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 • 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 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 • Psychoanalysis based on what went wrong. • Theories based on clinically ill patients. • Repressing strong sexual urges. • Animal passions. • “Why pick the wolf?”
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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • Body needs • Hunger and thirst • Need met by most people in US. • But may take dominance in emergencies. • Natural disasters. • Hurricane Katrina
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 • 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 • 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 • Deficit needs. • Deprivation leads to drive to satisfy need. • Achieve homeostasis. • Not just biological needs. • Essential for survival. • Even instinctual.
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 • 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.) • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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) • 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 • 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 • Carl Rogers (1902-1987) • Humanistic attitude. • Unconditional positive regard. • Nondirective approach. • Reflective listening. • Healing will occur naturally.
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 • 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.”
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 • Positive Psychology • Martin Seligman • Learned Optimism • Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi • Flow • Humanistic Psychology with empirical methods. • Practical applications for many, not just a few.