Friday, April 24, 2009

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs

I'm currently reading Abraham Maslow's book "Toward a Psychology of Being" and will soon be putting up a bunch of posts about ideas from it which I think are really interesting. To start though, I think it would be helpful to give a little information on his "Hierarchy of Needs"

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist in the mid 1900s who was interested in human motivation. He came up with a "Hierarchy of Needs" to explain what needs people are motivated by. He believed that needs could be organized into levels, and that as lowest level needs were satisfied, higher level needs would emerge into consciousness (Maslow, 1943).

The levels he organized human needs into were:

1. Physiological needs are the lowest level, they are basically making sure there is enough oxygen, water, and nutrients in the body, and that the body temperature is maintained. Sex is also included in the physiological needs.

2. Safety is the need to be free from danger.

3. Love needs are the needs to feel love and a sense of belonging.

4. Esteem needs contain the need to be respected by oneself and others. They are the needs to do great things and to be great.

5. Self-Actualization is the need to "be all that you can be" to test limits and to explore and grow to your full potential.

Making sense of the Hierarchy:

Maslow's Hierarchy just means that people, first off, are motivated to stay alive. Then, when a person has taken care of making sure they are alive, they will be motivated to find love and respect. And only after a person is alive, loved and respected will they really be motivated to find out how much they can really do, and how far they can really go.

Maslow, A. (1943). A theory of Motivation. Retrieved 4/24/09 from


  1. Does safety only include physical safety, or does it include perceived dangers, fears, worries, paranoia, etc.?

  2. As far as I understand, safety is more general, like you're suggesting, containing emotional as well as physical safety. Maslow would probably argue that these could be sublevels of safety, with physical safety being the more basic.

  3. Wujifa principles, theorems, concept, foundation, platforms to build and explore from can be so very helpful. I say thin not in the terms of the idea it's self but as a place to engage doing.

    It's not as important that everything be correct. It's the doing and use that is discovered when we engage life with doing, practice, life...

    Maslow's Hierarchy is such a great place to engage the exploration life will reveal though testing out for one's self "What does this mean?" in the doing we we can discover with an open mind.

    Thank you so much for sharing this in the way you do with this wonderful No Nonsense Psychology blog. I really enjoy the density of straight forward information. So many blogs are filled with fluff and it's a breath of fresh air to follow and read what you're sharing here... thank you once again.

  4. Maslow was wrong. See SSRN article:
    Nain, Bhavya, Nain's Hierarchy of Needs: An Alternative to Maslow's & ERG's Hierarchy of Needs (June 14, 2013). Available at SSRN: