Definition: In Maslow's theory, the notion that needs occur in priority order, with the biological needs as the most basic.

History: Abraham Maslow is a humanistic psycholoigist who studied humans positive mental health processes and their most basic needs. He created a theory that established a heirachy of humans needs and motives.

Biological & Phisological

These are biological needs like food, water, oxygen, rest, sex, and release from tension, are an individuals primary motivation. Until these needs are met, they cannot move on to other things.


Next is our needs for safety, they help us to avoid danger. Safety is the second in Maslow's theory meaning that the only other need that would come before keeping safe is your biological needs.

Attachment and Affiliation

Needs to belong, to affiliate, to love and be loved.


The need for confidence, sense of worth and competence, self-esteem and respect of others.
Need for self respect


Motivation to seek the fullest development of our creative human potential and to fulfill goals.

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Quite Simply...

  • Needs which are lower in the hierarchy are more important to the individual and will be satisfied first.
  • A theory that helps describe which needs are more basic and need to be fulfilled first.
  • Fulfilling desires or needs which are most important to a person in order to reduce the drive level.
  • Needs essential for survival and reproduction will be satisfied first, then needs for personal reasons and success.
  • Biological needs will be satisfied before personal needs.
  • The first theory to incorporate social influences upon an individual's actions.

Examples of Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs

  • A person will satisfy their hunger before they seek interpersonal attachment.
  • An average person in a first world country will seek a higher social status driven by external motivator for self esteem; however an average person in a third world country will be motivated to satisfy their physiological and safety needs.
  • A hungry animal will risk its safety to satisfy its need for food.
  • A person will make sure they have a sense of belonging before finding their full potential.

See Also..

  • Motivation which is any process that starts, directs, or maintains any psychological or physical activity
  • Drivebiologically instigated motivation meeting needs for survival and reproduction.
  • Humanistic Pyscholoigist which are pyschologist that study human behavior.