The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Maslow, Abraham Harold Maslow. Learn More in these related Britannica articles: With Sartre, no less a humanist, the tone was one of responsibility. It was American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow, however, who popularized self-actualization.
He defined it more narrowly and diverged from Goldstein in his conception of when and how self-actualization can emerge as a motivator. The American psychologist Abraham H. Maslow, considered one of the leading architects of humanistic psychology, proposed a hierarchy of needs or drives in order of decreasing priority or potency but increasing sophistication: Only when the more primitive needs are…. Self-actualization theory of self-actualization In self In self-actualization.
Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Help us improve this article! Contact our editors with your feedback. You may find it helpful to search within the site to see how similar or related subjects are covered. Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources.
At the bottom of the article, feel free to list any sources that support your changes, so that we can fully understand their context. Internet URLs are the best. Thank You for Your Contribution! Maslow has used a variety of terms to refer to this level: He has called it growth motivation in contrast to deficit motivation , being needs or B-needs , in contrast to D-needs , and self-actualization.
These are needs that do not involve balance or homeostasis. Once engaged, they continue to be felt. Now, in keeping with his theory up to this point, if you want to be truly self-actualizing, you need to have your lower needs taken care of, at least to a considerable extent. Maslow at one point suggested only about two percent!
The question becomes, of course, what exactly does Maslow mean by self-actualization. To answer that, we need to look at the kind of people he called self-actualizers. Fortunately, he did this for us, using a qualitative method called biographical analysis. He began by picking out a group of people, some historical figures, some people he knew, whom he felt clearly met the standard of self-actualization. He then looked at their biographies, writings, the acts and words of those he knew personally, and so on.
From these sources, he developed a list of qualities that seemed characteristic of these people, as opposed to the great mass of us. These people were reality-centered , which means they could differentiate what is fake and dishonest from what is real and genuine. And they had a different perception of means and ends.
The self-actualizers also had a different way of relating to others. First, they enjoyed solitude , and were comfortable being alone. And they enjoyed deeper personal relations with a few close friends and family members, rather than more shallow relationships with many people. They enjoyed autonomy , a relative independence from physical and social needs.
And they resisted enculturation , that is, they were not susceptible to social pressure to be "well adjusted" or to "fit in" -- they were, in fact, nonconformists in the best sense. They had an unhostile sense of humor -- preferring to joke at their own expense, or at the human condition, and never directing their humor at others.
They had a quality he called acceptance of self and others , by which he meant that these people would be more likely to take you as you are than try to change you into what they thought you should be. This same acceptance applied to their attitudes towards themselves: On the other hand, they were often strongly motivated to change negative qualities in themselves that could be changed. Along with this comes spontaneity and simplicity: They preferred being themselves rather than being pretentious or artificial.
In fact, for all their nonconformity, he found that they tended to be conventional on the surface, just where less self-actualizing nonconformists tend to be the most dramatic. Further, they had a sense of humility and respect towards others -- something Maslow also called democratic values -- meaning that they were open to ethnic and individual variety, even treasuring it.
And this was accompanied by a strong ethics , which was spiritual but seldom conventionally religious in nature. And these people had a certain freshness of appreciation , an ability to see things, even ordinary things, with wonder. Along with this comes their ability to be creative , inventive, and original. And, finally, these people tended to have more peak experiences than the average person.
A peak experience is one that takes you out of yourself, that makes you feel very tiny, or very large, to some extent one with life or nature or God. It gives you a feeling of being a part of the infinite and the eternal. These experiences tend to leave their mark on a person, change them for the better, and many people actively seek them out. They are also called mystical experiences, and are an important part of many religious and philosophical traditions.
There were several flaws or imperfections he discovered along the way as well: First, they often suffered considerable anxiety and guilt -- but realistic anxiety and guilt, rather than misplaced or neurotic versions. Some of them were absentminded and overly kind. And finally, some of them had unexpected moments of ruthlessness, surgical coldness, and loss of humor.
Two other points he makes about these self-actualizers: Their values were "natural" and seemed to flow effortlessly from their personalities.
And they appeared to transcend many of the dichotomies others accept as being undeniable, such as the differences between the spiritual and the physical, the selfish and the unselfish, and the masculine and the feminine. Another way in which Maslow approach the problem of what is self-actualization is to talk about the special, driving needs B-needs, of course of the self-actualizers. They need the following in their lives in order to be happy:.
Truth , rather than dishonesty. Goodness , rather than evil. Beauty , not ugliness or vulgarity. Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites , not arbitrariness or forced choices. Aliveness , not deadness or the mechanization of life. Uniqueness , not bland uniformity.
Perfection and necessity , not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident. Completion , rather than incompleteness. Justice and order , not injustice and lawlessness. Simplicity , not unnecessary complexity. Richness , not environmental impoverishment. Effortlessness , not strain. Playfulness , not grim, humorless, drudgery. Self-sufficiency , not dependency.
Meaningfulness , rather than senselessness. At first glance, you might think that everyone obviously needs these. If you are living through an economic depression or a war, or are living in a ghetto or in rural poverty, do you worry about these issues, or do you worry about getting enough to eat and a roof over your head?
Let me summarize it by saying that, when forced to live without these values, the self-actualizer develops depression, despair, disgust,alienation, and a degree of cynicism. Over time, he devoted increasing attention, not to his own theory, but to humanistic psychology and the human potentials movement. Toward the end of his life, he inaugurated what he called the fourth force in psychology: The fourth force was the transpersonal psychologies which, taking their cue from Eastern philosophies, investigated such things as meditation, higher levels of consciousness, and even parapsychological phenomena.
Maslow has been a very inspirational figure in personality theories. They were looking for meaning and purpose in their lives, even a higher, more mystical meaning. Maslow was one of the pioneers in that movement to bring the human being back into psychology, and the person back into personality! At approximately the same time, another movement was getting underway, one inspired by some of the very things that turned Maslow off: This, of course, became the cognitive movement in psychology.
But the message should not be lost: Psychology is, first and foremost, about people, real people in real lives, and not about computer models, statistical analyses, rat behavior, test scores, and laboratories. The most common criticism concerns his methodology: Picking a small number of people that he himself declared self-actualizing, then reading about them or talking with them, and coming to conclusions about what self-actualization is in the first place does not sound like good science to many people.
In his defense, I should point out that he understood this, and thought of his work as simply pointing the way. He hoped that others would take up the cause and complete what he had begun in a more rigorous fashion. He did indeed believe in science, and often grounded his ideas in biology.
He only meant to broaden psychology to include the best in us, as well as the pathological! Another criticism, a little harder to respond to, is that Maslow placed such constraints on self-actualization. First, Kurt Goldstein and Carl Rogers used the phrase to refer to what every living creature does: To try to grow, to become more, to fulfill its biological destiny.
Maslow limits it to something only two percent of the human species achieves. And while Rogers felt that babies were the best examples of human self-actualization, Maslow saw it as something achieved only rarely by the young.
Another point is that he asks that we pretty much take care of our lower needs before self-actualization comes to the forefront. And yet we can find many examples of people who exhibited at very least aspects of self-actualization who were far from having their lower needs taken care of.
Many of our best artists and authors, for example, suffered from poverty, bad upbringing, neuroses, and depression. Some could even be called psychotic! The idea of artists and poets and philosophers and psychologists! We also have the example of a number of people who were creative in some fashion even while in concentration camps.
Trachtenberg, for example, developed a new way of doing arithmetic in a camp. Viktor Frankl developed his approach to therapy while in a camp.
There are many more examples. And there are examples of people who were creative when unknown, became successful only to stop being creative. Perhaps all these examples are exceptions, and the hierarchy of needs stands up well to the general trend.
But the exceptions certainly do put some doubt into our minds. I would like to suggest a variation on Maslow's theory that might help.
The practical implications of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in the workplaces are significant. Because being equipped with the theory managers would know that they would have to apply the immediate needs of their employees if managers would like to motivate them.
Abraham Maslow was born in New York in and studied psychology and Gestalt psychology at the University of Wisconsin and the New School for Social Research, respectively (Encyclopædia Brittanica).
Maslow earned all three of his degrees in psychology from the University of Wisconsin: a bachelor's degree in , a master's degree in and a doctorate in Career and Humanistic Theories Abraham Maslow began teaching at Brooklyn College in and continued to work as a member of the school's faculty until Abraham Maslow: Abraham Maslow, American psychologist and philosopher best known for his self-actualization theory of psychology, which argued that the primary goal of psychotherapy should be the integration of the self. Maslow studied psychology at the University of .
Maslow’s Hierarchy research papers examine the theory, developed by Abraham Maslow, in which human development is laid out along a hierarchy, from the most basic to the more psychologically advanced needs of a person. Order a research paper on Maslow's Hierarchy from Paper Masters. Overcoming Evil: An interview with Abraham Maslow, founder of humanistic psychology. Psychology Today. You gave up all your experimental research in these fields. Maslow: Yes, around I.