Motivation and emotion/Book/2013/Needs

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What are needs and how do they needs differ from desires, wants and likes? Why types of needs are there? How do we monitor and satisfy needs? What are the advantages, risks and problems with needs?

Overview[edit | edit source]

"Need The minimum requirements of life and health"

The basic definition of a need is something that is needed for survival of any organism. For example, food, water and shelter. However there are different types of needs.

  • Physiological need is something physical (basic need)
  • Safety needs-needs for protection against danger, threat and deprivation
  • Social needs- needs for belonging, for association, for acceptance by peer or fellows, for giving and receiving friendship and love
  • Ego needs: a) self esteem- needs for self confidence, for achievement, for competence, for knowledge b) reputation- needs for status, for recognition, for appreciation, for the deserved respect.
  • Self-fulfillment needs- needs for realizing one’s own potentialities, for continued self- development.

Difference between needs and wants[edit | edit source]

Needs are distinguished from wants because a deficiency of need would cause a negative outcome, such as dysfunction or death (Rathus et al., 2012) Wants, or desires are things we would like to have but they do not sustain us. When you are prioritizing your life, first give your attention to those things that ensure your existence, your happiness and your well-being. Needs motivate us to survive. There are several theories that explain motivation as a result of these needs.

Theoretical background[edit | edit source]

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory[edit | edit source]

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs original five needs

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory propose that people have a hierarchy of psychological needs (Maslow, 1970). Maslow identified 5 types of human need (later added additional 3 types) arranged in a hierarchy of their importance and priority. Maslow concluded that when one type of the needs is satisfied, it stops being a motivational factor. So the next type of human needs becomes a motivational factor. This pyramid like model consisted of the lowest level of the pyramid which is the first type of needs. In this theory, Maslow referred to different needs and suggested that attention needs to be given to all such needs as attention to physiological needs alone is not adequate for motivating people. “Man does not live by bread alone” (Maslow, 1943)

1) Physiological Needs Physiological needs are the basic needs for sustaining human life. Includes:

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Rest
  • Air
  • Water
  • Sleep
  • Sexual satisfaction

These needs lie at the lowest level in the hierarchy of needs as they have priority over all other needs. These needs cannot be postponed for long time. For example, a hungry person is not in the position to think of anything else except his hunger or food.

2) Security/Safety needs. These needs are connected with fear of not being safe. Includes:

  • Personal security
  • Financial security
  • Health and well being

The safety needs come after meeting the physiological needs. When physiological needs are satisfied, safety needs begin to manifest and dominate behaviour.

3) Social Needs (love/belonging) This need is a need for belonging in a group or felt loved. Includes:

  • Friendship
  • Intimacy
  • Family

This need is important in children’s need because it can override the need for safety and can be influential in forming or maintaining emotionally significant relationships. People need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in their social groups. These groups can be intimate relationships right through big groups. If people do not feel loved, they can become lonely and that is negative on well being of the person.

4) Esteem These needs are about being given the recognition or being given respect. Includes:

  • Being respected
  • Appreciation from others
  • Need to have power

Once the previous needs are satisfied, a person feels to be held in esteem by him/her self and also by others. This need type is divided into 2 parts: a) Self esteem – self confidence, self respect and competence. b) Personal ego- self status, reputation, recognition and appreciation. Deprivation of these needs can lead to low self esteem and helplessness.

5) Cognitive Needs Cognitive needs is the expression of the natural human need to learn, explore, discover and create to get a better understanding of the world around them. Includes:

  • Needs to know
  • Needs to understand
  • Needs to explore

Dissatisfaction of these needs may lead to confusion and identity crisis. Cognitive needs type was introduced in later works of Maslow. (Maslow, 1970a).

6) Aesthetic Needs Maslow stated that humans need beautiful imagery or something new and aesthetically pleasing to continue up towards Self-actualization. This need is a higher level need to relate in a beautiful way with the environment and leads to the beautiful feeling of intimacy with nature.

7) Self- Actualization Needs This need involves becoming what one is capable of becoming. At this stage, a person feels that he should accomplish something in his life. Many do not reach this stage, because this need is rarely satisfied fully. This need when fulfilled leads to feeling of generativity.

8) Transcendence Needs Need to help others to achieve self- actualization. This is the highest point in the hierarchy model and was introduced later in Maslow’s work (Maslow, 1970b).

Limitations to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory.

Maslow only did a biographical analysis of only 18 people. This is a low sample and not very reliable. This theory is over simplified and is based on human needs only. There is no cause and effect relationship between need and behaviour in his study. There are cultural and individual differences, other motivational factors like expectations, perceptions and experiences that can affect the study findings. An interesting phenomenon related to this theory is that in spite of a lack of empirical evidence to support this hierarchy model, it is still widely accepted (Wahba and Bridgewell, 1976; Soper,Milford and Rosenthal, 1995).

Alderfer’s ERG theory[edit | edit source]

ERG theory was developed by Clayton Alderfer, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory (Alderfer,1972). Except ERG theory groups human needs into three categories.

  • Existence needs include humans physiological and physically related safety needs, such a need for food, shelter and safe working conditions.
  • Relatedness needs include a human’s need to interact with other people, receive public recognition, and feel secure around people.
  • Growth needs consist of human’s self-esteem through personal achievement as well as the concept of self-actualization.

ERG theory proposes that a human’s behaviour is motivated simultaneously by more than one need category. For example, you try to satisfy your growth needs (finishing the assignment to get an HD mark) even though your relatedness needs aren’t satisfied. This theory uses satisfaction-progression process similar to Maslow’s theory, so one need category will dominate human’s motivation more than other categories. Unlike Maslow’s theory, ERG theory uses frustration-regression process. For example, those who are unable to satisfy a higher need become frustrated and regress to the next category. If the existence need and relatedness need are satisfied, but the growth need is not satisfied then the human will become frustrated and relatedness theory will again be the motivational force.

Limitations of ERG theory

This theory is hard to test empirically as it is difficult to establish whether a person has satisfied a need.

McClelland’s Acquired- Needs Theory[edit | edit source]

This theory sometimes referred to as the three need theory or as the learned needs theory. Acquired needs theory was developed by David McClelland. Theory proposes that, regardless of our gender, culture or age, we all have three motivating drivers and one of these will be our dominant motivating driver. This dominant motivator is largely dependent on our culture and life experiences.

  • Achievement (nAch)

People with a high need for achievement seek to excel and this leads to avoiding low-risk and high-risk situations. People with need for achievement will avoid low-risk activities that have no chance of gain. They will avoid high-risk activities because there is a chance of failure.

  • Affiliation (nAff)

People with a high need for affiliation need harmonious relationships with other people and need to feel accepted by other people.

  • Power (nPow)

People with a high need for power could be one of two types: personal and institutional. Personal wants to control others, institutional wants to achieve higher goals for greater good. In his theory McClelland used the Thematic Appreciation Test (TAT) as a tool of measurement of needs of different people. This test involves the testing of imagination that presents the subject with different ambiguous pictures, and the subject is asked to make up a story for each picture shown. This is in the hope that the subject will project own needs into the story. This then is scored and measured. People nowadays use TAT to assist them finding a job that will suite them.

Self- Determination Theory[edit | edit source]

Aspects of Self-Determination Theory

Self-determination theory was developed by Deci and Ryan (Deci & Ryan, 1985). This is the most recent theory in regards to needs and motivation. This theory is based on previous theories in that in includes both the individual’s inherent tendencies to grow and the innate psychological needs. This theory has 3 main needs for person to be fully satisfied.

  • Autonomy

A psychological need to feel self-direction. Autonomy refers to feelings of choice and agency. Individuals need to feel that they may choose and implement their own behaviour.

  • Competence

A psychological need to effectively interact with environment. Competence refers to feelings of effectiveness. Individuals need to feel that they have some control over outcomes and that they have the ability to exert some impact on their environment.

  • Relatedness

A psychological need to communicate and build relationships with others. Relatedness refers to the experience of healthy social connection and satisfying social relationships. Individuals need to feel that they are engaged in meaningful interactions with others. Environments that foster the satisfaction of these needs produce self-determined behaviours (intrinsic motivation), whereas environments that do not satisfy these needs produce a non self-determined behaviours (extrinsic motivation).

Monitoring and Satisfying Needs[edit | edit source]

Psychological Homeostasis is a neural and physical process that maintains the equilibrium of mental states or equanimity that would enable a human to live and perform at normal levels. So when we feel hunger, the feeling of hunger is triggered by internal process (Hayes, 2000). To satisfy hunger, we are in need to find and consume food and when we do consume food our hunger need is satisfied. This example shows Homeostatic drive. Non-homeostatic drives are triggered by external events. For example, emotional activation and sexual arousal are triggered by environmental factors and become active once the appropriate environmental cues are presented (Hayes, 2000).

Advantages and Risks of Needs[edit | edit source]

Advantages: When needs are fulfilled, the person feels satisfied and has a high feeling of self-esteem and achievement (Reeve,2009). The satisfaction of needs have a positive impact on well being. For example, after eating food, a person will experience a certain level of satisfaction and will not starve.

Risks: If physiological needs are not satisfied, a person can get physical sickness, deficiencies or even can die. If psychological needs are not satisfied, a person can get anxiety, depression and it can damage one’s relationship with others (Reeve,2009).

See also[edit | edit source]

Affiliation motivation


Health behaviours

This is the link to online test for people who want to find a job that is suitable for them and also find out about their personality

Personality Test

Rreferences[edit | edit source]

Alderfer, C. (1972). Existence, relatedness, & growth. New York: Free Press.

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self determination in human behavior. New York, NY: Plenum Press.

Hayes, N. (2000). Foundations of Psychology, 3rd Ed. London, UK: Thomson Learning.

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality. New York, NY: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

McClelland, D.C. (1961). The Achieving Society. New York:Free press

McClelland, D.C. (1961). "Methods of Measuring Human Motivation", in John W. Atkinson, ed.,The Achieving Society (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand), pp. 41–43

Rathus, S. A., Maheu, S. J., & Veenvliet, S. G. (2012). Psych. United States of America: Nelson Education Ltd.

Reeve, J. (2009). Understanding Motivation and Emotion: Fifth Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Soper, B., Milford, G., & Rosenthal, G. (1995). Belief when evidence does not support theory. Psychology & Marketing, 12(5), 415-422

Wahba, A., & Bridgewell, L. (1976). Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on the need hierarchy theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 15, 212-240.