About Abraham Maslow And His Pyramid
Published on Sunday, November 20th, 2011 at 10:26 pm and is filed under Famous Psychologists
The Psychologist Abraham Maslow – Theory Of Human Needs Hierarchy
Abraham Maslow (born on the 1st of April in 1908, dead on the 8th of June in 1970) was an
American humanist psychologist. He is known for his proposal on his theory of human needs hierarchy.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York, as the first child of Jewish family immigrants from Russia. At the insistence of parents, Abraham studied Law three semesters at City College of New York, then moved to Cornell University, but then came back to CCNY. He married his cousin Bertha Goodman and moved to Wisconsin to study at the University of Wisconsin where he got his Doctorate Degree in psychology (1934). In Wisconsin, Maslow studied with harry Harlow and than came back to New York to work with E.L. Thorndike at Columbia University.
Professor Maslow began teaching at Brooklyn College as owner. During this period he met many European psychologists, including Alfred Adler and Erich Fromm. In 1951, Maslow became head of psychology department at Brandeis University, where he began theoretical research. There he met Kurt Goldstein, who suggested him the idea of self – actualization.
He retired in California in 1970, where at the age of 62 years, died of a heart disease.
His main contribution to psychology was the problem of human needs hierarchy. Maslow noted that human beings are not pushed or attracted by mechanical force, but rather by stimuli, customs or instinctive unknown impulses. Thus, he affirmed that human beings are motivated by certain unsatisfied needs and that lower needs of the pyramid should be satisfied before it could reach the top.
One of the key differences from the other two heads of that time psychology (Freud and B.F. Skinner) was the low interest of Maslow for insane and mentally ill people and geared towards people that he classified as fully “functional”, having “healthy” (or rather self – present), such as Einstein, Lincoln, Jefferson, Schweitzer, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, Frederick Douglas.
Although all needs are instinctive, not all are equally strong. Thus, the strongest needs were places at the bottom of needs. As more a need climbs the pyramid as weaker and specific is for an individual. It is notices that primary needs are common for people and animals. They include physiological needs (such as biological as food, water, air, hygiene) sleep, sex and a constant body temperature.
Once the person meets this level of needs, she can focus on safety needs. They have to do with stability and consistency in a relative chaotic world. They are included in physical integrity, such as home and family security. In some cases, the need of safety motivates some individuals to become religious, religion offers the promise of safety and heaven place.
The next is the need of love and membership. Here are included the need of friendship, family, group membership or involvement in an intimate non-sexual relationship.
Level four is occupied by esteem needs. These include the recognition from others (resulting from feelings of power, prestige, acceptance, etc.) and the self – respect, creating the sense of confidence, fitness and competence. The dissatisfaction of esteem needs leads to discouragement and long term inferiority complex. A pronounced need of this kind (the need for admiration) is based on underlying unmeet needs in the pyramid, the self – actualization aesthetics.
Self – actualization needs come from instinctive pleasure of man to enrich his capacities, to become better and better. In the essay “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature”, Maslow writes that people who have reached the state of self – actualization often fall into a state of transcendence they become aware not only of their personal potential, but the full potential of the human species. Although these individuals often live ecstatic joy also a cosmic sadness.
The first four levels of the pyramid are needs so – called “deficiency”: a person doesn’t feel anything special if these aren’t satisfied, but feels uncomfortable when they aren’t satisfied. Beyond these needs the following are called “growth”. These don’t disappear when they are satisfied, contrary they motivate individual.
In 1970 Maslow published a revision of the pyramid from 1954, placing the tip of cognitive needs (to know, understand and explore) and aesthetic (for beauty, order, symmetry). However, not all versions include the last two levels of his pyramid. Maslow theorized that unfulfilled cognitive needs become neurotic needs (non-productive, which perpetuates an unhealthy lifestyle). For example, children whose safety needs are not met adequately may become adults who set aside money or different possessions.
Maslow believed that the only reason that people don’t move towards self – update is due to obstacles from society, especially through a poor education which can’t change a person with a bad education for life in person with a positive approach. Maslow feels that educators should be responsible for the potential that an individual has to reach self – actualization in his own way.
Maslow was questioned on his study of scientific personality. Many researches believe that, although important, his work is based only on case studies and experimental work in question blames lack self – updating.