Abraham Harold Maslow (1908 - 1970) is a famous American psychologist who devoted his life to studying the nature of man, his relationship with himself and the world around him. The ideas of the professor served to create a humanistic theory. This is the section of psychology, the subject of which is the self-actualization of the individual, his highest values ​​and the meaning of life.

A well-known scientist was born in Brooklyn, a densely populated area of ​​New York. The baby, born on April 1, 1908, became the firstborn in a family of Jews who immigrated to America from Russia. Parents, being uneducated, did everything in their power to ensure that the eldest son received deep knowledge and grew up as a worthy person. Despite this, the relationship of the small Abraham with the older generation did not develop. My father drank a lot, and my mother was a religious fan. Already as an adult, Abraham Maslow managed to understand and forgive them.

Abraham Maslow: a biography of a psychologistIn his youth, he was ashamed of the behavior of his parents. In addition, the boy disdained even Jewish nationality and appearance: he was frail and weak. To compensate for the physical clumsy, the young man is actively involved in sports, achieving good results. With the same zeal, Maslow begins to nibble at the granite of science, swallowing over and over again new weighty books from local libraries, of which there were more than enough in New York.


At first, the 18-year-old boy, succumbing to his father's persuasion, entered the law faculty at City College. Quickly realizing that he had chosen the wrong course of life, he began to actively study psychology. In 1930, he managed to get a bachelor's degree, a year later - a Master of Arts, and some time later - a doctor. He began to work in his native university. The behavior of macaques is what young Abraham studied in the walls of alma mater. Maslow even devoted his dissertation to this species of monkeys, revealing the subject of sexual and dominant behavior of males in a colony of animals. It was during this period that he also met most of the scientists who had fled from the European countries captured by Hitler. Their communication and controversy became fertile ground for the “germination” of his famous humanistic theory.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow married at the age of 20 to Berta Rudman: she was his cousin, because of this, the parents of both were against marriage. Despite the general condemnation, the couple had two daughters: Ann and Helen. The latter has become a famous psychotherapist.

First books

Considerable research on the topic "Motivation and personality" readers saw in 1954. On the pages of the book were presented the hierarchical structure of needs which are known to every schoolchild. Drawn in the shape of a pyramid, it pointed to the fact that people can not meet their new needs, is to feel a lack in basic needs. In addition, Abraham Harold Maslow focused on complex Ions: when a man satisfies his limited but stable existence, he is, fear of losing control, avoiding a new life of success, ignores the chance and opportunity presented by fate.

Already in 1962, the work “On the Psychology of Being” was published, where the needs of the individual acquired clear outlines and were divided into groups. Although this work is the same as the “Far Limits of Human Nature”, which came out into the world after the psychologist's death, Maslow described them as preliminary and incomplete research.

Needs structure

The five basic immediate needs, without which the individual does not think of his own existence, were singled out and described by Abraham Maslow. Needs, according to his vision, were placed from bottom to top, forming a pyramid. Its foundation was the physical needs, the top - moral and spiritual. This structure looks like this:

  • Life support - the need for food, sleep, sex and material resources.
  • Security - confidence in the future, the desire for public safety.
  • Social contacts - the need to love, make friends, communicate, belong to a particular social group.
  • Recognition - the need for respect from others.
  • Self-actualization is the desire to develop and improve, to realize the creative potential.

The first four groups of needs can be fully satisfied, on the fifth - work forever. In addition, the person is not able to begin to implement the latest needs, while he feels the lack of the previous ones.


As mentioned above, she heads the list of all the needs of the individual. As Abraham Maslow argued, self-actualization consists in the formation of a personality, the ability of a person to become what he can and will. It manifests itself as the full disclosure of the talents of the individual, their development and full application. People who have achieved self-actualization have certain traits of character: benevolence, sense of humor, philosophical non-hostility. They are able to adequately assess themselves, draw wisdom from the experience of their own experiences, strive to develop potential.

  1. Self-knowledge, not indifferent to their own inner world.
  2. The ability to control themselves, the ability to achieve harmony with spiritual consciousness.
  3. The desire to be responsible for their actions, life, natural formation.
  4. Ability to make an adequate choice.
  5. Attitude towards self-actualization as a way of life, worldview.

In a word, it is permanent work on oneself in the name of realizing the creative potential and achieving the peak of spiritual development.

End of life

Abraham Maslow sent existing reserves to the study of the above theories. In addition, he managed to work as president of the American Psychological Association. This post he held from 1967 to 1968, after which he went to work in a well-known charitable foundation. It was here, in the Californian Menlow Park, that he could deal with his other passions: the philosophy of democratic politics, economics and ethics. Unfortunately, not all scientific researches of the psychologist were completed: on June 8, 1970, a heart attack forever interrupted his tireless work.

Despite the fact that more than a decade has passed, the works of the scientist are popular in our days. Abraham Maslow became the theorist who, starting with behaviorism and succumbing to the influence of psychoanalysis, fully formed a humanistic psychology. Therefore, to attribute his name to one direction or another is virtually impossible. Even today, his pyramid of needs and the question of self-actualization concern the bright minds of contemporaries around the world.