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Old Sunday, September 09, 2012
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Thumbs up Abraham Moslow's Theory


Hierarchy of Needs

(The Five Levels of Maslow's
Hierarchy of Needs)

Psychologist Abraham Maslow first
introduced his concept of a hierarchy
of needs in his 1943 paper "A Theory
of Human Motivation" and his
subsequent book Motivation and
Personality . This hierarchy suggests
that people are motivated to fulfill
basic needs before moving on to
other, more advanced needs.
This hierarcy is most often displayed
as a pyramid. The lowest levels of the
pyramid are made up of the most
basic needs, while the more complex
needs are located at the top of the
pyramid. Needs at the bottom of the
pyramid are basic physical
requirements including the need for
food, water, sleep, and warmth. Once
these lower-level needs have been
met, people can move on to the next
level of needs, which are for safety
and security.
As people progress up the pyramid,
needs become increasingly
psychological and social. Soon, the
need for love , friendship, and intimacy
become important. Further up the
pyramid, the need for personal
esteem and feelings of
accomplishment take priority. Like Carl
Rogers , Maslow emphasized the
importance of self-actualization, which
is a process of growing and
developing as a person in order to
achieve individual potential.

Types of Needs

Maslow believed that these needs are
similar to instincts and play a major
role in motivating behavior.
Physiological, security, social, and
esteem needs are deficiency needs
(also known as D-needs ), meaning
that these needs arise due to
deprivation. Satisfying these lower-
level needs is important in order to
avoid unpleasant feelings or
Maslow termed the highest-level of
the pyramid as growth needs (also
known as being needs or B-needs ).
Growth needs do not stem from a lack
of something, but rather from a desire
to grow as a person.

Five Levels of the Hierarchy of

There are five different levels in
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

1.Physiological Needs
These include the most basic needs
that are vital to survival, such as the
need for water, air, food, and sleep.
Maslow believed that these needs are
the most basic and instinctive needs in
the hierarchy because all needs
become secondary until these
physiological needs are met.

2. Security Needs
These include needs for safety and
security. Security needs are important
for survival, but they are not as
demanding as the physiological
needs. Examples of security needs
include a desire for steady
employment, health insurance, safe
neighborhoods, and shelter from the

3. Social Needs
These include needs for belonging,
love, and affection. Maslow
considered these needs to be less
basic than physiological and security
needs. Relationships such as
friendships, romantic attachments,
and families help fulfill this need for
companionship and acceptance, as
does involvement in social,
community, or religious groups.

4. Esteem Needs
After the first three needs have been
satisfied, esteem needs becomes
increasingly important. These include
the need for things that reflect on self-
esteem, personal worth, social
recognition, and accomplishment.

5. Self-actualizing Needs
This is the highest level of Maslow’s
hierarchy of needs. Self-actualizing
people are self-aware, concerned with
personal growth, less concerned with
the opinions of others, and interested
fulfilling their potential.

Criticisms of Maslow’s Hierarchy
of Needs

While some research showed some
support for Maslow's theories, most
research has not been able to
substantiate the idea of a needs
hierarchy. Wahba and Bridwell
reported that there was little evidence
for Maslow's ranking of these needs
and even less evidence that these
needs are in a hierarchical order.
Other criticisms of Maslow's theory
note that his definition of self-
actualization is difficult to test
scientifically. His research on self-
actualization was also based on a very
limited sample of individuals,
including people he knew as well as
biographies of famous individuals that
Maslow believed to be self-actualized,
such as Albert Einstein and Eleanor
Roosevelt. Regardless of these
criticisms, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
represents part of an important shift
in psychology. Rather than focusing
on abnormal behavior and
development, Maslow's humanistic
psychology was focused on the
development of healthy individuals.
While there was relatively little
research supporting the theory,
hierarchy of needs is well-known and
popular both in and out of
psychology. In a study published in
2011, researchers from the University
of Illinois set out to put the hierarchy
to the test. What they discovered is
that while fulfillment of the needs was
strongly correlated with happiness,
people from cultures all over the
reported that self-actualization and
social needs were important even
when many of the most basic needs
were unfulfilled.

What Is Self-Actualization?

What exactly is self-actualization?
Located at the peak of Abraham
Maslow's hierarchy, he described this
high-level need in the following way:

"What a man can be, he must be. This
need we may call self-actualization…It
refers to the desire for self-fulfillment,
namely, to the tendency for him to
become actualized in what he is
potentially. This tendency might be
phrased as the desire to become
more and more what one is, to
become everything that one is capable
of becoming."

While the theory is generally
portrayed as a fairly rigid hierarchy,
Maslow noted that the order in which
these needs are fulfilled does not
always follow this standard
progression. For example, he notes
that for some individuals, the need for
self-esteem is more important than
the need for love. For others, the
need for creative fulfillment may
supersede even the most basic needs.

Characteristics of Self-Actualized

In addition to describing what is
meant by self-actualization in his
theory, Maslow also identified some of
the key characteristics of self-
actualized people;

Acceptance and Realism: Self-
actualized people have realistic
perceptions of themselves, others and
the world around them.

Problem-centering: Self-actualized
individuals are concerned with solving
problems outside of themselves,
including helping others and finding
solutions to problems in the external
world. These people are often
motivated by a sense of personal
responsibility and ethics.

Spontaneity: Self-actualized people
are spontaneous in their internal
thoughts and outward behavior.
While they can conform to rules and
social expectations, they also tend to
be open and unconventional.

Autonomy and Solitude: Another
characteristic of self-actualized people
is the need for independence and
privacy. While they enjoy the company
of others, these individuals need time
to focus on developing their own
individual potential.

Continued Freshness of
Appreciation: Self-actualized people
tend to view the world with a
continual sense of appreciation,
wonder and awe. Even simple
experiences continue to be a source
of inspiration and pleasure.

Peak Experiences: Individuals who
are self-actualized often have what
Maslow termed peak experiences, or
moments of intense joy, wonder, awe
and ecstasy. After these experiences,
people feel inspired, strengthened,
renewed or transformed.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts" Winston Churchill
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