Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


Give a detailed overview of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Compare and contrast physiological and psychological needs. 

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs follows a logical progression: physiological, safety, belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization (Deckers, 2005). Maslow’s basic assumption is that lesser needs must be satisfied before higher needs can be addressed and satiated. Physiological needs are concerned with the homeostatic processes of the body, safety needs with security and stability, belongingness with social relationships, esteem with competence and recognition of others, and self-actualization with the full expression of our talents and abilities. Maslow hypothesized that when moving up the hierarchy fewer and fewer people find satisfaction. For instance, Maslow thought that only about 20% of people could not satisfy their physiological needs, while almost 100% of people could not satisfy the need to self-actualize. Even though Maslow’s theory “holds water at room temperature” I still have a few reservations about his thoughts. For one, it has been my experience that sometimes the absence of the satisfaction of physiological needs can sometimes motivate the highest need, self-actualization. For instance, if I cannot feed myself, then I might be motivated to go back to college in order to become a teacher, my ideal job that utilizes all of my talents and abilities to their uttermost, to feed myself. 

Physiological needs are motivated mainly as a moderator of homeostatic imbalance. A deficit in glucose at the cellular level prompts the feeling of hunger. Furthermore, I was very interested in the idea of psychological needs as incentive categories. Deviations from homeostatic psychological states, such as relationship satisfaction or self-actualization, can become incentives that drive psychological motivations. For instance, an unexpected breakup with a long-time lover that you thought might one day be your spouse creates a psychological deficit, a homeostatic imbalance from the psychological “norm”, which in turn creates an incentive to either try to repair the situation or move on to another person. Thoughts… 

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Deckers, L. (2005). Motivation: Biological, psychological, and environmental, Second Edition. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 

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