• Abraham Maslow
• Forerunner of positive
• Radically different view
of human nature.
• Rejected ideas of
Freud and Skinner.
Harry Harlow’s lab
• Maslow worked in Harlow’s lab
as a student at the University
• Harlow famous for the monkey
studies using wire and cloth
• Maslow didn’t see his future in
Maslow at Brandeis
• Maslow began teaching in NYC area.
• Met many leading neo-Freudians, including
Alfred Adler and Erich Fromm.
• In 1951, Maslow became the chairman of the
psychology department at Brandeis University.
• Met Gestalt Psychologist Kurt Goldstein who
introduced him to the idea of self-actualization.
Goldstein first trained as a neurologist and
was an early advocate of holistic medicine.
Have to deal with the whole organism.
Maslow rejected Freud’s ideas
• Psychoanalysis based
on what went wrong.
• Theories based on
clinically ill patients.
• Repressing strong
• Animal passions.
• “Why pick the wolf?”
• Positive instincts to fulfill human potential.
• Theories based on study of successful,
healthy people (interviews).
• Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt.
• Strong motivating force to do good.
• Be the best that they could be.
• Began with study of two close friends.
• Expanded to 10 other anonymous living
• Historical figures: Lincoln, Jefferson.
• Important personalities: Einstein.
• Examined biographies, writings and
interviewed those still living.
• Biographic analysis: Qualitative research
• 1. Needs arranged according to
potency and strength. Lower needs
stronger and more urgently felt.
• 2. Lower needs appear earlier in
• Babies concerned with biological,
toddlers with safety, seniors more likely
to be self-actualized.
Hierarchy of needs
• 3. Needs are filled sequentially,
lowest to highest.
• Maslow did not believe that you
had to completely satisfy each
level before moving to a higher
• Example: work for safety when
60% of physiological needs met.
• Body needs
• Hunger and thirst
• Need met by most people in
• But may take dominance in
• Natural disasters.
• Hurricane Katrina
• Security in our environment.
• Stability and protection.
• Job security, insurance,
• Stock market crash wipes out
• Pathologies: OCD: no sense of
security, PTSD and panic
Black Monday, 1987
Love and Belongingness
• Friends, life partner, children,
social clubs, religious
• Stunting of this need leads to
most behavior problems.
• Importance of social bonds.
• Some question whether you
can love others until you love
yourself Esteem needs
Esteem needs has two levels
• Lower level need for respect from others
• Such as recognition, attention, appreciation.
• Higher level self respect
• Such as confidence, competence, mastery.
• Pathologies: inferiority complex, depression.
• Question: Can others respect you if you don’t
Cycle of D-motives
• Deficit needs.
• Deprivation leads to drive
to satisfy need.
• Achieve homeostasis.
• Not just biological needs.
• Essential for survival.
• Even instinctual.
• Once D-needs fulfilled, being needs
• Growth motivation
• Not governed by homeostasis.
• Becomes stronger as you fulfill them.
• Strive now to be all that you can be.
Portrait of self-actualizers
• Small group according to Maslow.
• 1-2% of the adult population.
• Generally 60 plus years old
• Reality and problem centered.
• Enjoy solitude and have deep personal
relationships with a few close friends.
• Autonomous, resisted enculturation.
• Acceptance of self and others.
• Strong ethics, spiritual, seldom religious.
• Prefer spontaneity and simplicity.
• Unhostile sense of humor.
• Source: Prof. George Boeree
• Moments of transcendence.
• To climb above culture.
• Perceptual experiences, largely passive.
• Spiritual realm for some but not necessarily
• People may be reluctant to report.
• Unlike FLOW where you have superior
Peak experiences described
• Davis (1991) interviewed 250 people.
• 80% reported having a peak experience.
• Might share contents with close friend.
• Experience special, intimate and personal.
• Not easy to describe in words.
• Transcend normal language.
Failure to actualize
• Maslow many fail to actualize because
• 1) Growth tendency is weaker than deficiency
motives. Hard to transcend hunger.
• 2) Normal culture downplays the importance
of the inner life (voice). Just trying to gain
control of our impulses.
• 3) Growth requires taking risks than many are
unwilling to do. Example: international
education. Study in another culture.
• Maslow used biblical story of Jonah
to illustrate those unwilling to take
• Jonah tried to run away from risk.
• Only after spending some time in the
whale did he agree to complete his
• Maslow called this reluctance the
• Need hierarchy is wildly popular.
• Education, management,
psychotherapy, and nursing.
• Any research to suggest it’s true?
• Maslow’s research case studies.
• Others have done studies or larger and
more diverse groups.
Hierarchy of needs (5 or 2)
• Little empirical support for 5 stages.
• Stronger evidence for two levels:
deficiency and growth.
• Developmental growth does have
much support either.
• Older adults rate self-actualization as
their lowest NOT highest need.
• College students most concerned
about esteem and security
• Elitist (1-2%): Very small club.
• Growth motivation more wide spread
than Maslow believed.
• Carl Rogers: “every person has one
basic tendency and striving– to
actualize, maintain, and enhance the
Winter at Valley Forge
• Washington’s Army
was hungry, cold,
away from families,
in fear for their lives.
• Mostly volunteers.
• Some deserted but
enough remained to
form the core of a
Sacrifice lower needs to meet
those of a higher calling.
Bias towards Western Culture
• Emphasis on individual
achievement, getting credit
for new idea.
• Esteem in standing out.
• Asian cultures all succeed
• Emphasis on team work.
• Japanese saying: “The nail
that sticks up gets pounded
• Positive side
• Optimistic view of
• Human abilities.
• Growth potential.
• Healthy personality.
• Pyramid of needs
• Negative side
• Philosophy rather
• Need evidence to
• Self-actualizers rare.
• Practical applications.
• Positive Psychology
• Martin Seligman
• Learned Optimism
• Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
• Humanistic Psychology
with empirical methods.
• Practical applications for
many, not just a few.