The Life of Abraham Maslow Psy 401 March 21, 2013 General Biography Abraham Maslow was born on April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia and he was the oldest of seven siblings. His father was a hardcore drinker of whiskey, loved women, and would often pick fights with other people. He did not like his father, yet over the years he learned to deal with him in a peaceful manner. On the other hand, Abraham Maslow had complete hatred for his mother throughout his whole life.
As he grew older, he did not have any sympathy or love for her. It was so bad that when she passed away he did not attend her funeral. He described his mother as a heartless, uneducated, ignorant, and aggressive individual. She did not show any sympathy towards her children and would sometimes drive them crazy. His anger towards his mother inspired his pursuit and career in humanistic psychology (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 584). He attended Boys High School and continued his education at the City College of New York. There, he fulfilled his father’s wishes to pursue law school.
After attending law school and being dissatisfied with the direction of his education, he decided to transfer to Cornell University where he was taught introductory psychology by Edward Titchner. He was not inspired by Titchner’s approach to psychology and decided to transfer back to City College after one semester. He also had the desire to be near his cousin Bertha Goodman, as they were very close. Maslow and Bertha attended the University of Wisconsin together. When he turned 20, he married Bertha, who was 19, despite the fact that she was his first cousin.
In Maslow’s eyes, his life had officially begun in Wisconsin (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 586). Maslow earned his bachelor’s degree in 1930, his master’s in 1931, and his doctorate in 1934. He became the first doctoral student of Harry Harlow, who was a well known experimental psychologist. Maslow taught at Wisconsin before he moved to Columbia University. There, he became a research assistant for Edward Thorndike. In 1951, Maslow took the offer as chairman of the psychology department at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.
This was where he made his mark and became the leader in third force psychology. In 1968, Maslow accepted another attractive offer by the Sega Administrative Corporation, located on Stanford University. The reason for accepting this offer was due to dissatisfaction towards his academic life and weakening health. This gave him the opportunity to think and write freely as he pleased. The life of Abraham Maslow ended on June 8, 1970, which resulted from a heart attack at 62 years old (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 589). Historical Context During the 1960s, the United States was going through tough times.
They were fighting in the Vietnam War, which was unpopular among the American citizens (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 570). A few very important figures were assassinated during their peak hours, which caused some instability among the citizens. These figures included Martin Luther king was assassinated by James Ray (mlk-kpp01. stanford. edu) and John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Oswald (crdl. usg. edu). As a result, racial protests broke out among some major cities, which quickly turned violent. Hippies were also growing in popularity as they openly rebelled against others.
Evidently, this was not a time period where rational philosophy or empirical philosophy was appealing (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 571). The schools of structuralism, functionalism, Gestalt psychology, behaviorism, and psychoanalysis existed during the 1920s and 1930s. However, by the 1950s, the school of structuralism had faded away, and the schools of functionalism and Gestalt psychology merged into other schools of psychology. Only behaviorism and psychoanalysis persisted as significant, complete schools of psychology during the 1950s and 1960s.
During the tough times mentioned earlier, many viewed the knowledge given by behaviorism and psychoanalysis as insufficient and/or inaccurate. A new viewpoint of psychology was desired, where it stressed on the human spirit, as well as the mind and the body. Behaviorism and psychoanalysis had many issues in their explanation of humans. One of the issues with behaviorism was that it equated humans as being similar to that of robots, animals, or computers. It did not see anything unique about humans.
The major issue with psychoanalysis was that it focused on people with unusual emotional behavior and sought to develop methods to help abnormal people become normal (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 574). The previous schools of psychology, according to third force psychology, lacked information that would assist healthy humans become healthier, eventually achieving their full potential. A new model was needed that focused on the positive traits rather than the negative traits of humans. As a result, third-force psychologists made an effort to provide this type of model.
This effort began in the 1930s and 1940s when Abraham Maslow met with outstanding European psychologists (who escaped from the Nazis) in the U. S. These exceptional psychologists included Erick Fromm, Max Wertheimer, Karen Horney, and Alfred Adler. As a result, a new wave of movement, known as third-force psychology, was led by Abraham Maslow in the early 1960s. This new wave of movement was known as third-force psychology. It occurred in the early 1960s and was led by Abraham Maslow (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 576). Important Achievements
Abraham Maslow was most accountable for making humanistic psychology an established branch of psychology. With much effort put in by Maslow, he later founded the Journal of Humanistic Psychology in 1961. In addition, the American Association of Humanistic Psychologists was developed in 1961 and a division of American Psychological Association (APA), Humanistic Psychology, was established in 1971 (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 586). One of Maslow’s greatest contributions was the hierarchy of needs. It gave us a better understanding of human motivation (www. bs. org). The hierarchy of needs, as Maslow described, arranged the needs of humans in a hierarchy. The needs further down in the hierarchy were more basic and similar to the needs of animals. The needs were arranged so that one has to fulfill the lower needs first in order to move onto the higher needs that follow. For instance, when the most basic needs, which were the physiological needs (such as thirst and hunger), were satisfied, a person may then move onto the safety needs (protection from danger or pain).
When the safety needs were fulfilled, a person may then continue onto the love needs (to give love and receive love). After the love/belonging needs were satisfied, a person may then continue onto fulfilling the esteem needs (to be recognized, respected, confident, etc. ) Once a person satisfied the needs up until the esteem needs, then a person may pursue to become self-actualized. Maslow described this as the human’s ability to reach their full potential. Some examples he gave were musicians’ ability to make music, the artists’ ability to paint, and the poets’ ability to write.
Maslow further described self-actualization as the individual’s ability to reach their potential (it is subjective). In addition, he thought that it was impossible for any human to reach their fullest potential, but were still capable of achieving self-actualization if they fulfilled the hierarchical needs (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 587). To further enhance his theory, Maslow interviewed a number of individuals he thought had reached self-actualization. These individuals were Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Albert Schweitzer, William James, Jane Addams, and Abraham Lincoln.
He came to the conclusion of certain characteristics that self-actualized people obtained: their perception of the world was accurate and complete; they were very much satisfied with themselves and of others; they underwent indigenous and naturalness; they were private and independent of their surroundings; they were grateful; they experienced peak moments described as extraordinary visions, feelings of ecstasy, and powerfulness, yet weakness as well; they were concerned with the human race in general as opposed to only their family, relatives, and friends; and they had a sense of creativity (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 87). Historical Impact In the early 1960s, a new wave of movement, led by Abraham Maslow, was known as third-force psychology (referred to as humanistic psychology). As a result, a paradigm shift had taken place. Abraham Maslow was most accountable for making humanistic psychology an established branch of psychology. This achievement had such a strong influence in psychology because the previous schools of psychology, according to third force psychology, lacked information that would assist healthy humans become healthier, eventually achieving their full potential.
The new model of humanistic psychology focused on the positive traits rather than the negative traits of humans. (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 576). With much effort put in by Maslow, he later founded the Journal of Humanistic Psychology in 1961. In addition, the American Association of Humanistic Psychologists was developed in 1961 and a division of American Psychological Association (APA), Humanistic Psychology, was established in 1971 (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 586) One of Maslow’s greatest contributions was the hierarchy of needs. It gave us a better understanding of human motivation (www. dpsycinteractive. org). He described the human needs in the form of a hierarchy. As you go down the hierarchy, the needs became more basic, physiological, and similar to the characteristics of animals. As you go higher in the hierarchy, the needs were focused more on growth. Eventually, after all the prior stages were satisfied, one may reach the last stage of self-actualization. He described self-actualization as the individual’s ability to reach their potential. In addition, Maslow made important contributions to the area of human sexuality.
Towards the end of Maslow’s life, he began to formulate new ideas in psychology known as transpersonal psychology. Maslow’s findings also influenced areas outside of psychology such as in business, marketing, medicine, education, etc. (Hergenhahn, 2005, p. 589). Abraham Maslow’s work continues to be influential in contemporary psychology. References Abraham Maslow. (n. d. ). In Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) online. Retrieved from http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bhmasl. html Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (n. d. ). In Stanford’s Encyclopedia online. Retrievedfrom http://mlk kpp01. stanford. du/index. php/encyclopedia/encyclopedia/enc_kings_assassination_4_apr il_1968/ Hergenhahn, B. R. (2005). Humanistic (Third-Force) Psychology. An Introduction to the Historyof Psychology (Edition 6th, pp. 570-590). California: Wadsworth. Huitt, W. (2007). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Educational Psychology Interactive. Retrieved from http://www. edpsycinteractive. org/topics/conation/maslow. html. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. John F. Kennedy’s assassination. (2013). In Civil Rights Digital Library online. Retrieved from http://crdl. usg. edu/events/jfk_assassination/? Welcome
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