coving- tions high-intensity. Those having a high ability level have
ton, 2000) coalesced around the concept of goals as an a maximum reaction to success. In the opposite situation,
anchor of one's motivation. Among many others, goal the- what is maximized is the reaction to failure. Potential pos-
ory has been built by the many contributions of Dweck itive reactions to success are inhibited by the helplessness
and colleagues (Dweck, 1986, I 991; Dweck & Elliott, 1983; pattern (Pintrich & Schunk, 2002).
Dweck & Leggett, 1988), Ames (1992), Covington (1992), A consensus of the early achievement motivation liter-
Elliot and colleagues (Elliot, 2005; Elliot & Thrash, 2002), ature argues that competence and perceived competence
Nicholls (1984, 1990), and Pintrich (2000). Fora compre- are goals that motivate achievement behavior {de Charms,
hensive account of the goal construct in motivational psy- 1968; White, 1959). Nicholls (1984) further argued that
chology, see Elliot (2005). individuals differ in the way that they subjectively construe
Although it is possible to seek different types of goals such goals and const rue their ability. Younger children are
within educational contexts (e.g., Wentzel, 1991), notions more task-involved, that is, they tend to judge ability in
of learning goals (i.e., goals that lead to increased com- terms of what they have learned and their perceived mas-
petence and a sense of mastery-) and performance goals tery. For older children, learning is not enough for them to
(i.e., goals that aimed at positive judgments and avoidance feel competent. Older children judge their ability and the

difficulty ot tasks in comparison to how they rank among to self about doing or not doing something, imply goal-
peers. Older children perceive themselves as competent directed verbally mediated actions. Early empirical private
and possessing high ability when they perform better than speech research (Copeland, 1979; Rubin & Dvck, 1980)
their reference peer group. Nicholls ( 1 984) suggested t h a i categori/ed children's private speech i n t o categories such
these children are more ego-involved in achievement activ- as "planning" or "directions to self" that exemplify how the
ity than task-involved. Furthermore, subjective experience field has operationally defined certain private speech utter-
and overt behavior should differ in significant ways when ances as mediating goal formation. In much the same way,
different achievement goals are formed. We suggest that private speech category systems that focus on functions
children's spontaneous private speech in the course of of private speech also implicitly identify goal processes.
some achievement activity should also differ in much the For example, Furrow's (1984) "self-regulation" functional
same way. Nicholls (1990) has shown t h a t no clear dis- calegorv relates to children's private speech utterances
tinction between effort and ability appeal's u n t i l the age of that refer to children's future act ions. Feigenbaum's (1992)
11 01- 12. Even those who form an incremental concept of functional categories having to do with defining goals and
ability rarely distinguish such ability from effort, because plans imply that goal identification and orientation mav
they believe effort generates ability. be taking place. In general, all sociocultural perspectives
However, children clearly differ in terms of their pur- derived Irom historical materialism have assumed that
pose and propensities for engaging in school activity. human activity is goal directed (see Werlsch, 1981). We
Ames's (1992) review of the relationship between class- believe that the conceptual link between private speech
room structure and children's goal orientations lound and goal theory offers excit ing possibilities lor future stud-
that children who form masteiy goals are more apt lo be ies of verbally mediated motivation for private speech
engaged in classroom activities. Children who form per- researchers.
formance goals are more ego-involved than task-involved
and subsequently arc less motivated toward masteiT and
The role of feedback
understanding. Their goal is to be judged as performing
at a particular socially defined standard. Earlier research We also believe that several ol these motivation theo-
has argued that performance goals attenuate children's ries postulate verbal feedback (i.e., social dialogue) as a
interest and understanding in (he classroom and promote central mechanism of motivation (e.g., Bandura, 1986;
extrinsic motivation, whereas masteiy goals are highly Deci Ryan, 1985; Harler, 1983; Schunk, 1982). Deci
correlated with activities that promote academic intrinsic and Ryan (198.S), for example, argue that verbal feed-
motivation (Ames, 1992). back, whether interpersonally or inlrapersonally adminis-
More recent goal research, in particular the work of tered, may enhance one's intrinsic motivation to the extent
Elliot and colleagues (Elliot, 1997; Elliot & Church, 1997), that it losters perceptions of competence and perceived
has placed the concept of achievement goals in a hierarchi- internal locus of causality. Feedback that is perceived
cal framework that distinguishes between performance- as controlling conveys contradicting information about
avoidance (failure) goals and performance-approach one's competence or autonomy and thus may undermine
(success) goals. In this refined coi jeptuali/.ation of per- one's intrinsic motivation. Feedback that is perceived as
formance goals, performance-approach goals are seen as informational conveys i n f o r m a t i o n consistent with one's
associated with more adaptive learning patterns, whereas sense of competence and autonomy and, thus, is likely
performance-avoidance goals are associated with what to enhance one's intrinsic motivation. However, Deci and
was earlier characteristic of simple performance goafs Ryan (1982) believe that young children lack the necessary
(Elliot & Church, 1997; Pintrich, 2000). The hierarchical structures for differentiating informational and control-
approach-avoidance model also emphasizes the motiva- ling feedback.
tion underlying goal formation, in the form of motives Vygotsky (1934/1987) believed that individuals take
(Elliot, 1997) and temperament (Elliot & Thrash, 2002). feedback Irom others as the basis for their private dia-
Both motives and temperaments energi/.e one's propensity logue. It is from the scaffold of more competent individu-
to form both avoidance and approach goals (Elliot, 2005). als that children develop their proficiency in cultural tools
Another significant feature ol the hierarchical model is for thinking. Given that dialogue is endemic to social inter-
t h e introduction of "goal complexes" that are under- action, children mav appropriate motivation for action
stood as being context specific, regulatoiy in lunclion, Irom the scaffold that others provide. The important scaf-
and providing information in the form of reasons for lold for motivational development is one that provides
adopting and pursuing particular goals (Elliot & Thrash, tacit stincture for self-direction and not for performance
2002). on a task, as is the case in the common understanding ot
In our view, the basic concept of goals has implicitly the function of scaffolding (Atcncio, 2003). Private speech
existed in the way we have traditionally categorized chil- emerges in this situation because the scaffold offers affor-
dren's private speech in terms of content and function. For dance for children's use of dialogue as a tool tor self-
example, private speech utterances thai contain content motivation (Ateiicio, 2003). In this vein, private speech is
about what a child is doing or about to do, or directions both a process and a product ot self-system development.

What is said to us about our competence, autonomy, and on their motivational orientation for such tasks. Further-
relaledncss is the basis of what we tell ourselves in our more, do children have the mediational capacity to alter
private dialogue about our competence, autonomy, and their sense of self given the production ol such dialogue in
relatedness. Private speech, therefore, appears to be a tool task situations? That is, do private dialogues change the
for self-motivation in much The same way thai Vygotsky way children view themselves in a particular task situa-
attributed its function as a tool for thinking. Thus, one tion? Are dialogues with others a source of information
can argue t h a t this motivational tool is built by our social, about the self-concept, and are dialogues with the self a
as well as dialogical, experiences in development. Ulti- form of self-evaluation? These arc all important questions
mately, this mediated motivational process is the basis of for future research.
our self-evaluations, self-appraisals of capabilities, choices Similarly, Schunk and Hanson (1989), and Stipek, Rec-
for action, and self-control in task situations. chia, and McClintic (1992) suggest that social dialogue,
Among the traditions just summarized, there have in the form of praise or encouragement, enhances chil-
been numerous studies that have tested and substantially dren's skill acquisition, task engagement, and affective
supported the idea that verbal feedback mediates self- reactions to the task at hand. In addition, Diaz, Neal, and
evaluative processes. Many studies have found that ver- Vachio (1991) lound thai maternal attributions for chil-
bal feedback, in the form ot social dialogue, enhances dren's competence in a scaffolded teaching situation were
one's intrinsic motivation (Harackiewic/., Manderlink, & the strongest predictor of subsequent performance when
Sansone, 1984; Koestner, Ryan, Beinieri, & Holt, 1984; the child was asked to solve a similar problem alone after
Pittman, Davey, Alafat, Wetherill, & Kramer, 1980; Ryan, being scaffolded by his or her mother. Taken together,
1982). Does verbal feedback function the same way in the these studies suggest that children as young as .3 years
form ol private speech? of age may possess the structures necessary for distin-
Ryan (1982) suggests that individuals are capable of guishing (not necessarily consciously) information from
administering informational and controlling feedback to controlling leedback. Is it possible that early communi-
themselves (i.e., private dialogue). Individuals can under- cations (i.e., social dialogues) with children as young as
mine or enhance their own intrinsic motivation for task 3 years old provide the bridge to self-reflection through
activity by emitting differentially valenced private speech. private dialogue? Developrnentally, the capacity to dis-
By inducing aclulls to administer both forms of feed- tinguish informational and controlling types of feedback
back to themselves, Ryan (1982) found that individuals appears to emerge in early communicative interactions
who emitted self-directed, controlling feedback ultimately during infancy.
undermined their intrinsic motivation, whereas individu- In a very similar fashion, Pan, Imbcns-Bailey, Win-
als who emitted self-directed, informational feedback ulti- ner, and Snow (1996) showed that socio-communicative
mately enhanced their intrinsic motivation. In his study, actions between mothers and children go through changes
Ryan (1982) examined the effecls on subjects' intrinsic between 14 and 32 months. With 14-month-olds, mothers
motivational processes of self- versus other-administered in a free play observation session produced a small core
informational or controlling feedback in ego- or task- set of communicative intents in relation to their child.
involvement situations. The dependent variable, intrin- This amount increased as children grew older, whereas
sic motivation, was measured by time spent on similar mothers' use of directive intents declined in their com-
tasks during a free-choice period following the experi- munication with their children. As children developed to
mental conditions. Ryan found that individuals in the 32 months, parents' child-directed speech focused more
task-involvement condition, in which informational feed- on child-centered acts where mothers provided labels and
back was experienced, spent far more time working on descriptions of the child's ongoing socio-communicativc
similar tasks during the free-choice period. This sug- actions. Both the Diaz et al. (1991) and the Pan et al.
gests that regardless of whether informational feedback (1996) studies suggest that parents, in dialogic relation to
is administered by self or by others, intrinsic motivation children, provide a scaffold to much more than language
is enhanced when such informational feedback occurs in or skill development. These early verbal interchanges may
task-involvement conditions. provide the bridge (hat builds children's stn.icti.ircs for dis-
Ryan's (1982) findings arc central to a Vygotskian model tinguishing informational (i.e., autonomy and competence
of motivation because they underscore the manner in supportive) from controlling feedback.
which private dialogue functions in mediating subsequent Furthermore, children's ability to inform or control
intrinsic motivation. However, Ryan's (1982) study used themselves through self-directed speech (i.e., privale dia-
college students as subjects. Are children's motivational logue) may emanate from early socio-communicative
processes similar under those conditions? In addition, experiences. Deci and Ryan (1982, 1985, 1987) suggest
Ryan did not elicit spontaneous use of private dialogue. that individuals who find themselves in situations with
Instead, subjects were presented scripts to read to them- few or no affordances for competence or autonomy tend
selves as a process of self-administration. The question subsequently to control rather than inform themselves.
remains whether children's spontaneous use of private This further suggests that there exists a developmental
speech, in the face of task challenges, shares any effect precursor of the structures necessary for self-motivation.

Namely, social experiences relative lo motivational ori- emanating from outside the dialectical relationship be-
entation form intrapsychological tendencies to be con- tween the child's need to mediate the task through his
trolling or informational with one's self via inner speech. or her effective use of private dialogue on the one hand,
Dcci et al. (1993) found that mothers of 6- lo 7-ycar-olds and the social and task demands on the other.
differentially affect their children's intrinsic motivation Taken together, these studies underscore the impor-
by providing interpersonal, informational, and control- tance ol interpersonal communications in mediating chil-
ling feedback while teaching. Within a teaching task, dren's cognitive and conative development. Thus, semi-
the authors found that a mother who provides informa- otic mediation appears to exert its influence on cognitive
tional feedback enhances her child's intrinsic motivation and conative development even in the absence of direct
for the task, whereas controlling feedback was associ- social interaction. Thai is, semiotic mediation may oper-
ated with less intrinsic motivation for subsequent simi- ate independently as a cognitive or conative mechanism of
lar (asks. 7'his mediating effect of interpersonal dialogue development. Verbal feedback, as a form of semiotic medi-
also occurs with older children. For example, Grolnickand ation, may operate as a separate means of task influence
Ryan (1987} presented fifth-grade children with two read- than other features of the social situation in which such
ing tasks. First, children read a passage and then were task feedback is experienced.
asked to respond with their subjective reaction. Next, the In sum, there are many Western theoretical traditions
children were asked to read a second passage following and conceplual developments that provide a significant
one of three conditions: (1) a noncontrolling directed con- body of empirical evidence that should be addressed
dition, which conveyed that they would be asked some and/or reinterpreted when adopting a sociocultural per-
questions about the passage (this was done in a non- spective of motivational processes. We now discuss exist-
controlling, matter-of-fact way); (2) a controlling-directed ing evidence for a motivational function of private
condition, which conveyed that a test was lo follow and speech.
subjects "should work as hard as (they) can" (Grolnick &
Ryan, 1987, p. 893) because they would be graded; and
(3) a nondircctcd condition, which informed them that
they would be filling out a questionnaire about their
feelings. The questionnaire presented after the first pas- Researchers in the private speech field have focused almost
sage and repealed for subjects under the third condi- exclusively on private speech as a cognitive tool. As we
tion tapped emotional reaction, pressure/tension expe- suggested earlier, a deeper reading of Vygotsky's theory
rience, and interest/enjoyment. Findings indicated that suggests lhat he viewed spontaneous use of private speech
(he first and third conditions resulted in greater interest in the face of task challenges as just as much a tool for
and conceptual learning than did the controlling-directed motivation as a tool for thinking. In his view, these two
condition. Subjects in the controlling-directed condition processes of development were inseparable.
reported more pressure and greater deterioration in role Therefore, two important questions need to be
learning after an 8-day follow-up. addressed to help establish an empirical basis for a Vygol-
In a similar fashion, Schunk (1982) directly examined skian theory of motivation:
the effects of verbalization on children's persistence, self-
What is the functional significance of private speech
efficacy, and skill for solving division problems. Three
in terms of affective, agentic, and conative processes?
types of verbalization protocols were compared to a non-
What motivational characteristics are present in chil-
verbalization protocol. In the strategy-only protocol, chil-
dren's spontaneous use of private speech in task
dren were given step-by-step strategies lo recite out loud
prior to performing, whereas in the tree-only protocol,
children were asked to verbalize all thoughts as they Researchers have failed lo differentiate three important
worked on the math problems. In the combined slrategy- dimensions of private speech: content, form, and func-
and-free protocol, children were given both sets of instruc- tion (Alencio & Diaz, 1986; Diaz, 1986, 1992). The con-
tions. In the nonverbal]-/ation protocol, children were tenl of private speech is concerned with what the speech
asked to simply work on the problems. Self-efficacy assess- is about, whereas the form of private speech has to do
ments were performed following these conditions, and with the acoustical and physical properties of speech.
they revealed that (he combined protocol was most effec- Both content and form are present in widely used pri-
tive in enhancing self-efficacy, whereas the free-only pro- vate speech coding schemes (e.g., Berk & Garvin, 1984;
tocol produced the greatest level of division skill and task Diaz Lowe, 1987; Kohlberg, Yaegcr, & Hjertholm, 1968).
persistence. The findings suggest lhat even when private Dia/ (1 986, 1992) suggests that the function (i.e., what ser-
dialogue is artificially and mechanically produced, moti- vice such speech sen/es (o the child's ongoing action) of
vational and cognitive effects surface. In a sense, chil- private speech should nol be considered a category but
dren in the verbalization groups were responding lo a rather a hypothesis lo be tested. The functional signifi-
social dialogue between the experimenter and themselves. cance of self-directed speech can be examined only when
These results, though promising, are understood here as one has a iionspeech measure of the function in question

(Dm/., 1986). This methodological limitation also applies with hyperactivity as compared to nonhyperactive chil-
when investigating motivational functions of private dren. Among her categories was a "self-reinforcement"
speech. category that included self-praising statements thai pro-
vided positive feedback such as "that's terrific" or "good!"
Also included were private speech utterances that rellecled
Earlier private speech evidence suggesting
agentic processes in a category called "descriptions to self."
mediation of motivation
In this category utterances were included that described
A review of early private speech research allows us to children's own behavior such as "1 am listening" or "I am
address the second question regarding motivational char- making." Atencio (2003) found that these types of agentic
acteristics ol children's private speech. To begin, it is private utterances were emitted far more often in chil-
important to emphasize that a number of category systems dren who scored lower on Ryan and Council's (1989) Rel-
have been developed in the past 4 decades ol private speech ative Autonomy Index. This finding suggests that children
research (see Winsler el al., 2005, lor a comprehensive list who lack this important component of intrinsic motiva-
of empirically derived coding systems) that include cate- tion emit private speech that is agentic at higher rales than
gories we believe implicitly signal motivational processes individuals who possess the inner resources for motivating
as being mediated through private speech. Kohl berg et al. their actions.
(1968) proposed a developmental model of" private speech. Early private speech research also has included cat-
Within four levels of private speech, they proposed two cat- egories that suggest ways in which private speech may
egories of inward-directed, self-guiding speech. Questions undermine intrinsic motivation. Recalling our earlier dis-
to belt' and self-guiding private speech categories suggest cussion, GET (Deci & Ryan, 1985) proposes that con-
a possible motivational or conalive hmclion. Children's trolling feedback promotes an external locus of causality
engagement in a given task may be motivated by such and thus undermines intrinsic motivation, though possibly
type of speech. Snow, Como, and Jackson (1996) argue increasing extrinsic motivation. Rubin and Dyck's (1980)
that individual differences in affective and conative pro- study with children engaged in play included a speech cat-
cesses develop as part of children's learning experiences. egory called "directions to self such as "don't open thai
Kohlbcrg ct al. (1968) sided with Mead's (1934} perspective door." They also identified a category labeled "feedback"
over Piagel's and Vygotsky's views regarding the develop- that included statements about their performance as being
mental relevance of questions to sell and sell-guiding pri- good or bad, correct or incorrect such as "that's a poopoo
vate speech. Specifically these types of speech are paraso- thing I did" (p. 222). Both of these categories suggest that
cial because they occur as the self is developing. In our private speech may undermine one's inlrinsic motivation
view, they represent an important conative function in because of its potential el led on one's perception of com-
developing the volitional aspects of the self. petence and locus of causality as outlined in GET. These
Other research done around the same time suggests two categories classify utterances to self that clearly con-
a central role of" self-guiding statements as motivators trol or contradict perceived autonomy and competence as
of ongoing behavior. Jensen (1971) provided an anal- delined in motivational theory.
ysis of mediation theory common in his earlier work Clearly private speech not only regulates our orienta-
within the behaviorisl paradigm that proposed a major tion to action, it also is a means by which we become ori-
mediator of intellectual development he call "verbal self- ented to ourselves. In CKT, whether we control ourselves
reinforcement." This is understood as informative feed- through self-feedback or accentuate our failures rather
back, functioning as a primary and secondary reinforce]-, than our accomplishments when talking to ourselves, we
that individuals use in learning situations to motivate and influence our motivation for future action and alter' the
shape their behavior. Jensen (1963) found that having way we see ourselves in our activity.
educationally retarded children use this type of self-talk Daughcrty, While, and Manning's (1995) coding system,
while completing a task resulted in significant improve- used to examine the influence of private speech on kinder-
ment. Inspired by Jensen's early work, Dickie (1973) and garteners' creativity, included speech classified as coping,
Camp (1977) employed a private speech category system reinforcing, and solving. These categories included pri-
that included a category labeled "inner." This included vate speech that provided affirmative information about
private speech utterances that were self-guiding remarks the sell in relationship to ongoing activity. Children used
and self-encouraging remarks. In addition, their system private speech to praise their actions (e.g., "I am good at
included a category called "tension release" that included this") and to indicate that they had attained their perfor-
private speech having to do with emotional expressions mance goals (e.g., "that's it, I did it"). Both of these cat-
related to success, failure, or frustration. It is evident from egories provide evidence that private speech may medi-
this early line of private .speech research that motivational ate the formation of a self-concept that is autonomous
functional significance has been, though implicitly, a part and efficacious. Similarly, recent work by Burnett (1996,
of our field's empirical investigations. 1999) has examined children's self-statements and how
Copeland's (1979) category system was developed to they function in forming the self-concept. Burnett (1996)
investigate the prevalence of private speech in children examined the link between positive and negative self-talk

emitted by children and the differential effect of signifi- motives and personal responsibilities is antecedent to pri-
cant others. Elementary boys' use of positive and negative vate speech. Their study suggests that we would expect
self-talk was influenced more by parents' statements. Girls' to f i n d greater private speech use in individuals who have
positive and negative self-talk was predicted by teachers' formed performance-approach goals than individuals who
statements. Negative statements by peers were significant have formed performance-avoidance goals.
predictors ol'negative self-talk in both boys and girls. Bur- A second more recent series of studies ( M a n n i n g , W h i l e ,
nett (1999) f o u n d that teachers' statements also predicted & Daugherly, 1994) was conducted to examine the u t i l -
children's self-talk and academic self-concepts lor math i t y ol private speech utterances in g u i d i n g children's
and reading. Teachers who provide a range of challenges schoolwork activity. The authors developed a coding sys-
(Hauser-Cram, 1998) promote children's mastery motiva- tem that incorporated a category for melacognitive pri-
tion, whereas teachers who are directly controlling under- vate speech. Specifically, this category' consisted of four
mine motivation to learn and stimulate anger and anxiety subcategories l h a t we believe arc very- relevant for mediat-
in the classroom (Assor, Kaplan, Kanat-Maymon , & Roth, ing motivational as well as metacognitive processes. The
2005). It should be noted that Burnett's research did not authors defined speech as "correcting a sell-defined error
examine private speech directly but rather student's self- of a task" when children emitted private speech that eval-
reported use of such speech on a survey instrument. The uated their actions as incorrect. The second metacognitive
Self-Talk Inventory consists of 60 statements; children arc category was labeled "coping" and consisted of statements
asked to report whether I hey would say I hese statements to t h a t reflected children's coping with errors or other' self-
themselves in imaginary situations (Burnett, 1994). Morin defined sources of frustration (e.g., "I hate this, but hey,
and colleagues (Morin, 1993, 1995; Morin & Evercll, 1990, one at a lime!"). The third category' had to do with "rein-
1991) have also examined the connection between self- lorcing m e n t a l or behavioral self-defined task progress
awareness, inner speech, and sell-talk. Other researchers or accomplishments" and was exemplified by children's
have found positive e f f e c t s of children's use of inner speech sell-praise verbali/ations. The fourth metacognitive cate-
in the classroom in terms of m a i n t a i n i n g their engagement gory had to do with "solving the task and having men-
in classroom activity (Rohrkemper, 1986; Zakin, 2007). tal awareness and assurance that the task or components
Though these studies have not examined private speech of the tasks are correct." Children who emitted private
directlv, their work exemplifies how the Bakhtinian notion speech utterances such as "that's the answer - 1 know it
of ventriloquation may operate in mediating motivational is" were engaged in providing motivationally significant
oriental ion. Their findings provide evidence that our sense information to t h e self regarding accomplishment, which
of self and our capacity to motivate and regulate our in turn enhances intrinsic motivation according to Deci
actions are mediated by verbal processes. We believe that and Ryan's (1985) notion of intrinsic motivation. As we
these self-concept researchers have identified an explicit see later, the taxonomy of Manning el al. (1994) was the
connection between verbal mediation and the develop- basis for one of the firsl published studies in the Wesl
ment of the self-concept that can be f u r t h e r studied in to directly examine the motivational aspects of children's
hopes of learning how we form molivalionally significant private speech,
construals of ourselves, such as perceived self-ellicacy and
self-esteem. The significance of what people lei! us for
Private speech studies that focus
what we lell ourselves is that our inner dialogues have
on motivation directly
an impact on our intellectual and a f f e c t i v e systems and
determine the degree to which we will motivate and self- Our own independent work in combination with Chiu and
regulate ourselves in the course of our actions. Alexander's (2000) investigation represent three attempts
Two earlier studies have examined motivational pro- to directly study the motivational aspects of children's
cesses a bit more directlv. First, Deulsch and Slein (1972) private speech. Explicitly, these three lines of research
conducted the only experimental study to date t h a i con- examine the connection between specific motivational
trolled for motivational situations (e.g., personal failure, processes and various forms of spontaneously produced
task i n t e r r u p t i o n , and success) in order to test the effects self-verbalizations of young children engaged in challeng-
of personal responsibility for failure and capacity to cope ing goal-directed activity.
with task interruption under the three situations men- Chiu and Alexander's (2000) study was inspired by a gap
tioned earlier. Their study was aimed at examining the in t h e achievement motivation literature regarding young
motivational basis for why private speech increases with children and the possible inter-action between their self-
task d i f f i c u l t y . Four- lo 5-year olds were given a series t a l k and persistency and independence in goal-directed
of pu7./.les to complete under three conditions t h a i taxed behaviors. Their study examined the relations between
their motivation, persistence, and sell-regulatory capac- children's metacognitive private speech and their maslery
ity. The results revealed that children produced far more motivation. Adopting M a n n i n g et al.'s (1994) definition,
private speech following success when faced w i t h the metacognitive private speech was defined as children's
personal f a i l u r e condition. The author's found support utterances having lo do w i t h u n d e r s t a n d i n g and regu-
for t h e i r hypothesis t h a t arousal of achievement-related l a t i n g one's own t h i n k i n g and problem solving. Maslery

motivation (Hartcr, I 978), on the other hand, was defined or independence) and the four speech categories. Specifi-
as (lie children's disposition to work and persist lor a chal- cally, proportions of each type of private speech were cor-
lenging goal. From their review ol the literature on mastery related with the achievement variable for each task. In
motivation, the authors postulated that mastery motiva- each task situation, it was the metacognitive category that
tion is a stable disposition that individuals differentially was significantly correlated with the achievement variable.
possess that determines their behavior persistency. Com- Other types of private speech rates (i.e., units per minute)
petence is the ability to perform a skill. It is goal uncer- were significantly correlated with the achievement vari-
tainly that distinguishes mastery motivation from com- able for each lask, but we believe t h a t this finding was con-
petence. Therefore, in order to produce such uncertainty, founded with (he nature of the task (Diaz, 1992; Frauen-
tasks must be challenging. glass & Din/., 1985). The significant correlation between
In order lo examine the production of private speech in achievement and the proportion of melacognitive private
an empirically derived achievement situation, the authors speech, as compared with other types of private speech,
classified private speech as being facilitalivc or non- represents the most important contribution for a socio-
lacililalive to achievement behavior while distinguish- cultural account of motivation. Chiu and Alexander's find-
ing between cognitive and metacognitive relevance. The ings are consistent with Manning et al.'s (1994) finding that
authors focused their study on determining whether sig- more autonomous students engage in goal-directed activ-
nificant age or sex differences existed in children's use of ities with more melacognitive and motivational private
private speech and master,' motivation in three different speech. The question remains as lo whether such speech
achievement lasks. Their study is the first study to look interplays with children's achievement motivation.
directly at a possible relationship between children's mas- Montero and colleagues' line of research (de Dios &
tery motivation and private speech. Montcro, 2003; Montero, de Dios, & Huertas, 2001, 2006;
Thirty-one preschoolers participated in the Chin and Montero & Huertas, 1995, 1999) was guided by the
Alexander (2000) study, 16 girls and 15 boys, who ranged assumption that examining private speech in the for-
in age from 3 year's, 5 months, to 5 years, 11 month. Chil- mation of goal orientations would expand our field and
dren were presented with three tasks. The first, called the contribute to our understanding of how motivational
jumping task, was designed to evaluate children's level processes develop through verbal mediation. Given the
of mastery motivation within the gross-motor domain. It fact that such elements (e.g., expectancies, attributions,
consisted of asking children lo attempt lo jump as far emotions or strategic analysis) are supported through
as they could, and they were free lo complete as many language, it was reasoned that we could increase our
trials as desired. The second, the fishing task, assessed knowledge of the sell-regulaloiy functions of speech by
preschooler's mastery motivation in a task ol eye-hand examining motivation. Montero and colleagues were also
coordination. Using a fishing pole, children had lo catch guided by the idea thai observation of private speech
as many paper fish as possible from an array encompassed had advantages for better understanding goal formation
w i t h i n a large ring on the floor. The third task, a puzzle processes compared to other types of methods typically-
task, consisted of completing a puzzle that was chosen by used in traditional motivation research (e.g., interviews
each child from three pu/./.les of increasing difficulty. or questionnaires). A private speech paradigm, it was fur-
Persistence on the task was the nonverbal outcome mea- ther assumed, removes expectation bias and provides a
sure for the first two tasks, whereas desire lo work inde- more authentic understanding ol motivational processes
pendently as rated by a four-item system was the nonver- in situ. In addition, from a developmental point of view,
bal outcome measure for the puzzle task. Adopting the the moment of greatest emergence of this type of speech
Manning et al. (1994) coding system, children's private coincides with the first few years of schooling, which
speech was coded as being off-task, task-relevant but non- affords one an opportunity to collect data on motivational
facilitative, task-relevant facilitativc, and task-relevant, dynamics at an early age. Montero and colleagues rea-
metacognitive. soned that pursuing this line of research could also further
Their results revealed no significant differences lor age our knowledge ol the early antecedents of achievement
and sex in terms of private speech and mastery motiva- goal formation and orientation in academic contexts.
tion. Children did emit more private speech on the fish From these assumptions, Montero and his colleagues Ide
task than on the other tasks. The authors concluded that Dios & Montero, 2003; Montero, tie Dios, & Huertas, 2001,
children's use of private speech appears to be anchored 2006; Montero & Huertas, 1995, 1999) carried out several
to the type of achievement task and is less a function of empirical studies that have developed the idea that to con-
a child's age. In terms of private speech production and sider "private speech as a mcdialiorial tool in the inter-
achievement behavior, moderate correlations were found nalization of motivation, implies that this phenomenon is
lor amount of private speech and task persistence. Mas- a means of transforming motivational processes from an
lery motivation was not related to children's rate ol private inter-psychological level to an intra-psychological level"
speech across tasks. However, we believe the most inter- (Montero etal., 2006, p. 217). Within this line of research, a
esting finding resulted when the authors examined the first objective was to study private speech in order to iden-
correlation between the achievement variable (persistence tify motivational factors that begin to appear in school.

The research objective was twofold. First, it was impor- in children's spontaneous private speech. There were dif-
tant to determine the weight of the motivational content ferences among the amount of utterances of each moti-
in spontaneous private speech. Second, ihis research also vational category. Specifically, children's private speech
allowed us to explore the functional characteristics of cer- showed a greater proportion of evaluations (58% of total
tain types of private speech with motivational content. motivational private speech) and of emotional reactions
In a first pilot study, Montero and Hueitas (1995) found associated with these evaluations (25% of total motiva-
that more than 14% of total private speech uttered by 3- tional private speech) compared with the other four cate-
to 5-year-old children in their study was motivational in gories. In addition, the category of evaluation with emo-
orientation and occurred while carrying out tasks with tional reaction showed differences for the two age groups
academic and playful content in different social situa- (preschoolers and primary school children). The authors
tions. The affective-motivational content of private speech emphasize these results as promising, suggesting that they
was equally distributed among four different categories provide evidence for different ways of forming specific goal
reflecting four types of motives: primary, playful, affilia- orientations.
tive, and achievement. This last motive included utter- In addition to examining motivational content of chil-
ances that showed elements for goal orientation. Private dren's private speech, these authors examined the func-
speech utterances classified in this last group related to tional nature of this type of private speech. They found a
children's desire for being effective in accomplishment of significant positive relationship between the appearance of
the ongoing tasks. The results of this first study suggested certain motivational elements (e.g., evaluations with emo-
the potentiality of the analysis of children's private speech tional content) and motivational indicators such as per-
for studying the development of motivation. formance and persistence. That is, children who produced
In a second study, Montero and Huertas (1999) found more utterances that were evaluations of the ongoing task
a similar percentage of private speech with motivational or that had an evident emotional reaction to it were those
content among students of the first educational stages of who better performed and persisted on the task. This effect
the Spanish school system (i.e., between 4 and 8 years old) reached statistical significance in the concurrent task as
in different classroom situations. In naturalistic contexts well as several months later during a posttest (Montero &
in the classroom, the number of utterances of motivational Huertas, 1999).
private speech ranged between 15% and 18% of total pri- Although the foregoing findings are interesting, they
vate speech, and these percentages remained stable along are limited because of their correlational design. This
different moments of observation (Montero & Huertas, methodology was unable to account for the influence of
1999). In a laboratory context - where children were asked motivational private speech on other motivational indi-
to play with puzzles individually within a situation with a cators. In order to examine a causal hypothesis on the
greater degree of structure - the proportion ot utterances influence of motivational speech on children's behavior,
with motivational content was increased. Specifically the it was necessary to apply an experimental methodology.
authors found that the percentage of motivational private Thus, de Dios and Montero (2003) adopted an experimen-
speech utterances was 28% of the total private speech pro- tal design to study possible causal influences of motiva-
duced across subjects (Montero & Huertas, 1999). The tional private speech on achievement behavior. However,
findings of their second study provided additional evidence it was important to solve two methodological problems
that children emit a moderate amount of spontaneous pri- outlined by Diaz (1992), namely, the problem of manipu-
vate speech that appears lo function in mediating motiva- lating private speech and the problem of controlling task
tional processes. difficulty as a confounded variable. To overcome these
In addition to analyzing the amount of utterances of problems, in a previous methodological study, Montero
motivational private speech, the authors published a sec- and de Dios (2001, 2006) applied and tested two potential
ond paper based on the same data (Montero et al., 2001) solutions. First, they manipulated private speech produc-
in which they examined private speech's motivational con- tion by auditory distraction for the children. Specifically,
tent in greater detail. They identified different motiva- children wore headphones that played music in a foreign
tional elements in terms of goal orientation (Dweck & language. Second, task difficulty was manipulated by per-
Elliott, 1983; Elliot & Dweck, 2005). These speech utter- forming an individual pretest calibration of difficulty. This
ances were coded into categories such as expectancies individual assessment provided greater certainty that dif-
(i.e., "I'm going to get this"; "I'm going lo make a mis- ficulty level was standardized for all children independent
take"), causal attributions of results (i.e., "I got it right of their dexterity in the task.
because I was paying attention"; "I knew that, but I didn't By applying this method previously tested, de Dios and
notice"), evaluations of results with and without emotional Montero (2003) studied the motivational function of pri-
content (i.e., "I got a little wrong"; "Wrong, oh!" - taking vate speech in two different ways. A holistic perspective
hands to head), emotional reactions (i.e., "Cool!" "Darn!"), was used where all private speech utterances were ana-
and utterances implying ego involvement (i.e., "I'm in first lyzed as influencing classical motivational indicators, such
place"). as performance and persistence. In addition, a molec-
Results of this secondary study showed that manifes- ular focus was used to study the relationship between
tations of different motivational elements were evident specific motivational content of private speech and task

16 the perspective of motivational research, we believe that

spontaneous private speech is a valuable tool for study-
15 ing the development and internali/ation of motivational
14 processes.
Alencio (2003) hypothesized thai private and social dia-
logue within a scaffolded situation would contain "I" state-
12 ments, that is, statements that included "I" in the sen-
1H tence or statements where the "I" was implied, and would
correspond to nonverbal measures ol perceived com-
petence, intrinsic motivation, and relative autonomy. It
9 was assumed lhat coding children's verbalizations lor the
Low Medium High explicit and implicit presence of "I" statements would pro-
Level of Difficulty vide an empirical measure of "mediated self-awareness." A
laxonomv of private and social dialogues (see Table 1 5 . 1 )
Free PS Obstructed PS was created to catcgori/e children's verbali/alions in
terms of (heir mediated self-awareness. Therefore, the
Figure 15.1. Persistence- as a function of private spi.-i.vli ami task relationship between use of private dialogues in the face of
d i f i k i i l l v (from tit- Hiti.s & MonU'ro. 2003).
challenging tasks and sell-system functioning, as indexed
by global measures of sell, was examined to answer both
persistence. The holistic results indicated t h a t the pres- methodological questions in private speech research and
ence of private .speech utterances as children completed theoretical questions put forth by motivational and cogni-
their tasks was greater for tasks of high and moderate tive theories of developmenl.
difficulty. Private speech production also affected persis- It was thus possible to address important gaps in private
tence as a function ot task difficulty. Specifically, persis- speech, self-concept, and motivation literature by creat-
tence was greater in moderately d i f f i c u l t tasks and sig- ing an experimental Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
nificantly increased when children were allowed to freely (Vvgotsky, I 978) to observe children. This experimental
emit private speech without auditory distraction (see Fig- condition allowed children to work at an optimal level of
ure 1 5 . 1 ) . challenge {de Charms, 1968), in an autonomy-supportive
The motivational function of private speech was also and informational situation (Deci & Ryan, 1987), and
examined by cle Dios and Monlero (2003) in a more ana- to be scaffolded (Wertsch & Rogoff, 1984). This type of
lytical way. They classified private speech utterances as scaffolded situation allowed children to sell-direct their
expressing cognitive or- motivational content. They then actions wilh. verbalizations. This opportunity was afforded
compared the absolute and relative frequencies of both by presenting children with tasks lhat gradually increased
types of private speech utterances to measures of persis- in level ol difficulty and tacit adult intervention contingent
tence at three levels of task difficulty. Both cognitive anil upon children's task performance and verbalizations. This
motivational private speech frequencies resulted in a U- type of scaffolding was identified as a "Zone of Executive
shaped pattern in relation to task difficulty and persis- Functioning (7.KF)" (Dia/, Winsler, Alencio, & Harbers,
tence. This means that both cognitive and motivational 1992, p. 158). The ZEF characterizes the type of scaffold
private speech as well as persistence increased when chil- needed for promoting children's self-regulation through
dren worked on tasks oi moderate difficulty. Subsequently, the exercise of their capacity for intentional action. It was
this finding suggests a curvilinear relationship between assumed that this type of social structure not only afforded
persistence and both cognitive private speech and moti- children's self-regulation but also promoted the use of dia-
vational private speech. However, when these compar- logue as a means of motivating task engagement.
isons were made using relative frequencies of cognitive Alencio (2003) examined the relationship between chil-
and motivational private speech, only motivational private dren's spontaneous use of dialogues in the course of solv-
speech matched the pattern lor persistence. Specifically, ing a series of mathematical tasks of increasing diffi-
when the ratio of utterances with motivational content culty under four social conditions and their sell-reported
increased, children's persistence increased proportionally, indices of self and motivational level of development. First,
whereas increases in the ratio of cognitive private speech pencil-and-paper measures that assessed (1) academic
showed no corresponding increases in persistence. intrinsic motivation (as well as intrinsic motivation lor
The authors concluded that the results provided empir- malh); (2) self-regulation development (as well as relative
ical support for the hypothesis t h a i children's pri- autonomy); and (3) self-perception (as well as perceived
vate speech witli motivational content may play a sell- scholastic competence) were administered to 27 second-
rcgulatory role in regard to task persistence. In short, grade children who served as subjects for the study. Chil-
this series of studies suggest that private speech serves dren were then asked to work at solving mathematical
an important f u n c t i o n in self-regulation, not only from a tasks under four specific social conditions: ( I ) while work-
cognitive standpoint as established in earlier literature, ing alone; (2) in collaboration w i t h the experimenter; (3)
but in terms of motivational regulation as well. From challenged by the experimenter; and (4) in a think-aloud

Table 15.1. Private and social speech category system including individual categories, composite assignment, and a
brief example of each type of utterance (from Atencio, 2003)

Categories grouping Example
Social Dialogues Questions to Adult None "Does this go here?"
"Is this one right?"
Answers or Responses to Adult None "OK," "2 t- 6 is 8"
Independent Task Relevant None "The yellow shapes stick better"
"Two more blue shapes in there"
Independent Task Irrelevant Derogative "That's the bell for lunch, David"
"Today we are making costumes"
Self-affirming Affirmative "This one is easy for me"
"I can do these fast because I like math"
Self-degrading Derogative "I don't know how to do this"
"Math is hard for me," "It is not right"

Self-justification or Explanation Affirmative "I am going to make it with blue ones

because I used all the yellow ones already'
Private Dialogues Positive Self-evaluations Affirmative "Easy," "I finished them all"
"I am almost done," "Yes, that's it"
Negative Self-evaluations Derogative "This is too hard"
"Oopsy," "That's not right," "Dummy"
Agency Affirmative "I'm doing this one first"
"And I'll switch this over here"
Rationalization Affirmative "I'll have to make this here
because there is no room here"
Labeling Instrumental "This makes 17"
"That one is 4, and this is 8"
Negative Task Evaluation Derogative " I don't like this one"
"This one is boring"
Controlling Self Derogative "Put this here"
"Get another one"
Interrogating Self Affirmative "Is this right?" "Did I do that one?"
Counting Instrumental (Child counts any series of 2 or
more numbers, e.g., 7-18)
Nonsense Words None "Da, da da"
Whispers Sub-Vocalized (Any utterances that could not be
deciphered after repeated attempts)
Inaudible Mouth Movements Sub-Vocalized (Observed mouth movements without
any perceptible audible feature)

protocol. Finally, children were asked to report their moti- Test taken 2 months before (he start ol the study. Chil-
vational expectations in completing s i m i l a r hypothetical dren's scholastic level of competence was also assessed bv
tasks given their recent experience in t he experimental a standardized teacher rating questionnaire (i.e., Teacher's
condition. Specifically, subjects were asked to report their scale ol the Self Perception Profile for Children, Har-
motivation to continue, t h e i r self-elticacy expectations, ter, 1985). The experimental conditions were intended to
and their interest and enjoyment expectations in f u t u r e , model the developmental progression associated with self-
hypothetical tasks. regulatory development presenied in Vygotskv's theoiy.
The pretest measures were intended to assess chil- Finally, theposttes t requests to form motivational expecta-
dren's motivational and self-system development. Chil- tions were intended to assess the effects of emitting social
dren's math ability was assessed by obtaining children's and private verbal mediation while working on math tasks
scores on the math section ol the S t a n f o r d Achievement on t h e i r self-system and their subsequent task motivation.

The primary dependent variables were children's use speech were found to mediate outcome measures of task
of social dialogues and private dialogues during t h e four motivation. The results of this study reveal a complex
experimental conditions. The social dialogues were coded model ol dialogic activity, motivation, and self-direction
by a seven-category taxonomy derived irom an earlier and expand our understanding of how children emit
pilot sample. From this, two composite categories were speech to mediate their agency.
formed: A f f i r m a t i ve Social and Derogative Social. Chil- In summary, this study (Alencio, 2003) was motivated
dren's use of private utterances was coded using a 12- by a need to synthesize three important lines of research
category taxonomy, again derived from an earlier pilot and to carefully apply a microgenetic analysis ot the func-
sample. l ; rorn these categories, lour composite categories tional significance of verbal mediation to the development
were formed: A f f i r m a t i v e Private Dialogues, Derogative of task motivation. It was important to adopt an under-
Private Dialogues, Instrumental Private Dialogues, and standing of private and social speech as both being dia-
Subvocal Private Dialogues. The last composite category logic. Inspired by both Vvgotskian and Bakhtinia n the-
was created to categori/.e speech that was inaudible, and ory, Atencio felt it necessary lo preserve the notion that
no assumption of its functional significance was made. speech with others and speech w i t h self f u n c t i o n s as a
Performance and time spent on task were identified as tool of motivation because, as dialogue, they afford feed-
non-speech-dcpcndent variables. In addition, seven speech back necessary to affect one's metamotivational system.
categories were used to classify t h e experimenter's ver- By incorporating nonspeech measures of self-regulation,
bal activity during the collaboration and challenge phases. intrinsic motivation, and perceived competence, this study
These utterances were opcrationali/ed as various forms of also addressed the functional significance methodological
verbal scaffolds. problem outlined by Dia/ {1992).
A series ot within-subjects, between-subjecls, and corre- The findings revealed a complex relationship between
lational analyses were performed lo examine the relation- self-reports ol motivational levels in children, their use of
ships between children's self-reported measures of self- private speech lo mediate their motivation and engage-
system development, use of social and private dialogues, ment in task activity w i t h i n their ZPD, and empirical mea-
and outcome measures of task m o t i v a t i o n. In general, the sures of c o n t i n u i n g motivation, perceived self-efficacy,
data revealed that children perform belter when working interest, and enjoyment. Further research is needed to bet-
in collaboration compared to while alone, and t h a t their ter understand these complex relationships. However, the
use of social and p r i v a t e dialogues facilitates t h e i r engage- f i n d i n g that children who reported lower levels of m a t h
ment in task activity. Children who reported lower lev- motivation and lower levels of self-regulation were the stu-
els of m a t h motivation, perceived scholastic competence, dents who used more private speech and who elicited more
and academic self-regulation used far more private speech verbal s c a f f o l d s from the adult provides strong empiri-
to f a c i l i t a t e their engagement in t h e mathematica l tasks. cal evidence lor a sociocultural account of motivation .
An i n t e r e s t i ng finding of the belween-group analyses (i.e., II private speech is a tool tor m o t i v a t i o n much as it is
comparing high and low math motivation groups and high assumed lo be a tool for thinking in the Vvgotskian tradi-
and low relative autonomy groups) revealed t h a t a f f i r m a - tion, then it is expected that children who lack the i n n e r
tive private and social dialogues and derogative private resourccs to motivate and regulate t h e i r a c t i v i ty would
dialogues appear lo function in children's orchestration of rely on the use of this important tool. Furthermore, Vygot-
(ask a c t i v i t y . The data suggested t h a t social and private sky's theory is further supported by the fact that children
speech was a tool of motivation and sell-direction that is who scored lower 011 m a t h motivation and self-regulation
used more when children lack inner resources lor direct ing elicited more verbal scaffold s from the experimenter (it is
and motivating t h e i r activity. This finding was consistent important to mention t h a t the experimenter was blind to
with both Vygolsky's and SDT's notions of internali/.alion children's performance on the pencil-and-paper measures
in development. ol motivation and self regulation). In line with Vygotsky's
Furthermore, w i t h a series of mediational regression theory, the motivation for task activity in t h i s study existed
analyses, further support was found for the hypothesis bevond the skin as an interpsychological phenomenon.
t h a t private speech is a tool and developmental mediator
of motivational processes. Specifically, the types of ver-
bal s c a f f o l d s children receive f r o m others and the ways
in which children perceive themselves predicted their use In general, we believe t h a t there appeal's to be s u f f i c i e n t
of private speech as a tool lor self-direction and self- evidence lor understanding private speech as a tool for
motivation. Indicators of children's self-system develop- motivation in much (he same way thai the field has pro-
ment predicted the degree to which children elicited verbal vided strong empirical support for its function as a tool for
scaffolds from adults in collaborative learning activities. thinking. That evidence is provided by empirical studies
Self-perceptions and use of speech, in t u r n , predicted that address the issue from a Vvgolskian-inspired man-
self-efficacy, interest, and enjoyment. Aptitude complexes ner as much as from other contributions produced from
(Snow, 1987) consisting of global measures of sell-system d i f f e r e n t conceptual frames, such as Social Cognitive The-
development and various forms of social and private ory, Self Determination Theory, and A t t r i b u t i o n and Goal

theories. Equally important is our contention that, prior form implied by our theoretical perspective and research
to our own work and that of Chin and Alexander, the field methodologies (see Cole, 1991; Roth, 2007; Roth & Lee,
did progress toward investigations of motivational func- 2007; Wells, 2007). The holistic perspective adopted by
tions ol private speech in its explicit categori/ations oi CHAT views a more systems analysis as necessary for
private speech that possess strong conative, affective, and addressing motivational development from the contextual,
motivalional connotations. dialogical, and cultural-historical approach suggested in
In addition, the mediational role postulated for pri- this chapter. Though we agree in principle, we feel that
vate speech in the realm of human t h i n k i n g must he we have a significant amount of empirical and theoretical
applied to motivational and meta-molivational process work ahead. We hope that future studies in this area will
as well. Consistent with Wolters (2003), il is necessary help advance our understanding ol the verbal mediation of
to clarily and distinguish among different aspects and motivational development from a CHAT perspective that
constructs currently postulated by researchers in the field is able to oiler a more complete understanding of the com-
and to articulate their hierarchical relationships in terms plex nature of motivalional development. In doing so, we
of approximating the volitional nature ol human activ- hope to establish new epislemological and methodological
ity. The research that has specifically examined motiva- grounds for deepening our understanding of motivational
tional aspects of private speech establishes a firm foun- systems in human development and lunctioning.
dation lor continued research in this area. We are opti-
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