Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a popular theory of human motivation proposed by humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943 that suggests humans satisfy their needs in a sequential order beginning with physiological needs (food, water, sex) and ranging through safety needs (protection from harm), belongingness and love needs (companionship), esteem needs (prestige, respect of others), and finally, self-actualization needs (self-fulfillment).
According to Maslow, as material wealth becomes decreasingly relevant to personal happiness, the desire for belonging, self esteem and self satisfaction becomes more important. He believed that people are not controlled by mechanical forces (the stimuli and reinforcement forces of behaviorism) or unconscious instinctual impulses of psychoanalysis alone.
Placing actualization into a hierarchy of motivation was a groundbreaking idea. Self actualization, as Maslow called it, is the highest drive, but before a person can turn to it, he or she must satisfy other, lower motivations like hunger, safety and belonging.
The hierarchy has five levels:
- Physiological needs (hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, etc.).
- Safety needs (security, protection from physical and emotional harm).
- Social needs (affection, belonging, acceptance, friendship).
- Esteem needs (also called ego). The internal ones are self respect, autonomy, achievement and the external ones are status, recognition, attention.
- Self-actualization needs (doing things)
- ^ American Marketing Association, AMA Dictionary.