Maslow's hierarchy of needs  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology that Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, which he subsequently extended to include his observations of humans' innate curiosity. His theory contended that as humans meet 'basic needs', they seek to satisfy successively 'higher needs' that occupy a set hierarchy. Maslow studied exemplary people such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglass rather than mentally ill or neurotic people, writing that "the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy. Maslow also studied one percent of the healthiest college student population. While Maslow's theory was regarded as an improvement over previous theories of personality and motivation, it had its detractors. For example, in their extensive review of research that is dependent on Maslow's theory, Wabha and Bridwell (1976) found little evidence for the ranking of needs that Maslow described, or even for the existence of a definite hierarchy at all.

Contents

Deficiency needs

The lower four layers of the pyramid are what Maslow called "deficiency needs" or "D-needs": physiological, safety and security, love and belonging, and esteem. With the exception of the lowest (physiological) needs, if these "deficiency needs" are not met, the body gives no physical indication but the individual feels anxious and tense.

Physiological needs

For the most part, physiological needs are obvious - they are the literal requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met (with the exception of sex), the human body simply cannot continue to function.

Physiological needs include:

see also, bodily functions

Safety needs

With their physical needs relatively satisfied, the individual's safety needs take over and dominate their behavior. These needs have to do with people's yearning for a predictable, orderly world in which injustice and inconsistency are under control, the familiar frequent and the unfamiliar rare. In the world of work, these safety needs manifest themselves in such things as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, and the like.

For the most part, physiological and safety needs are reasonably well satisfied in the "First World." The obvious exceptions, of course, are people outside the mainstream — the poor and the disadvantaged. If frustration has not led to apathy and weakness, such people still struggle to satisfy the basic physiological and safety needs. They are primarily concerned with survival: obtaining adequate food, clothing, shelter, and seeking justice from the dominant societal groups.

Safety and Security needs include:

  • Personal security
  • Financial security
  • Health and well-being
  • Safety net against accidents/illness and the adverse impacts

Social needs

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs is social. This psychological aspect of Maslow's hierarchy involves emotionally-based relationships in general, such as:

Humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from a large social group, such as clubs, office culture, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, gangs ("Safety in numbers"), or small social connections (family members, intimate partners, mentors, close colleagues, confidants). They need to love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others. In the absence of these elements, many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and Clinical depression. This need for belonging can often overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure; an anorexic, for example, ignores the need to eat and the security of health for a feeling of control and belonging.

Esteem

All humans have a need to be respected, to have self-esteem, self-respect, and to respect. Also known as the belonging need, esteem presents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued, be it in a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self-esteem or an inferiority complex. People with low self-esteem need respect from others. They may seek fame or glory, which again depends on others. It may be noted, however, that many people with low self-esteem will not be able to improve their view of themselves simply by receiving fame, respect, and glory externally, but must first accept themselves internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can also prevent one from obtaining self-esteem on both levels.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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