The Authentic Inner Compass as an Important Motivational Experience and Structure: Antecedents and Benefits

Avi Assor, Moti Benita, Yael Geifman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the sense of having an authentic inner compass (AIC): the perception and feeling of knowing what is really important to one, because one has explicit and articulable self-guiding core preferences that feel voluntary and authentic. These core preferences reflect foundational values and personal inclinations, and long-term goals derived from them. The experience of having an AIC is presented as one of five facets of the meta-need for authentic self-direction (i.e., autonomy), which together promote optimal realization of more specific basic needs and personal inclinations. Research shows that the experience of having a firm AIC promotes true volition to engage in activities and contexts enabling AIC realization, vitality, sense of meaning, resisting negative peer pressures, and other optimal-functioning indicators. Educational and childrearing practices promoting or hindering AIC development are presented. The emphasis on articulable authentic core preferences underlying the sense of AIC reflects a view of autonomy as authentic intentionality and agency.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Self-Determination Theory
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780197600078
ISBN (Print)9780197600047
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • authentic inner compass
  • authenticity
  • autonomy need satisfaction
  • control
  • fostering inner valuing
  • freedom
  • inherent value demonstration
  • motivation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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