Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs Simply Psychology

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Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Simply Saul McLeod, updated 2018Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tiermodel of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological, safety, love andbelonging, esteem and self-actualization. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfiedbefore individuals can attend to needs higher up.Deficiency needs vs. growth needsThis five-stage model can be divided into deficiency needs and growth needs. The first fourlevels are often referred to as deficiency needs (D-needs), and the top level is known as growthor being needs (B-needs).1/11

Deficiency needs arise due to deprivation and are said to motivate people when they areunmet. Also, the motivation to fulfill such needs will become stronger the longer the durationthey are denied. For example, the longer a person goes without food, the more hungry they willbecome.Maslow (1943) initially stated that individuals must satisfy lower level deficit needs beforeprogressing on to meet higher level growth needs. However, he later clarified that satisfactionof a needs is not an “all-or-none” phenomenon, admitting that his earlier statements may havegiven “the false impression that a need must be satisfied 100 percent before the next needemerges” (1987, p. 69).When a deficit need has been 'more or less' satisfied it will go away, and our activities becomehabitually directed towards meeting the next set of needs that we have yet to satisfy. Thesethen become our salient needs. However, growth needs continue to be felt and may evenbecome stronger once they have been engaged.Growth needs do not stem from a lack of something, but rather from a desire to grow as aperson. Once these growth needs have been reasonably satisfied, one may be able to reachthe highest level called self-actualization.Every person is capable and has the desire to move up the hierarchy toward a level of selfactualization. Unfortunately, progress is often disrupted by a failure to meet lower level needs.Life experiences, including divorce and loss of a job, may cause an individual to fluctuatebetween levels of the hierarchy.Therefore, not everyone will move through the hierarchy in a uni-directional manner but maymove back and forth between the different types of needs.2/11

The original hierarchy of needs five-stage model includes:Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that someneeds take precedence over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this willbe the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is fulfilled the next level up iswhat motivates us, and so on.1. Physiological needs - these are biological requirements for human survival, e.g. air, food,drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep.If these needs are not satisfied the human body cannot function optimally. Maslow consideredphysiological needs the most important as all the other needs become secondary until these needsare met.2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.3. Love and belongingness needs - after physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled, thethird level of human needs is social and involves feelings of belongingness. The need forinterpersonal relationships motivates behaviorExamples include friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection andlove. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work).4. Esteem needs - which Maslow classified into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity,achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g.,status, prestige).Maslow indicated that the need for respect or reputation is most important for children andadolescents and precedes real self-esteem or dignity.5. Self-actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personalgrowth and peak experiences. A desire “to become everything one is capable ofbecoming”(Maslow, 1987, p. 64).3/11

Maslow posited that human needs are arranged in a hierarchy:"It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens toman’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?At once other (and “higher”) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hungers,dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still “higher”)needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs areorganized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency" (Maslow, 1943, p. 375).Maslow continued to refine his theory based on the concept of a hierarchy of needs overseveral decades (Maslow, 1943, 1962, 1987).Regarding the structure of his hierarchy, Maslow (1987) proposed that the order in thehierarchy “is not nearly as rigid” (p. 68) as he may have implied in his earlier description.Maslow noted that the order of needs might be flexible based on external circumstances orindividual differences. For example, he notes that for some individuals, the need for selfesteem is more important than the need for love. For others, the need for creative fulfillmentmay supersede even the most basic needs.Maslow (1987) also pointed out that most behavior is multi-motivated and noted that “anybehavior tends to be determined by several or all of the basic needs simultaneously rather thanby only one of them” (p. 71).Hierarchy of needs summary4/11

(a) human beings are motivated by a hierarchy of needs.(b) needs are organized in a hierarchy of prepotency in which more basic needs must be more orless met (rather than all or none) prior to higher needs.(c) the order of needs is not rigid but instead may be flexible based on external circumstances orindividual differences.(d) most behavior is multi-motivated, that is, simultaneously determined by more than one basicneed.The expanded hierarchy of needsIt is important to note that Maslow's (1943, 1954) five-stage model has been expanded toinclude cognitive and aesthetic needs (Maslow, 1970a) and later transcendence needs(Maslow, 1970b).Changes to the original five-stage model are highlighted and include a seven-stage model andan eight-stage model; both developed during the 1960's and 1970s.1. Biological and physiological needs - air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep, etc.2. Safety needs - protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, etc.3. Love and belongingness needs - friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving andgiving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work).4. Esteem needs - which Maslow classified into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity,achievement, mastery, independence) and (ii) the desire for reputation or respect from others (e.g.,status, prestige).5. Cognitive needs - knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning andpredictability.6. Aesthetic needs - appreciation and search for beauty, balance, form, etc.7. Self-actualization needs - realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growthand peak experiences.8. Transcendence needs - A person is motivated by values which transcend beyond the personalself (e.g., mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexualexperiences, service to others, the pursuit of science, religious faith, etc.).5/11

Self-actualizationInstead of focusing on psychopathology and what goes wrong with people, Maslow (1943)formulated a more positive account of human behavior which focused on what goes right. Hewas interested in human potential, and how we fulfill that potential.Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943, 1954) stated that human motivation is based on peopleseeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. Self-actualized people are those whowere fulfilled and doing all they were capable of.The growth of self-actualization (Maslow, 1962) refers to the need for personal growth anddiscovery that is present throughout a person’s life. For Maslow, a person is always 'becoming'and never remains static in these terms. In self-actualization, a person comes to find ameaning to life that is important to them.As each individual is unique, the motivation for self-actualization leads people in differentdirections (Kenrick et al., 2010). For some people self-actualization can be achieved throughcreating works of art or literature, for others through sport, in the classroom, or within a6/11

corporate setting.Maslow (1962) believed self-actualization could be measured through the concept of peakexperiences. This occurs when a person experiences the world totally for what it is, and thereare feelings of euphoria, joy, and wonder.It is important to note that self-actualization is a continual process of becoming rather than aperfect state one reaches of a 'happy ever after' (Hoffman, 1988).Maslow offers the following description of self-actualization:'It refers to the person’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to becomeactualized in what he is potentially.The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person.In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may beexpressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or ininventions' (Maslow, 1943, p. 382–383).Characteristics of self-actualized peopleAlthough we are all, theoretically, capable of self-actualizing, most of us will not do so, or onlyto a limited degree. Maslow (1970) estimated that only two percent of people would reach thestate of self-actualization. He was especially interested in the characteristics of people whomhe considered to have achieved their potential as individuals.By studying 18 people he considered to be self-actualized (including Abraham Lincoln andAlbert Einstein) Maslow (1970) identified 15 characteristics of a self-actualized person.Characteristics of self-actualizers:1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;3. Spontaneous in thought and action;4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);5. Unusual sense of humor;6. Able to look at life objectively;7. Highly creative;8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;7/11

10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;12. Peak experiences;13. Need for privacy;14. Democratic attitudes;15. Strong moral/ethical standards.Behavior leading to self-actualization:(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition,authority or the majority;(d) Avoiding pretense ('game playing') and being honest;(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.The characteristics of self-actualizers and the behaviors leading to self-actualization areshown in the list above. Although people achieve self-actualization in their own unique way,they tend to share certain characteristics. However, self-actualization is a matter of degree,'There are no perfect human beings' (Maslow,1970a, p. 176).It is not necessary to display all 15 characteristics to become self-actualized, and not only selfactualized people will display them. Maslow did not equate self-actualization with perfection.Self-actualization merely involves achieving one's potential. Thus, someone can be silly,wasteful, vain and impolite, and still self-actualize. Less than two percent of the populationachieve self-actualization.Rogers' Theory of Self-ActualizationEducational applicationsMaslow's (1962) hierarchy of needs theory has made a major contribution to teaching andclassroom management in schools. Rather than reducing behavior to a response in theenvironment, Maslow (1970a) adopts a holistic approach to education and learning. Maslowlooks at the complete physical, emotional, social, and intellectual qualities of an individual andhow they impact on learning.8/11

Applications of Maslow's hierarchy theory to the work of the classroom teacher are obvious.Before a student's cognitive needs can be met, they must first fulfill their basic physiologicalneeds. For example, a tired and hungry student will find it difficult to focus on learning.Students need to feel emotionally and physically safe and accepted within the classroom toprogress and reach their full potential.Maslow suggests students must be shown that they are valued and respected in theclassroom, and the teacher should create a supportive environment. Students with a low selfesteem will not progress academically at an optimum rate until their self-esteem isstrengthened.Maslow (1971, p. 195) argued that a humanistic educational approach would develop people whoare “stronger, healthier, and would take their own lives into their hands to a greater extent. Withincreased personal responsibility for one’s personal life, and witha rational set of values to guideone’s choosing, people would begin to actively change the society in which they lived”.Critical evaluationThe most significant limitation of Maslow's theory concerns his methodology. Maslowformulated the characteristics of self-actualized individuals from undertaking a qualitativemethod called biographical analysis.He looked at the biographies and writings of 18 people he identified as being self-actualized.From these sources, he developed a li

3. Love and belongingness needs - friendship, intimacy, trust, and acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love. Affiliating, being part of a group (family, friends, work). 4. Esteem needs - which Maslow classified into two categories: (i) esteem for oneself (dignity,