Abraham Maslow

Hierarchy of Human Needs

Hierarchy of Human Needs

Abraham Maslow believed that people could reach self-actualization if they had all of their needs fulfilled. Physiological needs are the most basic including breathing, food, water, sex, sleep , homeostasis, and excretion. Other needs in order of importance are safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self- actualization. He used the word metamotivation to describe people who were driven to reach self-actualization. People can also have peak experiences that make them feel more whole.


The hierarchy of human needs can be a positive in classrooms because students need to feel that they are in a safe environment before they can learn and be creative. New psychological studies have found that the order of importance can change depending on the age of a person. Abraham also noted that you can not have everything in one level of the hierarchy and still move on to the next level.


Abraham focused on mainly well educated white males who he felt had already reached self-actualization, such as Albert Einstein and Beethoven. He lived in the 1900's and the time period probably affected who he chose to interview as he only chose the top 1% of college students. His studies had neglected to study normal fully functioning human beings, like men and women from other races and ethnicities.