Abraham Maslow was an influential American psychologist best known for his groundbreaking theory of human motivation and hierarchy of needs.
Abraham Harold Maslow grew up in a Jewish immigrant family and faced considerable challenges during childhood, including anti-Semitism. Despite these obstacles, he developed a passion for education and psychology at a young age.
Maslow attended the City College of New York and later pursued his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a Ph.D. in psychology in 1934.
Throughout his career, Maslow worked as a professor at various institutions, including Brooklyn College, where he became interested in humanistic psychology and the study of self-actualization. He became one of the founders of the humanistic psychology movement, which emphasized the importance of individual growth, self-awareness, and personal responsibility.
His most significant paper, A Theory of Human Motivation (1943), appeared in the Psychological Review. Maslow's theory of human motivation is often called the hierarchy of needs. According to him, individuals are driven by a hierarchy of needs that must be satisfied in a specific order.
The needs, arranged in a pyramid, start with basic physiological needs like food, water, and shelter and progress to safety, love and belonging, esteem, and finally, self-actualization, which is one's potential and personal growth.
In Motivation and Personality (1954), Maslow further expanded on his hierarchy of needs theory and explored the concept of self-actualization in depth. He discussed the characteristics and behaviors of self-actualized individuals and the factors that can hinder or facilitate the full realization of their potential.
In Toward a Psychology of Being (1962), Maslow continued his exploration of self-actualization and the characteristics of self-actualized individuals. He emphasized the importance of personal growth, peak experiences, and the need for transcendent or spiritual experiences.
Another significant work is Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences (1964). In this book, Maslow explored the commonalities among various religious and spiritual experiences and discussed the role of peak experiences in promoting personal growth and self-actualization.
Abraham Maslow's theories have profoundly impacted the fields of psychology, education, management, and various other disciplines. His emphasis on the positive aspects of human nature and the pursuit of self-actualization has inspired countless individuals to strive for personal growth.
Abraham Maslow died in California on June 8, 1970, of a heart attack while jogging in Menlo Park. He was 62.