Research: Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs / Self Actualization

Friday, 11 September 2015

Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1943, 1954): 
Study of Human Motivation:

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a study by Abraham Maslow to understand what motivates people. It is believed that people possess a set of motivation systems unrelated to rewards or unconscious desires.

"A person is always becoming and never static"
Human Motivation
 is defined as people who seek fulfilment, change through personal growth, discovery that is present in life. Humans are always finding a meaning to life that is important to them.

Human Potential: 
Maslow formulated a more positive account of human behaviour, focusing on what goes right.

Self Actualization:
Refers to the person's desire for self fulfilment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what his potential is. It is realizing one's potential, self-fulfilment, personal growth and peak experiences.
It is a continual process of becoming, rather than a perfect state one reaches of a "happy ever after" (Hoffman, 1988)
Although everybody is able to be self actualized, most of us will not. Only 2% of the people will reach this state.
"It's a matter of degree. There are no perfect beings" -Maslow, 1970a. P176

Peak Experiences:
Self Actualization is measure with peak experiences.
Person experiences the world for what it is, with feelings of euphoria, joy and wonder.
These vary greatly from person to person.

How to become "Self Actualized":
1. Experience life like a child (full absorption and concentration on things you do)
2. Try new things instead of safe paths.
3. Listen to your own feelings, in evaluating experiences (and not the voice of tradition and authority)
4. Be honest and never avoid pretence
5. Be prepared to be unpopular if views coincide with majority
6. Responsibility and hard work
7. Identify defenses and have courage to give them up

About the Pyramid:
1. The need to fulfil needs becomes stronger the longer duration they are denied (i.e the longer a person goes without food, the hungrier he becomes)
2. One must satisfy the basic level of needs before progressing on to higher levels.
3. In recent years, there has been additions to the pyramid: Cognitive needs (knowledge), Aesthetic needs (appreciation and search for beauty) and Transendence needs (helping others realize self actualization)

Theories about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs being Flawed:Maslow's sample size for the basis of the theory was not the general population but elite male individuals on the time - i.e Abraham Lincoln, etc. They were all of a certain calibre and status. Racially, they were all white. Also, out of the 11 people he surveyed, only 2 of them were women.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, although it may not apply to everybody, it is one good way of generalizing the majority of population's motivations and needs. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs sheds light to what people might perceive as "most important" in their lives at any one period of time. Looking at the act of rising one level after the other, one views that each "need" might be almost temporary, until Self Actualization (which is the peak). A person is always "becoming" and never "static". It is the premise of my topic where I'm basing most of my research on. It gives my topic of Self Discovery its definition for me to carry on my research.

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