Maslow’s Pyramid (theory Explained)

What is Maslow’s Pyramid

Maslow’s pyramid or pyramid of the hierarchy of human needs, is a graphic illustration that explains how human behavior obeys the satisfaction of hierarchical needs.

The American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) proposes a model of human motivation in his work “A theory of human motivation” (1943) which is based on the following statements:

  • Human behavior is motivated to meet needs,
  • There are needs that have higher priority than others obeying a hierarchy,
  • The satisfaction of lower needs is necessary to generate behaviors that motivate climbing to the top of self-realization.

Maslow’s pyramid is divided into the following five hierarchical levels:

maslow illustrated

First level – Biological: physiological needs

Physiological or biological needs constitute the base of Maslow’s pyramid and are linked to physical survival, being the first motivation of human behavior.

Examples of Physiological Needs they are air, food, drink, sleep, shelter, sex, and balance of body temperature. A person who is hungry will seek food (behavior) motivated by hunger (need).

Second level – Security: security needs

Safety needs correspond to the second level on the scale of Maslow’s pyramid. In this regard, security satisfaction refers to the need to feel secure and stable living in a family, community, or society.

The activities of human behavior can only be directed to the satisfaction of this level of needs once it has fulfilled the first level of physiological needs.

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Examples of security needs they are money, security, order, stability, freedom. A person who does not know if her house will be repossessed because she does not have money to pay her debts will look for ways to generate money (behavior) motivated by stability (need).

Third level – Belonging: needs of belonging and affiliation

Belonging needs are found on the third level of Maslow’s pyramid and encompass the individual’s sense of trust, intimacy and acceptance in a group, be it family, friends or work. At this level, the dynamic between receiving and giving love is the initial motivation for behavior.

Examples of belonging needs they are the search for groups of friends, the strengthening of family ties, the generation of intimacy, the creation of a family. A person who feels uncomfortable, as if he does not belong to her family group, will seek groups of people with the same tastes in music, hobbies or profession (behavior) motivated by the sense of acceptance (need).

Fourth level – Recognition: self-esteem needs

Self-esteem needs correspond to the fourth level of Maslow’s pyramid and are related to individual recognition, whether in the personal, professional or public sphere.

Examples of self-esteem needs are independence, prestige, respect for others, professionalization, achievement, self-respect, status. A person who does not feel valued or who does not have enough recognition from others will look for ways to spread their value, for example, uploading photos on social networks (behavior) motivated by the need for self-esteem (need).

See also self-esteem.

Fifth level – Self-actualization: needs for self-actualization

Self-actualization needs is the top of Maslow’s pyramid that all humans seek to reach. According to Maslow, the search for self-actualization is slowed down by the dissatisfaction of lower physiological needs, security, belonging and self-esteem. Despite this, a crisis can cause a temporary jump in the type of needs that you want to satisfy.

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examples of self-realization they are the realization of personal potential, personal growth, and motivation toward personal ambitions that do not fit into the other four lower need levels. A person who feels that he should pursue a personal project, without being influenced by the opinions of others, will seek to carry out activities that will bring him closer to his goal.

The levels of needs of the Maslow pyramid are also classified into two large groups: Needs due to lack (d-needs) motivated by the lack of the basics that involve the first four levels of the pyramid and the needs for growth (b needs) motivated by personal achievement that are grouped at the top of the pyramid.

See also Self-Actualization, Motivation, and Humanistic Paradigm.