A Theory of Human Motivation
Self-actualization Theory of Psychology
After listing the propositions that must be considered as basic, the author formulates a theory of human motivation in line with these propositions and with the known facts derived from observation and experiment. There are 5 sets of goals (basic needs) which are related to each other and are arranged in a hierarchy of prepotency. When the most prepotent goal is realized, the next higher need emerges. "Thus man is a perpetually wanting animal." Thwarting, actual or imminent, of these basic needs provides a psychological threat that leads to psychopathy.
The present paper is an attempt to formulate a positive theory of motivation which will satisfy these theoretical demands and at the same time conform to the known facts, clinical and observational as well as experimental. It derives most directly, however, from clinical experience. This theory is, I think, in the functionalist tradition of James and Dewey, and is fused with the holism of Wertheimer, Goldstein, and Gestalt Psychology, and with the dynamicism of Freud and Adler. This fusion or synthesis may arbitrarily be called a 'general-dynamic' theory. It is far easier to perceive and to criticize the aspects in motivation theory than to remedy them. Mostly this is because of the very serious lack of sound data in this area. I conceive this lack of sound facts to be due primarily to the absence of a valid theory of motivation. The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand or fall, not so much on facts available or evidence presented, as upon researches to be done, researches suggested perhaps, by the questions raised in this paper.
About the AuthorAbraham H. Maslow, a psychologist and philosopher best known for his self-actualization theory of psychology, which argued that the primary goal of psychotherapy should be the integration of the self. Maslow studied psychology at the University of Wisconsin and Gestalt psychology at the New School for Social Research in New York City before joining the faculty of Brooklyn College in 1937. In 1951 he became head of the psychology department at Brandeis University (Waltham, Massachusetts), where he remained until 1969.
Influenced by existentialist philosophers and literary figures, Maslow was an important contributor in the United States to humanistic psychology, which is sometimes called the “third force.”
In his major works, Motivation and Personality (1954) and Toward a Psychology of Being (1962), Maslow argued that each person has a hierarchy of needs that must be satisfied, ranging from basic physiological requirements to love, esteem, and, finally, self-actualization. As each need is satisfied, the next higher level in the emotional hierarchy dominates conscious functioning. Maslow believed that truly healthy people were self-actualizers because they satisfied the highest psychological needs, fully integrating the components of their personality, or self. His papers, published posthumously, were issued in 1971 as The Farther Reaches of Human Nature.