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An Overview of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideFebruary 4, 2009

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Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is usually depicted as a pyramid.

Numerous questions have emerged about the what motivates us, such as whether or not psychological needs motivate our behavior and which needs must be met in order to remain psychologically healthy. While Sigmund Freud postulated that human behavior is motivated by aggressive needs, humanist Abraham Maslow suggested that both basic biological needs as well as higher-level psychological needs were essential human motivators.

In contrast to many psychological theories that focus on abnormal behavior or negative experiences, psychologist Abraham Maslow's work centered almost exclusively on the positive side of the human experience. His well known hierarchy of needs presents a theory of motivation that focuses on the importance of personal growth and self-actualization.

First proposed in 1943, the hierarchy represents various needs that motivate human behavior. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is most often displayed as a pyramid, with lowest levels of the pyramid made up of the most basic needs while more complex needs can be found at the top of the pyramid.

Learn more about Maslow's hierarchy of needs.


February 8, 2009 at 6:48 pm
(1)Greg Stewartsays:

I was thinking about Maslow?s H.O.N. the other day.
It occured to me, that in the capitalist, ?we want the world and we want it now?( Morrison J. 1969) societies in which we live, needs are constantly shifting and things that one can ?need? are being created as we speak.
Furthermore, I dont see how one can speak of self actualisation without experiencing it! At least it is like Einstien conveying his theory of relativity to a caveman, or a similar dilemma.

February 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm

I believe this hierarchy is a basic rule for good HRM.

August 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

A. Maslow said needs are the same for ALL humans no matter what society they live in. Our basic motivations begin with survival and as we meet those needs our urgency decreases. With these basic needs met we are ready to look at other human needs that are not so crucial.

Humans want to be loved, want happiness, want food and sex and comfort (check Maslow?s HoN). Motivation is the foundation to the ways we get it. It is our behavior that tell us something about what is really motivating us to do the things we do.

In turn knowing what is actually motivating behavior that is not conducive to your life helps to find other behaviors that will meet your needs more efficiently w/o harming.

An interesting concept is seen in an eating disorder such as Anorexia. Normally people seek food as one of the lowest basic needs but when the heiarchy of needs get skewed because of a perceived motivation (desired love) some people take extreme measures to get the love they need by not eating. This goes against survival but in the mind of the individual, they get what they think is love- at first its attention even admiration then its concern-maybe parental concern, medical attention, attention of therapists, educators, friends, etc. In the end they either die or reinvent what it takes to be loved and work themselves back to eating toward the goal of the intended natural motivation-survival. In my opinion Maslow was a free thinker-meaning he wasn?t guided by the religious and political pressures that surrounded (s) psychology.

Cognitive Therapy takes these ideas and uses them to help people reinvent how they think about something so they can get their needs met in more appropiate means. ?Change the way you think about it, and it will change the way you behave toward it.?

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