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 professor's ideas served to create a humanistic theory. This is the section of psychology, the subject of which is the self-actualization of the individual, his higher values ​​and the meaning of life.

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

Abraham Maslow: 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 physical inaccuracy, the young man actively engages in sports, achieving good results. With the same zeal Maslow begins to gnaw the granite of science, swallowing time after time new hefty books from local libraries, which in New York was more than enough.


At first, the 18-year-old boy, yielding to the persuasions of his father, enrolled at the Faculty of Law at City College. Quickly realizing that he chose the wrong way of life, he began to actively study psychology. In 1930 he managed to obtain a bachelor's degree, a year later - the Master of Arts, after a while - a doctor. Work began in his native university. The behavior of macaques - that's what young Abraham studied in the walls of alma mater. Maslow even dedicated a dissertation to this version of monkeys, revealing the theme of the sexual and dominant behavior of males in the colony of animals. It was during this period that he also got acquainted with the majority of scientists who had fled from European countries captured by Hitler. Their communication and arguments have become fertile ground for the "germination" of his famous humanistic theory.

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

The 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 "Toward the Psychology of Being" was published, where the needs of the individual acquired clear outlines and were divided into groups. Although this work, just as the "Far Limits of Human Nature", which came out into the world after the death of a psychologist, Maslow characterized as a preliminary and unfinished research.

Structure of needs

The five basic essential needs, without which the individual does not think of his existence, is identified and described by Abraham Maslow. Needs, according to his vision, were located from the bottom to the 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 security.
  • Social contacts are the need to love, be friends, communicate, belong to a particular social group.
  • Recognition is the need for respect from others.
  • Self-actualization is the desire to develop and improve, to realize creative potential.

The first four groups of needs can be fully satisfied, over the fifth - work forever. In addition, a person is not able to begin to realize the last need, as long as he feels a shortage in the previous ones.


As mentioned above, she tops the list of all the needs of the individual. According to Abraham Maslow, self-actualization consists in the formation of the personality, the ability of a person to become what he can and wants. It manifests itself as a full disclosure of the individual's talents, their development and full application. People who have achieved self-actualization have certain character traits: benevolence, a 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 the potential.

  1. Self-knowledge, indifference to one's own inner world.
  2. Ability to control oneself, ability to achieve harmony with mental consciousness.
  3. Desire to be responsible for one's actions, life path, natural becoming.
  4. Ability to make an adequate choice.
  5. Attitude to self-actualization as a way of life, worldview.

In a word, it is a constant work on yourself in the name of realizing the creative potential and reaching the peak of spiritual development.

The End of the Life Path

Abraham Maslow sent existing reserves to study the above theories. In addition, he managed to work as president of the American Psychological Association. He held this post from 1967 to 1968, after which he left to work in a well-known charitable foundation. It was here, in the Californian Menlow Park, that he could tackle his other predilection: 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 permanently interrupted his tireless work.

Despite the fact that more than a decade has passed, the scholar's works are popular even today. Abraham Maslow became the theorist who, starting with behaviorism and succumbing to the influence of psychoanalysis, completely formed a humanistic psychology. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to attribute his name to this or that direction. Even today his pyramid of needs and the question of self-actualization are disturbed by the bright minds of contemporaries throughout the world.