Abraham Maslow Biography

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Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow, born of two uneducated Jews from Russia on April 1, 1908, was the oldest of seven children. Maslow was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and was also in a non Jewish neighborhood. While growing up during these times, he faced many hardships because of his religion. Abraham was secluded from the other children and spent most of his time alone or with his family. He quickly turned to books and newspapers to keep him busy when he wasn’t in school. As a benefit, Maslow was very smart in his childhood years and was always at the top of him class. He originally went to school later on in order to pursue law but then attended University of Wisconsin to study the field of psychology. While at the University, Maslow married his first cousin Bertha and also attained a mentor that helped him with his studies. At Wisconsin, Abraham studied a particularly original topic. The basis of his studies was primate dominance, behavior, and sexuality. After finishing schooling in Wisconsin, Maslow went on to research the same studies at Columbia University, where he met another mentor that greatly assisted his research. In his 30’s and 40’s, Maslow was on the faculty of Brooklyn College and found another two mentors that would later become the starting point of his theories. Because the two mentors were such nice and yet accomplished people, Maslow decided to take notes of their actions and behaviors. This was where he began his lifelong obsession of mental health and human potential. He wrote extensively on the subject, borrowing ideas from other psychologists but also adding to them. Maslow later became the founder of the humanistic school of psychology that emerged in the 50’s and 60’s. In 1967, Maslow was announced the Humanist of the year by the American Humanist Associating. He

then went on to become a professor at Brandeis University for 10 years. After his time as a professor, he became a resident at The Laughlin Institute in California. Unfortunately, Abraham Maslow died the following year in CA to a heart attack at the age of 62. Many psychologists have made large impacts on society's understanding of the world. Maslow was one of these people. He brought a new outlook to the study of human behavior. He was inspired by great minds and his own thought and creativity created a unique concept of humanistic psychology. Maslow’s family life and experiences influenced the ideas that created a new form of psychology. He began to question the way psychologists come to their conclusions and had his own ideas of how to understand the human mind. Though he was set on his personal theories, he didn’t necessarily disagree with the other psychologists. Humanistic psychologists believe that every person has a desire to realize their full potential. To prove his theory that humans are not simply blindly reacting to situations, but trying to accomplish something greater, Maslow studied mentally healthy people instead of people with psychological issues or mental disabilities. This enabled him to discover that people experience “peak experiences", high points in life when the individual is in harmony with himself and his surroundings. Self-actualized people sometimes have many peak experiences throughout a day while others have those experiences less frequently.

Maslow created a pyramid that depicts the levels of human psychological and physical needs. This chart is what he called the Hierarchy of Needs. When a human being climbs the steps of the pyramid, he reaches self actualization. The bottom of the pyramid is the “Basic needs” of a human beings. The next level is “Security and Stability.” These two steps are important to the physical survival of the person. Once a person has basic nutrition, shelter and safety, they attempt to accomplish more. The third level of need is “Love and Belonging,” which are psychological needs. When individuals have taken care of themselves physically, they are ready to share...
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