need-hierarchy theory

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The proposition put forward by the US psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908–70) in his book Motivation and Personality (1954, 1970) that human needs fall into five categories that form the following hierarchy. The strongest and most imperative are the physiological needs for food, water, oxygen, and sex; if the physiological needs are gratified, the needs for safety emerge, and the person begins to seek out safe environments; next to emerge are needs for love and belonging, and the person yearns for a friend, a lover, a place in a group; then needs for esteem come to the fore, and the person seeks self-respect, respect from others, status, and achievement; then last, and usually only if all the others have been reasonably well satisfied, there emerges a need for self-actualization.

Subjects: Psychology.

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