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Holistic Dynamic Theory

Abraham Maslow


Maslow theory
Humanistic theory, transpersonal theory, the third force in psychology, the fourth force in
personality, needs theory, and self-actualization theory

Psychoanalysis and its modification

First force
Second force
Third force
Maslow accepted some of the tenets of psychoanalysis and behaviorism
Maslow criticized both psychoanalysis and behaviorism for their limited views of humanity and
their inadequate understanding of the psychologically healthy person.
Holistic-dynamic theory
because it assumes that the whole person is constantly being motivated by one need or another
and that people have the potential to grow toward psychological health, that is, self-

To attain Self-actualization:
people must satisfy lower level needs such as hunger, safety, love, and esteem


Basic Assumptions:

Holistic approach to motivation

That is, the whole person, not any single part or function, is motivated
Motivation is usually complex
meaning that a persons behavior may spring from several separate motives
Motivation for a behavior may be unconscious or unknown to the person.
For example, the motivation for a college student to make a high grade may mask the need for
dominance or power
People are continually motivated by one need or another
When one need is satisfied, it ordinarily loses its motivational power and is then replaced by
another need
All people everywhere are motivated by the same basic needs.
The manner in which people in different cultures obtain food, build shelters, express friendship,
and so forth may vary widely, but the fundamental needs for food, safety, and friendship are
common to the entire species
Needs can be arranged on a hierarchy
assumes that lower level needs must be satisfied or at least relatively satisfied before higher
level needs become motivators
Conative needs
Meaning that they have a striving or motivational character.
Lower level needs
have prepotency over higher level needs; that is, they must be satisfied or mostly satisfied before
higher level needs become activated


including food, water, oxygen, maintenance of body temperature, and so on.
The most prepotent of all.
First, they are the only needs that can be completely satisfied or even overly satisfied.
Second, their recurring nature

When people have partially satisfied their physiological needs, they become motivated by safety
including physical security, stability, dependency, protection, and freedom from threatening
forces such as war, terrorism, illness, fear, anxiety, danger, chaos, and natural disasters. The
needs for law, order, and structure are also safety needs
they cannot be overly satiated

Most healthy adults

satisfy their safety needs most of the time, thus making these needs relatively unimportant.
are more often motivated by safety needs because they live with such threats as darkness,
animals, strangers, and punishments from parents
also feel relatively unsafe because they retain irrational fears from childhood that cause them to
act as if they were afraid of parental punishment.
Basic anxiety
They spend far more energy than do healthy people trying to satisfy safety needs, and when
they are not successful in their attempts, they suffer from what Maslow (1970) called


After people partially satisfy their physiological and safety needs, they become motivated
such as the desire for friendship; the wish for a mate and children; the need to belong to a
family, a club, a neighborhood, or a nation.
include some aspects of sex and human contact as well as the need to both give and receive love
Three types of love and belongingness need
Love and belongingness needs adequately satisfied
from early years do not panic when denied love.
These people have confidence that they are accepted by those who are important to them,
so when other people reject them, they do not feel devastated.
Never experienced love and belongingness
and, therefore, they are incapable of giving love.
They have seldom or never been hugged, or cuddled nor experienced any form of verbal
Maslow believed that these people will eventually learn to devalue love and to take its
absence for granted.
Received love and belongingness
only in small doses. Because they receive only a taste of love and belongingness, they will be
strongly motivated to seek it.
In other words, people who have received only a little amount of love have stronger needs
for affection and acceptance than do people who have received either a healthy amount of
love or no love at all
need love in order to grow psychologically, and their attempts to satisfy this need are usually
straightforward and direct.
too, need love, but their attempts to attain it are sometimes cleverly disguised
often engage in self-defeating behaviors, such as pretending to be aloof from other people or
adopting a cynical, cold, and calloused manner in their interpersonal relationships
may give the appearance of self-sufficiency and independence but in reality they have a strong
need to be accepted and loved by other people
Other adults whose love needs remain largely unsatisfied adopt more obvious ways of trying to
satisfy them, but they undermine their own success by striving too hard.

which include self-respect, confidence, competence, and the knowledge that others hold them
in high esteem

Two levels of esteem needs

is the perception of the prestige, recognition, or fame a person has achieved in the eyes of
others, whereas
is a persons own feelings of worth and confidence
real competence and not merely on others opinions
is based on more than reputation or prestige; it reflects a desire for strength, for achievement,
for adequacy, for mastery and competence, for confidence in the face of the world, and for
independence and freedom
Once people meet their esteem needs, they stand on the threshold of self-actualization, the
highest need recognized by Maslow.
When lower level needs are satisfied, people proceed more or less automatically to the next
Self-actualization needs include self-fulfillment, the realization of all ones potential, and a desire
to become creative in the full sense of the word
Become fully human, satisfying needs that others merely glimpse or never view at all
They are natural in the same sense that animals and infants are natural; that is, they express
their basic human needs and do not allow them to be suppressed by culture.
maintain their feelings of self-esteem even when scorned, rejected, and dismissed by other
once esteem needs are met, they do not always move to the level of self-actualization
assumed that self-actualization needs become potent whenever esteem needs have been met.
Why some people step over the threshold from esteem to self-actualization and others do not is
a matter of whether or not they embrace the B-values (B-values will be discussed in the section
titled Self-Actualization).
People who highly respect such values as truth, beauty, justice, and the other B-values become
self-actualizing after their esteem needs are met, whereas people who do not embrace these
values are frustrated in their self-actualization needs even though they have satisfied each of


are not universal, but at least some people in every culture seem to be motivated by the need
for beauty and aesthetically pleasing experiences
People with strong aesthetic needs desire beautiful and orderly surroundings, and when these
needs are not met, they become sick in the same way that they become sick when their conative
needs are frustrated
People prefer beauty to ugliness, and they may even become physically and spiritually ill when
forced to live in squalid, disorderly environments

Most people have a desire to know, to solve mysteries, to understand, and to be curious.
When cognitive needs are blocked, all needs on Maslows hierarchy are threatened; that is,
knowledge is necessary to satisfy each of the five conative needs.
believed that healthy people desire to know more, to theorize, to test hypotheses, to uncover
mysteries, or to find out how something works just for the satisfaction of knowing.

However, people who have not satisfied their cognitive needs, who have been consistently lied
to, have had their curiosity stifled, or have been denied information, become pathological, a
pathology that takes the form of skepticism, disillusionment, and cynicism.
Other needs when not satisfied leads to some level of illness
neurotic needs lead only to stagnation and pathology
are nonproductive
They perpetuate an unhealthy style of life and have no value in the striving for self-actualization
are usually reactive is, they serve as compensation for unsatisfied basic needs
For example, a person who does not satisfy safety needs may develop a strong desire to hoard
money or property


The more a lower level need is satisfied, the greater the emergence of the next level need
physiological, 85%; safety, 70%; love and belongingness, 50%; esteem, 40%; and self-
actualization, 10%.
Needs, therefore, emerge gradually, and a person may be simultaneously motivated by needs
from two or more levels.

Reversed Order of Needs

though needs are generally satisfied in the hierarchical order occasionally they are reversed
(mauuna nag higher sa lower need)
Reversals, however, are usually more apparent than real
If we understood the unconscious motivation underlying the behavior, we would recognize that
the needs are not reversed.

Unmotivated Behavior
Maslow believed that even though all behaviors have a cause, some behaviors are not motivated
other words, not all determinants are motives.
Some behavior is not caused by needs but by other factors such as conditioned reflexes,
maturation, or drugs.
Motivation is limited to the striving for the satisfaction of some need (coping behavior). Much of
what Maslow (1970) called expressive behavior is unmotivated

Expressive and Coping Behavior

Expressive behavior
is often an end in itself and serves no other purpose than to be.
It is frequently unconscious and usually takes place naturally and with little effort.
It has no goals or aim but is merely the persons mode of expression.
slouching, looking stupid, being relaxed, showing anger, and expressing joy.
Expressive behavior can continue even in the absence of reinforcement or reward. For example,
a frown, a blush, or a twinkle of the eye is not ordinarily specifically reinforced
include ones gait, gestures, voice, and smile (even when alone).
examples of expression include art, play, enjoyment, appreciation, wonder, awe, and excitement.
Expressive behavior is usually unlearned, spontaneous, and determined by forces within the
person rather than by the environment

Coping behavior
is ordinarily conscious, effortful, learned, and determined by the external environment
individuals attempts to cope with the environment; to secure food and shelter; to make friends;
and to receive acceptance, appreciation, and prestige from others
serves some aim or goal (although not always conscious or known to the person), and it is
always motivated by some deficit need

Deprivation of Needs
Lack of satisfaction of any of the basic needs
leads to some kind of pathology results in malnutrition, fatigue, loss of energy, obsession with
sex, and so on.
Threats to ones safety
ead to fear, insecurity, and dread.
When love needs go unfulfilled
a person becomes defensive, overly aggressive, or socially timid.
Lack of esteem
Results in the illnesses of self-doubt, self-depreciation, and lack of confidence.
Deprivation of self-actualization needs
also leads to pathology, or more accurately, metapathology.

as the absence of values, the lack of fulfillment, and the loss of meaning in life.

Instinctoid Nature of Needs

Hypothesizes that some human needs are innately determined even though they can be
modified by learning.
Sex, for example, is a basic physiological need, but the manner in which it is expressed depends
on learning.

Instinctual needs
Produces pathology,
persistent and their satisfaction leads to psychological health.
species-specific humans
can be molded, inhibited, or altered by environmental influences
Noninstinctoid needs
does not produce illness
usually temporary and their satisfaction is not a prerequisite for health.
species-specific not human

Maslow (1970) insisted that society should protect the weak, subtle, and tender instinctoid
needs if they are not to be overwhelmed by the tougher more powerful culture

Comparison of Higher and Lower Needs

higher level needs
(love, esteem, and self-actualization)
lower level needs
(physiological and safety).

Both Instinctoid and biological
higher level needs
are later on the phylogenetic or evolutionary scale.
only humans (a relatively recent species) have the need for self-actualization.
appear later during the course of individual development;
produce more happiness and more peak experiences,
more subjectively desirable to those people who have experienced both higher and lower level
In other words, a person who has reached the level of self-actualization would have no
motivation to return to a lower stage of development
lower level needs
must be cared for in infants and children before higher level needs become operative
produce more happiness and more peak experiences,
Hedonistic pleasure, however, is usually temporary and not comparable to the quality of
happiness produced by the satisfaction of higher needs.