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Introduction to human needs psychology

Updated on January 16, 2016
The Seed of an Idea by k_vohsen
The Seed of an Idea by k_vohsen | Source


Human needs psychology is a concept, introduced by A.Robbins (at least the one I am writing about here:) ).

It talks about six human needs as universal motivators. What I mean by motivators is, that every action we take in life, is to pursue one or more of these needs. So when somebody is buying a house, he is pursuing some of the needs, so does a person who might seem to do irrational things or things we don't understand...

We all have different ways and degree to which we need to meet our needs on daily basis - I will get to this deeper after presenting all the needs to you. As I mentioned above, there are six human needs. First four of them are physiological needs. What it means is, we need to satisfy them in order to survive. Daily! These needs are certainty, uncertainty/variety, love/connection, significance. The last two needs are growth and contribution. These needs lead to greater happiness and fulfillment in life. We can only focus on them after we have satisfied our physiological needs. For example, when you are in danger, let's say you are being chased by a lion, you will focus on surviving...thus focusing on certainty.

Everybody has TWO primary needs. These two needs can and will change over course of our life. While a teenager might focus on significance and variety, a mother of two children might focus on certainty and love/connection. These two primary needs represents our world, how we thing and operate. You need to focus on satisfying these needs first in order to satisfy the other six needs.



Certainty is one of the six human needs. Every person needs to feel certain to some degree. Whether it is a shelter or $10.000 check every month, everybody needs to feel certain. Or you might need to have food at your disposal to satisfy your need for certainty (connected to getting overweight sometimes). This need is one of the most common among people.



Once we have met our need for certainty, we also need some uncertainty in our life. One might meet this need by watching a different movie every day, visiting a different place once a week or by trying out dangerous things.

It represents kind of change of our body and/or mind. We can experience variety in a physical way, emotional or intellectual way.

Physical variety might be as simple as changing your tension in muscles - going from relaxed state to tension (for example when we are angry our muscles tense). Or it might be changing the pace of our breath.

Emotional variety might be switching from anger to sadness. Remember the last time you were angry ? How long have you been angry? I bet it was not so long. Our bodies need to change state and so does our mind. We can't operate in one state forever.

Intellectual variety might be met by reading a different book every week or learning something new.

Example: Once more, recall the last time you were angry. Got it? Now, tell me, how fast did you breath? Was it fast or slow? Shallow or deep breathing ? I guess it was fast and shallow. How was your body? Was it tensed or relaxed? Now, I bet you are not angry any more. Why? You changed the state of your body and emotions. Maybe you went from anger to sadness or some different emotion, nevertheless the new emotion caused you to breath slower, deeper and your muscles relaxed, right?



Everybody also needs to feel love and or connection. Again, we have different ways to meet this need. Somebody might go for certain love (love from children, parents) or for uncertain love (spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend...).

Some people go for connection. You can connect with others (friends...), you can connect with a higher power (God) or with yourself (for example in state of self-pity).

Anyway, we need to feel loved, loved and/or connected with others. Can a baby live without being loved?

Which figure in chess is the most significant?
Which figure in chess is the most significant? | Source


Here comes the fourth of our physiological needs, significance. We all need to feel significant. As always, we have different ways to meet this need. It might be by excelling at a sport, or it might be by being the worst in a class. When somebody has a persisting problem, there is a pretty high chance that for the person it is the way to meet the need for significance.

When you have that big persisting problem, everybody cares about you, you also have a bigger or worse problem than anybody else and it is probably a way to connect with others (people often talk about problems rather than success).

This need is pretty popular among teenagers and young adults. For example I had a time when I used to meet my need for significance by drinking the most in our group. Definitely not a good way to meet this need, but it worked.



This is my core need :) Need to grow emotionally, intellectually or physically. What doesn't grow , dies. This is what moves us to improve in different aspects of our life. We grow by solving problems, by teaching other, by learning...

The easiest way to grow physically is through physical exercise. We grow emotionally by solving problems in relationship, or basically being in a relationship. We can grow intellectually by reading books, by learning and teaching as I mentioned above.



Contribution is a need to contribute beyond yourself. To contribute to community, peers, family... We can contribute by teaching others or by helping others in different ways.

Different ways we meet our needs...

As you can see from examples above, a lot of activities meet multiple of our needs. Once again, teaching can meet our needs for contribution, growth, variety (we teach different subjects, it is always a bit different, different people...), certainty (being certain you still have things to teach somebody), it might also meet our need for significance (when students, or a person being taught listens to you, learns from you you have basically higher value and you might therefore feel significant).

Crucial thing to note is, that we need to meet these needs daily. And we will find a way how to meet them in a positive or negative way!

Somebody might feel certain by knowing they can help others, however a different person might find controlling others as a great way to pursue they need for certainty.

Somebody might feel significant by being the best at school, while a different person might find significance by being violent and threatening people.

Can you improve your way of living?

Do you want to improve your life? Fair enough. You have just made the first step. You read the article about human needs which you can implement to you and people around you.

Are you committed to the next step?

You can get in touch with me here. It is my website and a blog where you can read more about me and my views. You can even go there and schedule a session with me for free.

What about your needs?

  • What are your ways to meet these six needs?
  • Are these ways positive or negative?
  • Comment and share your insights ;

What is your #1 need?

What is your #1 need?

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    • Danwe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Of course it is more than just connection :) It involves more of these needs in my understanding. This is from my point of view. I really appreciate your comments.

    • Ingenira profile image


      7 years ago

      Hmmm... I think it is more than just connection. Connection is just part of the spiritual needs.

    • Danwe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thank you for the comment Ingenira. Yes, I have had people talk about missing of spiritual needs. However, as I understand it, spiritual needs are more or less involved in connection. Or they can be even a result of the other needs. For example a prayer might be a need for certainty and/or connection. What do you thing?

    • Ingenira profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting. Thought provoking.

      For me, another important need is : spiritual needs.

    • Danwe profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Thanks a lot for comment. I am glad it helped at least a bit ;)

    • kaceofbase profile image


      7 years ago

      I've actually been thinking a lot lately on whether or not there is a "universal need". After reading your hub, I'll be spending more time pondering on it. I'm not sure what exactly it is I need right now. I loved this. Thank you so much for sharing it.


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