Abraham Maslow wrote A Theory on Human Motivation in 1943. The paper explained the Hierarchy of Needs but full details were not explained until 1954 when Maslow published Motivation and Personality. According to Maslow, there are some human needs that are more basic than others.
Needs are placed on a pyramid with basic needs taking up the largest bottom portion with lesser needs taking up less pyramid space – similar to the food pyramid. Human psychology, emotion and societal definition of the word “basic needs” have changed dramatically since the inception of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs so a team of psychologists from Arizona State University set out to update Maslow’s design to reflect today’s basic needs. The result was a more complex pyramid surrounded by controversy.
Maslow’s Original Hierarchy of Needs
The original pyramid consisted of five categories with the most basic needs falling onto the bottom of the pyramid and as need lessened, categories were gradually stacked to the top. Physiological needs are the most basic according to Maslow. These include water, food and breathing. Sleep, homeostasis (internal equilibrium) and excretion are also included in the Physiological category. Finally, Maslow considered sex one of the most basic needs.
The next step up on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the Safety category. Safety refers to one’s ability to maintain a safe or secure feeling in all aspects of life including employment, family, health and morality. Love / Belonging made the third spot for Maslow. Family, friends and intimacy with a sexual partner is defined as love and belonging.
Esteem takes the next to top spot on the Hierarchy of Needs. Esteem includes self-esteem and respect of others. Feeling confidence and achievement also falls under the category of Esteem. The final basic need, according to Maslow is Self-Actualization. This category includes many of the thinking activities people perform every day including creativity, problem solving and spontaneity.
Arizona State University Hierarchy of Needs 2010
The psychologists at Arizona State University took the original Hierarchy of Needs and created an overlapping, updated version mirroring the complexity of modern human existence. The fact that all levels of the pyramid now overlap on a 3-D plane instead of ending with movement from one level to another represents how basic needs can be met and lost at any given moment.
Updated categories in the 2010 Hierarchy of Needs from the top (least basic) to bottom (most basic) are parenting, mate retention, mate acquisition, status / esteem, affiliation, self-protection and immediate physiological needs. Self-actualization was removed from the list all together because, according to PsychCentral, “…it isn’t an evolutionarily fundamental need.” Here is where the debate begins.
Many of the basic human functions fitting into self-actualization are linked to mate acquisition and reproduction, according to the team of Arizona State University psychologists. Maslow placed creativity, morality and problem solving within self-actualization. Douglas Kenrick, a professor at ASU and lead author, linked creativity to reproduction when he offered, “You could argue that a peacock’s display is as beautiful as anything any human artist has ever produced. Yet it is clear biological function – to attract a mate. We suspect that self actualization is also simply an expression of the more evolutionary fundamental need to reproduce.”
Commentaries included when the new Hierarchy of Needs was published questioned parenting and the basic need of reproduction as being primary goals of life. If looked at from a basic level, no pun intended, the new Hierarchy of Needs infers that creativity of all kinds is driven by a need to reproduce and parent to advance the human species toward more reproduction and parenting.
Do you believe artists, poets, writers and creativity in all forms are guided by the need to acquire a mate, retain a mate, procreate and parent?
“Updated Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs | Psych Central News.”Psych Central – Trusted Mental Health, Depression, Bipolar, ADHD and Psychology Information. Web. 26 Aug. 2010.
“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 26 Aug. 2010.