ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - A Theory of Human Motivation

Updated on May 2, 2014

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was one of the great American psychologists of the 20th Century. He was born in 1908 and died at the age of 62 in 1970. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was his most famous work and was proposed in his paper of 1943 ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’.

Maslow took a new approach to a psychology and motivation which in the mid-1900s was concerned mainly with the fixing of peoples problems and making sick people better. His approach concentrated more on how people can positively improve themselves and what their desires and motivations are and how they can reach their human potential. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs dictates a roadmap for how a person can reach their ultimate potential and the stages they must pass through to get there.

In Maslow’s 1943 paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’ he focused on what motivates humans to reach their personal and spiritual goals and determined that to reach our ultimate goals you would first have to conquer your more basic needs. Thus Maslows Hierarchy of Needs was born.

The book that started it all...

Maslow's Pyramid

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs originally identified 5 levels of basic human needs, however he later extended his theory and identified a further 3 levels of motivation in the Hierarchy. The Hierarchy of needs was arranged in such a way that you were only motivated by a human need if you had already satisfied the previous human need in the hierarchy. Therefore you would only be concerned with the esteem needs such as the respect of others if you had enough food to eat and water to drink.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is usually displayed in the form of a pyramid. The Pyramid identifies the more basic human needs at the bottom of the Hierarchy and the more spiritual human needs at the point of the Pyramid. So you ascend from basic to spiritual needs from the bottom to the top of the Pyramid.

Abraham Maslows Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Additional considerations

Although the levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are standard across all societies, the extent to which they need to be satisfied before moving up the hierarchy can differ from culture to culture. For example in the Western World the requirement for food and drink is great and 3 square meals a day may be required to move on the next level, however in Central Africa where food and water are less available a single meal and a glass of water a day may be enough to satisfy that need before thinking about the safety and security needs.

In this way the western societies often concentrate more on the lower level of the hierarchy whereas Eastern cultures can move more quickly through the lower levels of the Hierarchy of Needs and concentrate more on the more spiritual higher end of the Pyramid. Thus, some people argue that prosperity is actually a blocker to achieving the higher states such as self-actualisation and transcendence.

The 8 levels in Maslows Hierarchy of Needs.

The 8 levels in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs are as follows:

1. Biological Needs

These are the very basic needs a human has for survival. Including:

  • Water
  • Air
  • Food
  • Sleep

2. Safety Needs

When the physical human needs are satisfied, the human mind turns to thoughts of safety and security. This is both physical safety and emotional safety in terms of an ordered world and lack of fear. These include:

  • Protection
  • Order
  • Security
  • Law
  • Stability

3. Belongingness and the Need for Love

Now that basic human needs and safety and security have been achieved the human becomes motivated by a need for love and belonging. Social needs and the need to be loved and to love take over, the absence of which can lead to depression and anxiety. These include:

  • Family
  • Acceptance
  • Being in a social group
  • Having friends
  • Being able to interact and communicate with others

4. Esteem Needs

The next level of human motivation is the need for self-esteem. This is where someone is satisfied with how their life is both personally and professional and they believe they are successful in all that they do. These include:

  • Good reputation
  • Respect of others
  • Job satisfaction
  • Personal status
  • Responsibility

5. Cognitive Needs

The next level in the Hierarchy of Needs is achieving Cognitive Needs. This is the need to be intellectually challenged and to increase our intelligence and understanding of the world. This includes:

  • Self-awareness
  • sense of meaning
  • Desire to explore and travel
  • New experiences

6. Aesthetic Needs

Now that many of our basic needs have been satisfied humans become motivated by beauty, art, nature, music and other aesthetically beautiful things. These include:

  • Beauty
  • Balance
  • Understanding and appreciation of art and music.

7. Self-actualization

The next level in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the desire for self-actualisation. This is the desire to be the best that we can be. Maslow said that “what a man can be, he must be.” These needs include:

  • Personal Growth
  • Feeling personally fulfilled in all elements of life.

8. Transcendence

The final level of the Hierarchy of Needs is achieved only when all other levels in the hierarchy have been achieved. This is the desire to help others self-actualise now that you have self-actualised yourself. This level includes:

  • Desire to help others self-actualise
  • Altruism

Some great further reading...

Criticisms of the Hierarchy of Needs

Although Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a widely accepted, there are many critics of the theory. Some argue that not all humans have the capacity to achieve the higher states such as self-actualisation and transcendence. Others argue that the different levels are pursued at the same time rather than one after the other and that personal preference can determine which levels of the pyramid people actually aim for the most.

As with most psychological models and theories Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs may behave differently for different people, but should be applied in general as opposed to individual examples.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)