Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Maslow's pyramid or Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory used in the area of psychology that comprises a five-level model based on different human needs, often represented as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Maslow stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take priority over others. Our most basic need is physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that level is reached, the next level is what motivates us to reach the next level, and so on.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

Related topics

Personal development, happiness, motivation

What is Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

The pyramid of Maslow or Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a theory proposed by Abraham Maslow that says that as different basic needs are satisfied, human beings develop more needs and desires.

About Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

This pyramid model consists of five stages that can be divided according to the deficiency and growth needs of the human being. The first four levels are often called deficiency needs and the upper level is known as growth level. These deficiency needs arise from deprivation and are said to motivate people when they are not satisfied. In addition, the motivation to meet such needs will become stronger the longer the denial lasts. For example, the longer a person goes without food, the hungrier he or she will be. When a deficit need has been partly met, it will disappear, and our activities will usually be oriented toward the next set of needs that we still have to meet. These then become our main needs. However, growth needs continue and may become stronger once a commitment has been made to meet them. According to Maslow, the growth needs that arise do not come from a lack of something, but from a desire to grow as a person. Once these growth needs have been reasonably met, one can reach the highest level called self-actualization.

Characteristics of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs


The main needs that human beings have according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are:

The last level belongs to the need for self-realization or self-actualization and is a psychological need that is at the top of the needs. The human being achieves this level when he is able to satisfy all the other levels.

Criticism of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

The criticisms that have arisen and that have been made with respect to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs revolve around the fact that for many it is very complicated as far as its operability is concerned. Some experts insist that there is no proof that all people have the capacity to become self-fulfilling beings. There are those who think that their theory and concepts are obsolete because they only study the basic needs of the individual, but not of the individual made society. For some, happiness is a concept that can be achieved, but for others, it is merely a utopian concept.


A real-life example would be a child who at the beginning of his life was hungry and cold, but his parents find good jobs and begin to have access to meet their basic needs. Sometime later, the child grows up in an unsafe neighborhood, so his parents buy a house in a better neighborhood. Once there, he feels alone and without friends, but after a few days he is accepted by his classmates. He is not very agile in sports and is afraid of failing, but with time, he succeeds in the basketball team. Over time, he becomes a famous sportsman, which allows him to be admired by the world and end up satisfied with his achievements, so he is able to value everything he has achieved.

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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