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Abraham Maslow. Father of Humanistic Psychology. Third Wave. Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) Forerunner of positive psychology. Radically different view of human nature. Rejected ideas of Freud and Skinner. Harry Harlow’s lab.

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abraham maslow

Abraham Maslow

Father of Humanistic Psychology

third wave
Third Wave
  • Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)
  • Forerunner of positive psychology.
  • Radically different view of human nature.
  • Rejected ideas of Freud and Skinner.
harry harlow s lab
Harry Harlow’s lab
  • Maslow worked in Harlow’s lab as a student at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Harlow famous for the monkey studies using wire and cloth mothers.
  • Maslow didn’t see his future in experimental psychology.
maslow at brandeis
Maslow at Brandeis
  • Maslow began teaching in NYC area.
  • Met many leading neo-Freudians, including Alfred Adler and Erich Fromm.
  • In 1951, Maslow became the chairman of the psychology department at Brandeis University.
  • Met Gestalt Psychologist Kurt Goldstein who introduced him to the idea of self-actualization.

Goldstein first trained as a neurologist and was an early advocate of holistic medicine.

Have to deal with the whole organism.

maslow rejected freud s ideas
Maslow rejected Freud’s ideas
  • Psychoanalysis based on what went wrong.
  • Theories based on clinically ill patients.
  • Repressing strong sexual urges.
  • Animal passions.
  • “Why pick the wolf?”
humanistic psychology
Humanistic Psychology
  • Positive instincts to fulfill human potential.
  • Theories based on study of successful, healthy people (interviews).
  • Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Strong motivating force to do good.
  • Be the best that they could be.
  • Self-actualization.
case studies
Case studies
  • Began with study of two close friends.
  • Expanded to 10 other anonymous living persons.
  • Historical figures: Lincoln, Jefferson.
  • Important personalities: Einstein.
  • Examined biographies, writings and interviewed those still living.
  • Biographic analysis: Qualitative research
guiding principles
Guiding principles
  • 1. Needs arranged according to potency and strength. Lower needs stronger and more urgently felt.
  • 2. Lower needs appear earlier in development.
  • Babies concerned with biological, toddlers with safety, seniors more likely to be self-actualized.
hierarchy of needs
Hierarchy of needs
  • 3. Needs are filled sequentially, lowest to highest.
  • Maslow did not believe that you had to completely satisfy each level before moving to a higher one.
  • Example: work for safety when 60% of physiological needs met.
physiological needs
Physiological needs
  • Body needs
  • Hunger and thirst
  • Need met by most people in US.
  • But may take dominance in emergencies.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Hurricane Katrina
safety needs
Safety needs
  • Security in our environment.
  • Stability and protection.
  • Job security, insurance, retirement plans.
  • Stock market crash wipes out nest egg.
  • Pathologies: OCD: no sense of security, PTSD and panic attacks.

Black Monday, 1987

love and belongingness
Love and Belongingness
  • Friends, life partner, children, social clubs, religious communities.
  • Stunting of this need leads to most behavior problems.
  • Importance of social bonds.
  • Some question whether you can love others until you love yourself  Esteem needs
esteem needs has two levels
Esteem needs has two levels
  • Lower level  need for respect from others
  • Such as recognition, attention, appreciation.
  • Higher level  self respect
  • Such as confidence, competence, mastery.
  • Pathologies: inferiority complex, depression.
  • Question: Can others respect you if you don’t respect yourself?
cycle of d motives
Cycle of D-motives
  • Deficit needs.
  • Deprivation leads to drive to satisfy need.
  • Achieve homeostasis.
  • Not just biological needs.
  • Essential for survival.
  • Even instinctual.
being motives
Being motives
  • Once D-needs fulfilled, being needs emerge.
  • Growth motivation
  • Not governed by homeostasis.
  • Becomes stronger as you fulfill them.
  • Strive now to be all that you can be.
  • Self-actualizers.
portrait of self actualizers
Portrait of self-actualizers
  • Small group according to Maslow.
  • 1-2% of the adult population.
  • Generally 60 plus years old
  • Reality and problem centered.
  • Enjoy solitude and have deep personal relationships with a few close friends.
self actualizers cont
Self-actualizers (cont.)
  • Autonomous, resisted enculturation.
  • Acceptance of self and others.
  • Strong ethics, spiritual, seldom religious.
  • Prefer spontaneity and simplicity.
  • Unhostile sense of humor.
  • Source: Prof. George Boeree http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/maslow.html
peak experiences
Peak experiences
  • Moments of transcendence.
  • To climb above culture.
  • Perceptual experiences, largely passive.
  • Spiritual realm for some but not necessarily religious.
  • People may be reluctant to report.
  • Unlike FLOW where you have superior functioning, self-absorbed.
peak experiences described
Peak experiences described
  • Davis (1991) interviewed 250 people.
  • 80% reported having a peak experience.
  • Might share contents with close friend.
  • Experience special, intimate and personal.
  • Not easy to describe in words.
  • Transcend normal language.
failure to actualize
Failure to actualize
  • Maslow many fail to actualize because
  • 1) Growth tendency is weaker than deficiency motives. Hard to transcend hunger.
  • 2) Normal culture downplays the importance of the inner life (voice). Just trying to gain control of our impulses.
  • 3) Growth requires taking risks than many are unwilling to do. Example: international education. Study in another culture.
jonah complex
Jonah Complex
  • Maslow used biblical story of Jonah to illustrate those unwilling to take risks.
  • Jonah tried to run away from risk.
  • Only after spending some time in the whale did he agree to complete his mission.
  • Maslow called this reluctance the Jonah Complex.
maslow s critics
Maslow’s critics
  • Need hierarchy is wildly popular.
  • Education, management, psychotherapy, and nursing.
  • Any research to suggest it’s true?
  • Maslow’s research case studies.
  • Others have done studies or larger and more diverse groups.
hierarchy of needs 5 or 2
Hierarchy of needs (5 or 2)
  • Little empirical support for 5 stages.
  • Stronger evidence for two levels: deficiency and growth.
  • Developmental growth does have much support either.
  • Older adults rate self-actualization as their lowest NOT highest need.
  • College students most concerned about esteem and security
other criticisms
Other criticisms
  • Elitist (1-2%): Very small club.
  • Growth motivation more wide spread than Maslow believed.
  • Carl Rogers: “every person has one basic tendency and striving– to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experienced self.”
client centered therapy
Client-Centered Therapy
  • Carl Rogers (1902-1987)
  • Humanistic attitude.
  • Unconditional positive regard.
  • Nondirective approach.
  • Reflective listening.
  • Healing will occur naturally.
winter at valley forge
Winter at Valley Forge
  • Washington’s Army was hungry, cold, away from families, in fear for their lives.
  • Mostly volunteers.
  • Some deserted but enough remained to form the core of a new army.

Sacrifice lower needs to meet those of a higher calling.

bias towards western culture
Bias towards Western Culture
  • Emphasis on individual achievement, getting credit for new idea.
  • Esteem in standing out.
  • Asian cultures all succeed together.
  • Emphasis on team work.
  • Japanese saying: “The nail that sticks up gets pounded down.”
third wave1
Positive side

Optimistic view of humankind.

Human abilities.

Growth potential.

Healthy personality.

Pyramid of needs

Negative side

Non-scientific.

Philosophy rather than psychology.

Need evidence to support beliefs.

Self-actualizers rare.

Practical applications.

Third Wave
fourth wave
Fourth Wave
  • Positive Psychology
  • Martin Seligman
  • Learned Optimism
  • Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi
  • Flow
  • Humanistic Psychology with empirical methods.
  • Practical applications for many, not just a few.