By Kendra Cherry, author of the Everything Psychology Book (2nd Edition).
The hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known theories of motivation. Created by psychologist Abraham Maslow, the hierarchy is often displayed as a pyramid, with the most basic needs at the bottom and more complex needs at the peak.
The basic physiological needs are probably fairly apparent – these include the things that are vital to our survival. Some examples of the physiological needs include:
In addition to the basic requirements of nutrition, air and temperature regulation, the physiological needs also include such things as shelter and clothing. Maslow also included sexual reproduction in this level of the hierarchy of needs since it is essential to the survival and propagation of the species.
As we move up to the second level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the requirements start to become a bit more complex. At this level, the needs for security and safety become primary. People want control and order in their lives, so this need for safety and security contributes largely to behaviors at this level.
Some of the basic security and safety needs include:
- Financial security
- Heath and wellness
- Safety against accidents and injury
Finding a job, obtaining health insurance and health care, contributing money to a savings account, and moving into a safer neighborhood are all examples of actions motivated by the security and safety needs.
The social needs in Maslow’s hierarchy include such things as love, acceptance and belonging. At this level, the need for emotional relationships drives human behavior. Some of the things that satisfy this need include:
- Romantic attachments
- Social groups
- Community groups
- Churches and religious organizations
In order to avoid problems such as loneliness, depression, and anxiety, it is important for people to feel loved and accepted by other people. Personal relationships with friends, family, and lovers play an important role, as does involvement in other groups that might include religious groups, sports teams, book clubs, and other group activities…