Hierarchy of Needs
SOUTH GEORGIA TECHNICAL COLLEGE
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Abraham Maslow was born on April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York. He was the first born of seven. His parents were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia to the United States before he was born. They came to America to get away from the harsh conditions and socio-political turmoil. His parents, hoping for their children to do better than they did, pushed for educational excellence. He grew up with almost no friends to play with because his father would make him study for long hours. When Maslow wasn’t busy studying, he was assisting his father to make end meet. He was a very lonely boy who spent a lot of his time with his nose in a book. He read works of Freud, Jung, Pavlov. He took a huge interest in psychology. To please his parents he first studied Law at the City College in New York City. After three semesters he couldn’t bare to take another Law class therefore he switched his major to psychology and transferred to Cornell, and then back to the City College. In 1930, Maslow finished up his bachelors in psychology from the University of Wisconsin. Maslow had a thirst for knowledge and received his masters in 1931 and then his doctorate in 1934 both in psychology.
Abraham Maslow is known for establishing the theory of a hierarchy of needs, writing that human beings are motivated by unsatisfied needs, and that certain lower needs need to be satisfied before higher needs can be satisfied; this was a major reason I wanted to pick Maslow to write about because of his theory. This theory interests me, and I understand the meaning of it clearly. Maslow studied exemplary people such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglas rather than mentally ill or neurotic people. This was a radical departure from two of the chief schools of psychology of his day: Freud and B.F. Skinner. Freud saw little difference between the motivations of humans and animals. We are supposedly rational beings; however, we do not act that way. Such pessimism, Maslow believed, was the result of Freud's study of mentally ill people. "The study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy" (Maslow, Abraham. Motivation and Personality). Skinner, on the other hand, studied how pigeons and white rats learn. His motivational models were based on simple rewards such as food and water, sex, and avoidance of pain. Say "sit" to your dog and give the dog a treat when it sits, and-after several repetitions--the dog will sit when you command it to do so. Maslow thought that psychologists should instead study the playfulness, affection, etc., of animals. He also believed that Skinner discounted things that make humans different from each other. Instead, Skinner relied on statistical descriptions of people.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs was an alternative to the depressing determinism...