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Abraham Maslow the first humanistic theorist

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Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychology theorist. He believed that people were motivated by needs. He believed that a person moved up in needs as more basic needs were met. One of Maslow’s theories was that Freud showed the world the bad half of people so the good half needed to be brought out by psychologists during his time. Instead of studying those with mental disorders, he studied people that were in good mental health. “Self-Actualized” people was the title Maslow gave these people… the ones that had reached the peak of his needs hierarchy.

Today scholars, textbook writers, and psychologists use a pyramid to show the five levels of his Theory of Needs Hierarchy but Maslow never created an image to show this. Some believe this pyramid was created by a textbook writer as an illustration of his work.

Maslow believed that he was a pioneer in psychology because he was the first to use the term, “Humanistic Psychology”. His peers, then and now, believe the same. Abraham Maslow died in 1970, at age 62, of a heart attack while jogging.

Physiological needs-level I
Physiological needs-level I Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Physiological needs-level I

The first level (bottom level) is physiological needs. These are needs of all animals, even humans: air, water, food, sleep, sex, and excretion.  More people are at this level than any other.

Safety-level II
Safety-level II Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Safety-level II

This is the second needs level.  Those at this level have met their physiological needs. Now their needs are safety: a job, money in the bank, health, and property.

Love/belonging-level III
Love/belonging-level III Ashlee Ralla/Getty Images

Love/belonging-level III

Social needs are the center level.  A sense of belonging in a group or family dynamic.  Sex turns to the need for sexual intimacy.

Self-esteem-level IV
Self-esteem-level IV Robin Marchant

Self-esteem-level IV

After one settles into social groups the need to have respect and be respected occurs.  This is the level where people begin to need to be recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments.

Self-actualization- level V
Self-actualization- level V Ian Gavan

Self-actualization- level V

These are the people that Maslow sought to study.  His theory was that these people had more morality, creativity, and spontaneity than those in the lower levels.  He felt that they were better problem-solvers, lacked prejudice, and accepted facts more easily.

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