Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs


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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham H. Maslow was an American psychologist who developed a hierarchical theory of human motivation and behavior. According to his theory, humans have a hierarchy of needs that must be met, beginning with physical needs, such as food and sleep, and progressing up to self-actualization needs, such as fulfillment of potential, creativity and aesthetic appreciation. In Maslow’s hierarchy, the needs of one level need to be satisfied before you can move up to the next level. So, someone who is hungry and sleepy (1st Level; Physical Needs) won’t feel secure (2nd Level; Safety Need) and may not be able to participate in a class (3rd Level; Love Need). They will definitely have trouble being competent (4th Level; Self-Esteem Need) or creative (5th Level; Self-Actualization Need).

Maslow’s needs are one way of thinking about how the people of a society think. How well do their needs fit into Maslow’s hierarchy? Do they match on all levels or are there some fundamental differences in how they think about the world? Or, if their needs are the same, do the ways in which they are met differ? What about the order the needs fall in? Maybe Love and Safety are reversed? Or one category doesn’t exist at all?

This hierarchy can also be used for characters and determining how and if their needs are being met.

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  1. Physical Needs:

  2. Safety Needs:

  3. Love Needs:

  4. Self-Esteem Needs: "Self esteem: an attitude of acceptance and approval of oneself; one of the fundamental ingredients of mental health."

  5. Self-Actualization Needs: "Self actualization: the full development and use of an individual's abilities and talents, satisfying his or her physical, social, intellectual, and emotional needs."


The materials for this page came from the following sources and are not unique to me. About the only thing I did was pull them together, create this page and write the brief intro about using Maslow's Hierarchy in writing. -- Kathy

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs From Douglas Adams's resources for his EPR 300 Principles of Learning class, Fall 1996. University of Kansas, Department of Educational Psychology and Research.

Britannica.Com From their article on Maslow.

Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology From their definitions of 'hierarchy of human needs', 'self-actualization', and 'self-esteem'.