Abraham Maslow is regarded as the father of Humanistic Psychology. This research paper will introduce and provide a thorough overview of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Professionals in a variety of different fields, especially those in the field of education, use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. There are 5 peer reviewed sources, including Maslow’s own book and an article, have been analyzed for the following research paper. This research paper is divided into 2 parts. In Part I, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs have been briefly introduced. In Part II, each of the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid are described and elaborated in more detail. As with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid is itself, this research paper begins by addressing the most basic needs for survival that can be found at the bottom of the pyramid and proceed on to the describing the more complex needs. Finally conclusion briefly alludes to the significance of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Over the years, many have been interested in studying human behavior. We have never been able to uncover the mystery of why people behave in particular ways. Abraham Maslow stated in his Theory of Human Motivation that both internal and external factors or forces control human heavier rather than either of them. He also believed and stressed that human beings are distinctly capable of making choices and exercising free-will (Allport, 1981). His studies led him to believe that human beings have specific needs that are genetic in origin and do not change. These needs are both physiological and psychological, and people from any culture have these needs. It has been noted that the life cycle, from birth to adulthood, is followed by Maslow’s hierarchy (Wahba & Bridwell, 1976).
In Maslow’s pyramid of Hierarchy of Needs, there are basically five levels of needs (Maslow, 2011). The first two from the bottom, the physiological and safety needs are the basic needs, the belongingness/love needs and esteem needs are psychological needs, and finally, the self-actualization needs are the self-fulfillment needs.
II. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
The physiological and safety needs in Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid can also be categorized as Basic Needs and the rest as Growth Needs. Before proceeding on to fulfilling the higher level growth needs, the lower basic needs must be satisfied. The only way to reach the topmost level of Maslow’s pyramid of Hierarchy of Needs known as self-actualization is to reasonably satisfy the rest of the needs.
Biological needs fall under the first level of needs, the physiological needs. For instance, human beings need to eat, drink, breathe in oxygen, and have a shelter to stay. Our cravings tend to influence our physiological needs. When we crave something, we start needing it, and then we try to fulfill that need. The notion of physiological needs remains the same throughout life. Human beings consistently have the need to main appropriate physiological balance. It is true that physiological needs are tied into the more intricate needs of Maslow’s hierarchy. He believed that once human beings reasonably satisfy physiological needs, they proceed to addressing the more intricate needs.
Safety and security needs are the second level of needs in Maslow’s hierarchy. Just like physiological needs, the need to feel safe and secure has to be maintained throughout life. It is more of a psychological need. Safety needs are essential for infants. Adults usually realize their safety needs during chaotic and emergency situations. Children are often insecure and display the need for a safe environment (Drinnien, Irwin & Simons, 1987). The safety needs of children are more apparent and simple but they have greater safety needs, while adults have more complicated safety needs but those needs are satisfied in a good, peaceful society. Human beings cannot live a stable life without fulfilling the need for safety. Unless people do not feel absolutely safe, they cannot progress to the next level in Maslow’s pyramid of hierarchy of needs.
Belongingness and Love Needs
Once physiological and safety needs are satisfied, the next level of needs that emerge are the needs for affection, belongingness, and love on a social level. Maslow states that human beings give and ask for affection, love, and the sense of belonging in return so that they do not have to feel alienated and lonely. Human beings feel the need for belongingness and love are when they want to build relationships with others. For instance, in our everyday life, we display these needs since we want to have friends and a romantic partner, we wish to get married, to start a family, and become a part of community. The self-esteem of human beings depends on their level of belongingness. Peers may view an individual negatively because of his low level of belongingness, and that may make it hard for him or her to reach the next level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Human beings move on to the first growth need, the needs of self-esteem, after fulfilling the basic physiology, safety and belongingness needs. Like the previous needs, human beings must maintain their self-esteem needs. The need for self-respect, which includes the desire accomplishments, adequacy, aptitude, and confidence, is the first component of self-esteem needs. The need to gain respect from others in the form of appraisal approval, prestige, reputation, and status, is the second component of self-esteem needs. While fulfilling the previous needs within Maslow’s hierarchy can be adequately fulfilled in modern society, but building one’s self-esteem can take effort and time, and of course, the previous needs must be satisfied first.
Maslow defines self-actualization as an integral element within his pyramid of hierarchy of needs. The need for self-actualization is independent but all the previous needs must be achieved to reach the level of self-actualization. Just about every individual reaches the level of self-actualization at some point in their life. If people do not satisfy their previous needs, they focus more on resolving them, and so, they will not be able to establish self-actualization. Maslow believes that people are born to do certain things and the need to do those things can be described as the need for self-actualization. In short, the need for self-actualization is the need for self-fulfillment, where all the needs of a personal have been fulfilled and are being consistently maintained.
Without taking into account the highest ambition and desire of human life, perhaps we will never be able uncover the mystery of why people behave in particular ways. We must accept the fact human beings all over the world strive for something, and in Maslow’s pyramid of hierarchy of needs, it is the need for self-actualization. When looking at Maslow’s pyramid hierarchy of needs, we must keep in mind that it is possible to oscillate between the levels of hierarchy at any point, and it is possible to go back ("Maslow's hierarchy of,"). In other words, the needs in Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid must not only be fulfilled but need to be maintained as well.
Allport, G. W. (1981). Personality and social encounter (midway reprint). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Drinnien, B., Irwin, D., & Simons, J. (1987). Psychology—the search for understanding. New York: West Publishing Company.
Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. (3rd revised ed. ed.). New York: Harper & Row.
Maslow, A. H. (2011). Hierarchy of needs: A theory of human motivation [kindle edition]. www.all-about-psychology.com.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.netmba.com/mgmt/ob/motivation/maslow/
Wahba, M. A., & Bridwell, L. G. (1976). Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 15(2), 212–240.