Abraham Malsow and the Hierarchy of Needs

Founder of Humanistic Psychology
Founder of Humanistic Psychology

The Needs

Abraham Maslow was one of the founding fathers of humanistic psychology.  During his research, he developed a theory about personality development known as the Hierarchy of Needs. It is hard to say if his theory is accurate, however many people have faith in personality tests developed according to the theory.  Such a personality test may be able to determine where a person falls on the Hierarchy of Needs and how close he or she is to realizing self-actualization.

The Hierarchy of Needs
The Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow lived from 1908 until 1970.  One of the biggest contributions that he offered to the field of psychology is the Hierarchy of Needs theory.  This theory is based upon the idea that each individual has specific instinctual needs that must be fulfilled (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2007).  The needs are listed in a hierarchy fashion and one cannot get to the next level without fulfilling the level that he or she is on. 

The first level of needs are physiological ones.  This includes things such as air to breathe, food to eat, and water to drink.  Safety needs are next and include such things as feeling safe in one’s environment and having shelter.  Belongingness and love needs follow safety needs and include the feeling that one is appreciated and cared for by friends and family (Hergenhahn and Olson, 2007).  Esteem needs are next and include the feelings that a person holds about himself or herself.

The last level of needs is rarely achieved, according to Maslow.  Self-actualization is the feeling that one is being all that he or she is meant to be.  It is at the top and is unachievable if a person has not fulfilled the needs below it.  Self-actualization allows a person to see problems outside of him or herself (PBS.org, 1998).  Maslow believed that people were naturally good and that if more people fulfilled self-actualization, the world would be a much better place.


On the website, similarminds.org, Tim Flynn developed a personality test based upon Maslow’s theory of needs.  The test is made up of thirty-six questions that are used to determined where one’s needs lie on the hierarchy of needs ladder (Flynn, 2010).  The questions are answered as being very inaccurate to very accurate on a rating scale and users are instructed to be as honest as possible when answering the questions. 

Go to Similarminds.org to take the test yourself.  Come back here and tell me what you think about it.

After You Complete The Test...

Do you think that the Malsow Assessment Test is Accurate ?

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You Get Some Idea....

While the accuracy of this test is not defined, it seems to be a good tool for determining needs based upon Maslow’s theory. For a person that takes the test as honestly as possible, he or she may get a good idea about what his or her needs are. If a person is aware of what needs they have, he or she may be willing to work on those needs so that self-actualization can occur. Being more aware of what is needed is a first step.

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Comments 4 comments

Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

Nice hub. *_*

Sorry to say, though, I have issues with Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. According to his hierarchy sex is just as important as breathing, eating, taking in fluids, and eliminating waste from the body. (meaning, I'll die without it!!) Also, according to the hierarchy, sex is more important than feeling safe & secure, belonging & friendship, and must come before success can be attained.

Sorry, but I don't place such a high emphasis on sex - sex is an expression of love between two people that is dependent on self-respect and a healthy attitude toward others. I tell ya, one of these days I really do intend to prove this hierarchy as a fallacy!

ChristinaScibona profile image

ChristinaScibona 6 years ago from The Heart of the Finger Lakes Author

Thanks for the comment Rafini. I am not sure that the needs describe go in the exact order that is described in maslow's theory, however it does have some meritt. I can see the general reasoning behind his ideas. Thanks for stopping by.

vinsanity 5 years ago

I learned about this in my Philosophy 201 class last year. I believe it.

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia

Hi. I linked this hub to my article on Personality Test at http://hubpages.com/education/Personality-Test-Ass... Thanks

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