Learning Objectives After reading Chapter 9, you should be able to:
1. List and explain Maslow's five assumptions regarding motivation.
2. List and explain the five needs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
3. Distinguish between conative, aesthetic, cognitive, and neurotic needs.
4. Define instinctoid needs.
5. Describe Maslow's criteria for identifying self-actualizers.
6. List and describe the characteristics of self-actualizing people.
7. Describe the Jonah complex.
8. Discuss Maslow's philosophy of science.
9. Discuss Maslow's concept of humanity.
10. Explain the implications of Maslow's theory for psychotherapy.
11. Summarize research on self-actualization.
I. Overview of Maslow's Holistic-Dynamic Theory
Maslow's holistic-dynamic theory assumes that people are continually motivated by one or more needs, and that under the proper circumstances, they can reach a level of psychological health called self-actualization.
II. Biography of Abraham H. Maslow
Abraham H. Maslow was born in New York City in 1908, the oldest of seven children of Russian Jewish immigrants. After 2 or 3 mediocre years as a college student, Maslow improved in his academic work at about the time he was married. He received both a bachelor's degree and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin, where he worked with Harry Harlow conducting animal studies. Most of his professional career was spent at Brooklyn College and Brandeis University. Poor health forced him to move to California, where he died in 1970 at age 62.
III. Maslow's View of Motivation
Maslow's theory rests on five basic assumptions about motivation: (1) the whole organism is motivated at any one time; (2) motivation is complex, and unconscious motives often underlie behavior; (3) people are continually motivated by one need or another; (4) people in different cultures are motivated by the same basic needs; and (5) the basic needs can be arranged on a hierarchy.
A. Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow held that lower level needs have prepotency over higher level needs; that is, lower needs must be satisfied before higher needs become motivators. Maslow's hierarchy includes: (1) physiological needs, such as oxygen, food, water, and so on; (2) safety needs, which include physical security, stability, dependency, protection, and freedom from danger, and which result in basic anxiety if not satisfied; (3) love and belongingness needs, including the desire for friendship, the wish for a mate and children, and the need to belong; (4) esteem needs, which result from the satisfaction of love needs and which include self-confidence and the recognition that we have a positive reputation; and (5) self-actualization needs, which are satisfied only by the psychologically healthiest people. Unlike other needs that automatically are activated when lower needs are met, self-actualization needs do not inevitably follow from the satisfaction of esteem needs. Only by embracing such B-valuesas truth, beauty, oneness, justice, etc., can people achieve self-actualization. The five needs on Maslow's hierarchy are conative needs. Other categories of needs include aesthetic needs, cognitive needs, and neurotic needs.
B. Aesthetic Needs
Aesthetic needs include a desire for beauty and order, and some people have much stronger aesthetic needs than do others. When people fail to meet their aesthetic needs, they become sick.
C. Cognitive Needs
Cognitive needs include the desire to know, to understand, and to be curious. Knowledge is a prerequisite for each of the five conative needs. Also, people who are denied knowledge and kept in ignorance become sick, paranoid, and depressed.
D. Neurotic Needs
Neurotic needs include a desire to dominate, to inflict pain, or to subject oneself to the will of another person. With conative, aesthetic, and cognitive needs, some type of illness results when they are not satisfied. Neurotic needs, however, lead to pathology whether or not they are satisfied.
E. General Discussion of Needs
Maslow believed that most people satisfy lower level needs to a greater extent than they do higher needs, and that the greater the satisfaction of one need, the more fully the next highest need is likely to emerge. In certain rare cases, the order of needs might be reversed. For example, a starving mother may be motivated by love needs to give up food in order to feed her starving children. However, if we understand the unconscious motivation behind many apparent reversals, we might see that they are not genuine reversals at all. Thus, Maslow insisted that much of our surface behaviors are actually motivated by more basic and often unconscious needs. Maslow also believed that some expressive behaviors are unmotivated, even though all behaviors have a cause. Expressive behaviorshave no aim or goal but are merely a person's mode of expression. In comparison, coping behaviors deal with a person's attempt to cope with the environment. The conative needs ordinarily call forth coping behaviors. Deprivation of any of the needs leads to pathology of some sort. For example, people's inability to reach self-actualization results in metapathology; defined as an absence of values, a lack of fulfillment, and a loss of meaning in life. Maslow suggested that instinctoid needs are innately determined even though they can be modified by learning. Maslow also believed that higher level needs (love, esteem, and self-actualization) are later on the evolutionary scale than lower level needs and that they produce more genuine happiness and more peak experiences.
Maslow believed that a very small percentage of people reach an ultimate level of psychological health called self-actualization.
A. Values of Self-Actualizers
Maslow held that self-actualizing people are metamotivated by such B-values as truth, goodness, beauty, justice, and simplicity.
B. Definition and Description
Four criteria must be met before a person achieves self-actualization: (1) absence of psychopathology, (2) satisfaction of each of the four lower level needs, (3) full realization of one's potentials for growth, and (4) acceptance of the B-values.
C. Characteristics of Self-Actualizing People
Maslow listed 15 qualities that characterize self-actualizing people, although not all self-actualizers possess each of these characteristics to the same extent. The characteristics of self-actualizing people are: (1) more efficient perception of reality; they often have an almost uncanny ability to detect phoniness in others, and they are not fooled by sham; (2) acceptance of self, others, and nature; (3) spontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness; they have no need to appear complex or sophisticated; (4) problem-centered; they view age-old problems from a solid philosophical position; (5) the need for privacy, or a detachment that allows them to be alone without being lonely; (6) autonomy; they have grown beyond dependency on other people for their self-esteem; (7) continued freshness of appreciation and the ability to view everyday things with a fresh vision and appreciation; (8) frequent reports of peak experiences, or those mystical experiences that give a person a sense of transcendence and feelings of awe, wonder, ecstasy, reverence, and humility; (9) Gemeinschaftsgefühl, that is, social interest or a deep feeling of oneness with all humanity; (10) profound interpersonal relations but with no desperate need to have a multitude of friends; (11) the democratic character structure, or the ability to disregard superficial differences between people; (12) discrimination between means and ends, meaning that self-actualizing people have a clear sense of right and wrong, and they experience little conflict about basic values; (13) a philosophical sense of humor, or humor that is spontaneous, unplanned, and intrinsic to the situation; (14) creativeness; they possess a keen perception of truth, beauty, and reality; (15) resistance to enculturation; they have the ability to set personal standards and to resist the mold set by the dominant culture.
D. Love, Sex, and Self-Actualization
Maslow compared D-love (deficiency love) to B-love (love for being or essence of another person). Self-actualizing people are capable of B-love; that is, they have the ability to love without expecting something in return. B-love is mutually felt and shared and not based on deficiencies within the lovers.
V. Philosophy of Science
Maslow criticized traditional science as being value-free, with a methodology that is sterile and nonemotional. He argued for a Taoistic attitude for psychology in which psychologists are willing to resacralizetheir science, that is, to instill it with human values and to view participants with awe, joy, wonder, rapture, and ritual.
VI. Measuring Self-Actualization
Maslow's methods for measuring self-actualization were consistent with his philosophy of science. He began his study of self-actualizing people with little evidence that such a classification of people even existed. He looked at healthy people, learned what they had in common, and then established a syndrome for psychological health. Next, he refined the definition of self-actualization, studied other people, and changed the syndrome. He continued this process until he was satisfied that he had a clear definition of self-actualization. Other researchers have developed personality inventories for measuring self actualization. The most widely used of these is Everett Shostrom's Personal Orientation Inventory (POI), a 150-forced-choice inventory that assesses a variety of self-actualization facets.
VIII. The Jonah Complex
Because humans are born with a natural tendency to move toward psychological health, any failure to reach self-actualization can be technically called abnormal development. One such abnormal syndrome is the Jonah complex, or fear of being or doing one's best, a condition that all of us have to some extent. Maslow believed that many people allow false humility to stifle their creativity and to fall short of self-actualization.
The hierarchy of needs concept has obvious ramifications for psychotherapy. Most people who seek psychotherapy probably do so because they have not adequately satisfied their love and belongingness needs. This suggests that much of therapy should involve a productive human relationship and that he job of a therapist is to help clients satisfy love and belongingness needs.
IX. Related Research
Recent research in positive psychology has reawakened an interest in humanistic psychology including the work of Maslow, Carl Rogers, Gordon Allport, and other person-centered personality theorists.
Hierarchy of Needs
Reiss & Havercamp (2006) measured need fulfillment to test the idea in Maslow’s theory that lower order needs must be met early in life while higher order needs such as self-actualization are fulfilled later in life. Their results supported Maslow’s theory on this point.
One area of positive psychology where Maslow’s ideas have been especially influential is in the role of positive experiences in people’s lives. Burton & King (2004) found support for their hypothesis that writing about positive experiences would be associated with better physical health. Lyubomirsky, Sousa, and Dickerhoof (2004) found additionally that while simply thinking about past positive experiences did not confer physical health benefits, it did result in participants’ reporting greater well-being than those who wrote about the positive experiences. This recent research in positive psychology supports Maslow’s prediction that peak experiences often have a lasting impact on people’s lives.
C. Personality Development, Growth, and Goals
Implicit in Maslow's theory of self-actualization is the assumption that psychologically healthy people become more self-actualizing as they grow older. Recently, Jack Bauer and Dan McAdams (2004a) tested this hypothesis using college students and middle-age and older community volunteers. Their procedure called for measuring two kinds of growth—extrinsic and intrinsic. External growth includes an interest in money, fame, and physical appearance, whereas intrinsic growth focuses on happiness and healthy interpersonal relations. As hypothesized, Bauer and McAdams found that older participants had higher intrinsic goals, whereas college students tended to report needs for extrinsic goals.
X. Critique of Maslow
Maslow's theory has been popular in psychology and other disciplines, such as marketing, management, nursing, and education. The hierarchy of needs concept seems both elementary and logical, which gives Maslow's theory the illusion of simplicity. However, the theory is somewhat complex, with four dimensions of needs and the possibility of unconsciously motivated behavior. As a scientific theory, Maslow's model rates high in generating research but low in falsifiability. On its ability to organize knowledge and guide action, the theory rates quite high; on its simplicity and internal consistency, it rates only average.
XI Concept of Humanity
Maslow believed that people are structured in such a way that their activated needs are exactly what they want most. Hungry people desire food, frightened people look for safety, and so forth. Although he was generally optimistic and hopeful, Maslow saw that people are capable of great evil and destruction. He believed that, as a species, humans are becoming more and more fully human and motivated by higher level needs. In summary, Maslow's view of humanity rates high on free choice, optimism, teleology, and uniqueness and about average on social influences.
Test Items Fill-in-the-Blanks 1. Maslow's ______________________ theory assumes that people are continually motivated by one need or another.
2. Maslow felt ________________ toward his mother during his entire life.
3. The most basic needs of any person are _____________________.
4. The highest need on Maslow's hierarchy is __________________.
5. Maslow believed that motivation is usually _________________, meaning that behavior is often an expression of an unconscious or a more basic need.
6. When ________________________ needs are not met, a person suffers from basic anxiety.
7. _______________________ needs are nonproductive, and their satisfaction does not foster health.
8. The two levels of esteem needs are ________________________ and self-esteem.
9. Self-actualizing people embrace the _______________________, a condition that separates them from other people who have met esteem needs but who do not achieve self-actualization.
10. Maslow distinguished between _________________________ behavior, which is often unmotivated, and coping behavior, which is motivated.
11. People deprived of self-actualization suffer from ___________________ in the same sense that people deprived of food suffer from malnutrition.
12. As people advanced through history, they become more motivated by ___________________ level needs.
13. Truth, goodness, and beauty are 3 of 14 ____________________, all of which may ultimately be one value.
14. Love between two self-actualizing people is called ___________________ love.
15. Although self-actualizers are free from ____________________, they could suffer some psychosomatic illnesses.
16. Self-actualizers are ______________________-centered rather than person-centered.
17. Maslow found that self-actualizers have a __________________ sense of humor.
18. Shostrom's Personal __________________ Inventory is an attempt to measure self-actualization.
19. The ___________________ complex is the fear of being or doing one's best.
20. Maslow advocated a ______________________ attitude for psychology researchers, one that is noninterfering, passive, and receptive.
21. Bauer and McAdams found that older people, in contrast to younger people, were more likely to be motivated by ____________________ rather than extrinsic goals.
True-False ______1. Like Harry Stack Sullivan, Maslow was the most popular person in his high school class.
_____ 2. As a child, Maslow was emotionally closer to his mother than to his father.
______3. Maslow assumed that people in different cultures have basically different needs.
______4. People who have never experienced love are most strongly motivated by love and belongingness needs.
______5. People who have been partially loved are most strongly motivated by love and belongingness needs.
______6. When people have their esteem needs met, they automatically cross the threshold to self-actualization.
______7. All people have a more or less equal desire to satisfy aesthetic needs.
______8. A person can satisfy only one need at a time.
______9. Maslow believed that people are continually conscious of their motives.
_____10. Needs on the hierarchy can occasionally be reversed, according to Maslow.
_____11. Self-actualizing people strive hard to maintain their self-actualization status.
_____12. Self-actualizing people would most likely agree with the saying "knowledge for the sake of knowledge."
_____13. According to Maslow, all behavior is motivated.
_____14. Expressive behavior is often unmotivated.
_____15. One sure sign of self-actualization is having a peak experience.
_____16. By faking self-actualization, some people actually become self-actualizing.
_____17. Maslow believed that all people have the potential for self-actualization, but most people never achieve it.
_____18. Most self-actualizing people do not have their esteem needs met.
_____19. A person who has never had love and belongingness needs satisfied could nevertheless become self-actualizing by satisfying safety needs.
_____20. Maslow's theory rates low on its ability to organize knowledge.
______1. As a young man, Maslow experienced a fortuitous event that changed his life. This event happened when he
a. met Alfred Adler.
b. first kissed his cousin Bertha Goodman.
c. made the Dean's honor roll at Cornell.
d. converted from Judaism to Protestantism.
_____ 2. Maslow regarded his mother as
a. a very religious person.
b. a kind and genteel person.
c. a mystic who could forecast future events.
d. a self-actualizing person.
e. none of these.
______3. During childhood and adolescence, Maslow was
a. shy and socially backward.
b. pampered by his mother.
c. overly combative with his older brothers
d. more interested in sports than in books.
______4. In his theory of motivation, Maslow assumed that
a. people in different cultures have different basic needs.
b. motivation is nearly always conscious.
c. people are motivated by one need at a time.
d. people are continually motivated by one need or another.
e. all of these are correct.
______5. Maslow's concept of a hierarchy of needs assumes that
a. higher needs have prepotency over lower needs.
b. lower needs have prepotency over higher needs.
c. love needs are more basic than physiological needs.
d. cognitive needs must be satisfied before aesthetic needs become motivators.
e. aesthetic needs are prepotent over cognitive needs.