Human needs... its not just air, food and water.

Being interested in human psychology naturally helps you understand human needs which is a good foundation for this thought provoking subject, knowing this psychologist Abraham Maslow wanted to know what would motivate humans to achieve their own individual goals whether big or small. Interestingly enough according to Maslow these human needs weren't to be fulfilled at a random or casual order, these needs were taken care of in a sequence or order of importance so when one need was taken care of then the person will then advance to seek the next need up the hierarchy and so on. Maslow in 1943 developed a chart called the hierarchy of needs in which there are five needs in the chart and the lower the needs in the hierarchical order the more essential they are and the more likely the person will prioritize and give more attention to the lower need over the higher need, for instance when we are deprived of food the last thing on our mind is to go to a club to be social, meet people and improve our self esteem. 


Maslows Hierarchy of needs.










Types of needs

Deficiency needs
Believing that these needs are similar to instincts Maslow thought that these needs play a large part in the psychology that drives our behaviour. Physiological, security, social and esteem needs are deficiency needs otherwise known as D-needs, these needs motivate people when they are deprived or are threatened which cause people to take action to avoid bad feelings and negative consequences.
Growth needs
These needs are at the peak of the pyramid as opposed to deficiency needs where the motivation comes from a lack of something, growth needs tend to come from a place of wanting to grow as a person and learn about themselves and expand their own capacity to learn and reach their potential.

Hierarchy of needs

Physiological needs
These are the most basic needs as this need is heavily rooted in sustaining energy and survival, this will include food, water, air, sleep and recovering from injuries and illnesses.

Security needs
Another need with strong links to survival though not as demanding as physiological needs but still necessary. Security needs include shelter, safety, employment and a stable environment.

Social needs
Not as basic as the physiological and security needs this need is more of a psychological  and emotional need.  Its more of feeling of belonging whether it is a club, religious or community groups, friendships, relationships and family attachments also.

Esteem needs
After the last three are achieved you start to focus on your self worth and everything that you have experienced or have at that moment will be reflected onto your self image and your self worth will be in question until it is satisfied.


Self actualization needs
At the top of the pyramid when you are attempting to satisfy this need you become more self aware, and are more likely to look at problems and challenges objectively, have less concern with peoples judgements and think about personal growth. Your thinking would shift to an existential sense (why am I here? what can I achieve if I really pushed myself) rather than the smaller material concerns (I want that car, I need a bigger house, I want popularity)

Though everybody is capable of moving up the hierarchy towards self actualization sometimes you may hit certain roadblocks which take you back a step or two away from self actualization such as losing your job and home which affects your lower needs such as food, water and safety, life experience can often cause a person to bounce between two needs.

Limitations to Maslows needs theory.
Even though Maslows hierarchy is widely known and is used by many professionals it is only used as a framework and used loosely. While some research do back up some of Maslows work other research by Mahmoud Wahba and Lawrence Bridwell showed the contrary stating that there is little or clear evidence that these needs come in any particular order and are hierarchical in nature.
Criticisms also suggest that self actualization is a concept difficult to research and measure and Maslow based his self actualization concept against mainly highly educated white males neglecting other races, cultures and the female gender, with the examination of cultures living in poverty lacking in food, water and security it has been made clear people can achieve higher ranking needs such as love, belonging and companionship, while according to Maslow physiological and security needs have to be met first in order for this to be possible. In the current age we live in Maslows needs do not hold well as peoples needs nowadays are met but not in a strict sequential fashion, his research should be used as a philosophical point of reference rather than a strict set of rules. 



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