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Maslow’s Biography and Popular Theory

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Psychology
Wordcount: 2035 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Maslow’s Biography and Popular Theory

Early Life

Abraham H. Maslow, a well-known figure of psychology, born in the outskirts of Brooklyn, New York on April 1st, 1908. Maslow was the oldest son of Russian immigrants, Samuel and Rose. Maslow’s parents had an everlasting relationship, having Abraham just after coming into the United States. Maslow’s parents had no education, having Maslow lead the children with no example, being the trailblazer. As the oldest, feeling lonely and unhappy from being the first Jewish boy raised in a non-Jewish neighborhood. Even though Maslow lived amongst a multi-ethnic neighborhood, there was a social stigma present against Jews, meaning times were tough and bullying was present. Through lifelong experiences Maslow evolved into a famous theorist in psychology known for an his influential work today, The Hierarchy of Needs.


Each early childhood factor led Maslow and Maslow’s younger siblings to stay away from others, spending various amounts of time in libraries. The Maslow kids had to raise themselves as Abraham’s father was verbally abusive, publicly announcing Maslow as ugly. Rose Maslow, the mother wasn’t loving or caring, known to do bizarre things such as dead bolting the refrigerator door shut, only opening when the right mood was within. Rose Maslow also scared the kids from tormenting kittens in vigorous ways when Abraham would scavenge them off of the streets to save them from freezing to death. The children experienced an array of unfortunate events.


As the oldest of seven siblings after going through such a rough childhood Maslow made the executive decision to move above the public standards, secluding himself. Maslow furthered a higher level education at an all-boys High School which is prestigious in Brooklyn, where intelligent and involved have the ability to rise above. Maslow was in a multitude of extracurricular events and activities like Latin and Physics Club. The Latin and Physics Club opened the door to getting the quality networking to further the opportunity to edit a paper, becoming the Physics paper of the year as well as Latin magazine for the school. Maslow’s parents always acted disappointed even when the sixteen year old decided to go to a higher level scoring high school, as a challenge. Maslow then decided to go on and study law at the City College of New York, as Psychology wasn’t so interesting at the time dreading it each day.

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At seventeen Maslow a parental figure in raising the kids, so the answer to the equation was to enroll in night classes, in order to still be proactive at home when the kids were at school. Still staying in his hometown, after three semesters he decided to transfer out to Cornell University in Itecha, New York. Maslow decided to take a basic psychology lecturing class, where the students learned the scientific introspection theory at the new school. The brilliant minded boy still didn’t have any interest but transfer back to his alma mater.

Maslow married the girl he had always loved his entire life, also his first cousin, Bertha Goodman he was 20 years of age and she was 19 years old in high school. A few years had gone by and in 1928 Maslow’s family would to Wisconsin and transferred to the University of Wisconsin as well. Together the kids named Anna and Ellen this started what Maslow would often times described as the true beginning of life. Maslow felt like there was a purpose to the existence of such an obscured lifestyle.

At the University of Wisconsin he then earned his Bachelors, Masters and PhD in Psychology. Maslow was the first doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin, which made Maslow known as a well-educated man by many. In 1935 Maslow moved to Columbia University as a high-end researcher serving 18 months under Edward L. Thorndike, which was the doctoral professor. Thorndike gave Maslow permission to do more research under human sexuality theories because Maslow scored so high on an IQ test that Thorndike gave at the college. 1937 rolled around and Maslow then moved to Brooklyn College until 1961 yet in the meantime he taught full-time and continuing the studies on human sexuality.

Maslow ended up having an unexpected heart attack, so the family had to take a medical leave on his behalf. Although Maslow’s health was diminishing, In 1951 Maslow went on to Brandeis University and became a chairman in the psychology department. While working at the University, Maslow met Kurt Goldstein who created an advanced thought of self-actualization. As time went on Goldstein created a book and got various public recognition. With Maslow’s Networking the two men were able to meet Alfred Adler and Henry Murray as two more educated men, for even more theories to be brought up together, which then spiked Maslow’s interest of questioning why individuals don’t self actualize when basic needs are achieved. Maslow liked the idea of understanding and being able to portray and describe to people how full potential may be achieved as the end all goal.

Popular Theory

In the 1940s Maslow trying to assess if we had a series of different behaviors that we had the option to choose which behavior we would engage in at that point in time depending on what our needs work. What makes humans decide to choose one Behavior over another. The idea of priorities what conditions predispose us to think this way. Throughout Abraham Maslow’s life he has had many popular ideas and theories as he is one of the most influential psychology theorists of all time. His most famous piece is The Hierarchy of Needs, formulated in 1943. This idea has five different needs in order to achieve the fifth step, being the final full potential stage of life as the goal.

History of Period

At the time, WWII was just ending which was ideal that families know and understand major ideas about living. Maslow’s Theory helped people through processes of thousands of people battling issues in and out of the house throughout and after the war. Families had better explanations for kids, as to what will happen next as well as in the future. This module is nearly in every introductory psychology textbook description. This work of art describes humanistic psychology and special behavior on how thought process work as we go through our everyday life.

Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow came up with just the right piece to describe our thought process’. Barios (2009) briefly describes and acknowledges that the outline entails high goals when strived for in order to proceed up the pyramid, yet never outlines a way to be put in the right direction in order to get to each days depending on where one is at. Behavior is driven by needs developed in a hierarchy system mentioning that certain sets of needs must be met in order for someone to pursue higher level needs. All lower needs have to be met first for the next level to be engaged. Although the pyramid is step by step the Indian Journal of Health, Tripathi & Moakumla (2018) add that one may often times fluctuate between stages if strenuous life events happen such as divorce or poverty.

Basic Needs

First to master is the psychological need in order to sustain life for basic survival such as water, oxygen and food. Du Bois (2007) describes a man that is derived from all stimuli and pleasure from basic need with human existence enables one from performing basic tasks. If one was thirsty than the particular mindset would be set on quenching thirst not anything else that may be on a person’s plate. The Psychological stage is the important to the nervous system at all times, once that is met than the brain will then focus on security.

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Safety and Security, which encompasses physical emotional and even financial security. A relevant example would be the feeling of getting scared if a job or workplace decides to cut down or downsize employees. Human behavior will try to then fulfill the need to start looking for a new job when timed windows down such as using the methods of networking or even referencing back to what could happen if that employee were without a job. Worries sets in as a result of the stage trying to be fulfilled.

Psychological Needs

The third stage is belongingness and love, the sense of being part of something or a particular group. This is often a stage that can be accompanied in a workplace because after so long workers start to branch out make clicks to build friendships out of the building block of desire to belong. Being socially stable in the workplace makes for a more stable company, especially in the task force, described Beersdorf (2018).

Esteem needs is a desire to feel good with ourselves that is satisfied in a magnitude of ways. Trying to reach a prestige look or manner such as clothing company worked for title behind your name or even what is driven that day to a particular spot are great examples of trying to fulfill esteem needs as an individual. Another example of a common trait would be when someone has worked at a place for a while their actions may then be driven by self-esteem, wanting that top position or feeling successful in more wise than others.

Self-Fulfillment Needs

The four lower needs are now met then self-actualization is needed to feel as though we are reaching our highest potential. Not everyone will obtain the same level of self-actualization due to different goals and abilities set within individuals. Skills help better versions of humanity be reached. Conley (2007) acknowledges that Maslow would look around in his classroom asking which of his students will achieve greatness, has blank faces would often times arise. Not everyone believes that they can reach this final stage and master the final idea of self-actualization because some may feel that everyone can structure better versions of themselves never settling.


The Hierarchy of Needs is useful, fully helping understand how to claim motivation how to design plans to meet it also makes it easier to predict Behavior coming along as stages are being worked through and succeeded. Soni (2016) concluded that if there is any chance that someone may shy away from the practical idea, timid to succeed, culture is effected in that individual. This systematic explained process relates to majority of physical as well as mental needs in individuals.


  • Barrios, A. (2009). Understanding Hypnosis. Theory, Scope and Potential. (Ch. 10 pp. 65) New York: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Beersdorf, W. (2018). Meeting individual and organizational wellness needs. Perspective, 5-7 Retrieved from https://leb.fbi.gov/articles/perspective/perspective-law-enforcement-wellness-meeting-individual-and-organizational-needs
  • Bois, D., & Wright, R. (2007). Politics in the Human Interest . Applying Sociology in the Real World.  (Ch. 7 pp.59). Lanham: Lexington Books.
  • Conley, C. (2007). Creating a self-actualized life. How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow, 1st ed (14) (pp. 231-232). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Soni, R. (2016). Enhancing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Effective Leadership. Competition Forum, 14(2), 259–263. Retrieved from
  • Tripathi, N., & Moakumla. (2018). A valuation of Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization for the enhancement of quality of life. Indian Journal of Health & Wellbeing, 9(3), (pp. 501)


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