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Maslow: Holistic-Dynamic Theory

Psychology of Personality

Lecture, Chapter 10


Overview of Holistic-Dynamic Theory

lAssumes that the whole person is constantly being motivated by a need.

lAssumes people have potential to grow toward psychological health.

lThe only way people can reach psychological health is to have all more basic needs met.

lMaslow believed that humans have a higher nature than what psychoanalysis and behaviorism suggest.


Maslow’s Life

lAbraham Maslow was born in Manhattan into a Jewish family as the oldest of seven children.

lAbraham’s life was marked with hatred toward his mother, whom he described as selfish and incapable of love.

lAbraham was highly intelligent but was frequently bored with his scholastic pursuits, changing them often.

lAbraham received a Ph.D. in psychology and worked with prominent philosophers in the field.

lIn his work with the Northern Blackfoot Indians in Canada, Abraham determined that certain needs were common to everyone.

lAbraham’s life was characterized by both physical and psychological challenges, which contributed to his death of a heart attack in 1970.


Maslow’s View of Motivation


lHolistic approach to motivation

lMotivation is usually complex

lPeople are continually motivated by one need or another.

lAll people everywhere are motivated by the same basic needs.

lNeeds can be arranged on a hierarchy.


Hierarchy of Needs

lPhysiological needs

lSafety needs

lLove and belongingness needs

lEsteem needs

lSelf-actualization needs



lReversed order of needs

lUnmotivated behavior

lExpressive and coping behavior

lDeprivation of needs

lInstinctoid nature

lHigher vs. lower needs





lValues: being values or “metaneeds”


Characteristics of Self-Actualization

lMore efficient perception of reality

lAcceptance of self, others, and nature

lSpontaneity, simplicity, and naturalness


lThe need for privacy


lContinued freshness of appreciation

lThe peak experience

lSocial interest

lProfound interpersonal relations

lThe democratic character structure

lDiscrimination between means and ends

lPhilosophical sense of humor


lResistance to enculturation

lCapable of B-love, love for the essence or “Being” of the other, and no longer motivated by D-love, deficiency love.


Philosophy of Science

lHumanistic, holistic approach

lMore emphasis on the individual

lInstill science with human values, emotion, and ritual.

lEncouraged a Taoistic attitude, noninterfering, passive, and receptive.


The Jonah Complex

lJonah Complex: or fear of success

lReasons people run from greatness:



lGoal: to follow the client’s stage in his/her hierarchy of needs.

lMost clients are seeking love and belongingness.

lPurpose: to develop a warm, positive relationship with the client so that needs of love and belongingness are met and confidence/self-worth can be established.



lDid Maslow use science in his theory development? Was his theory able to generate research, be falsified, organize data, guide action, be internally consistent, and be parsimonious?

lWhere does Maslow’s theory fall on the basic issues concerning the nature of humanity?

Determinism vs. free choice

Pessimism vs. optimism

Causality vs. teleology

Conscious vs. unconscious

Social vs. biological influences

Uniqueness vs. similarities