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Abraham Harold Maslow(1908-1970)Abraham Harold Maslow was born on April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York.
He was the oldest of seven children born to his parents, who were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia. His parents, wanting the best for their children in the ?new world?, pushed him hard in his academic studies. In order to satisfy his parents, Maslow studied law at the City College of New York.After a few semesters in college, Maslow married his 1st cousin, Bertha Goodman, against his parent?s wishes and had two daughters.
They moved to Wisconsin, where he attend the University of Wisconsin and studied psychology. He met his chief mentor Professor Harry Harlow, who was famous for the behavior studies on baby monkeys. He received his BA in 1930, his MA in 1931, and his PhD in 1934, all in the field of psychology, all from the University of Wisconsin. In the year of 1935, he returned to New York to work with E.
L. Thorndike at Colombia, where he studied similar topics. From 1937 to 1951, Maslow worked full-time on staff at Brooklyn College. In New York, he found two more mentors, anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer, whom he admired both professionally and personally.
These two people were so accomplished in what they did and such ?wonderful human beings?, that Maslow began taking notes about them and their behavior. This would be the foundation for his lifelong research and thinking about mental health and human potential. He wrote extensively on the subject, taking ideas from other psychologists and adding significantly to them, especially the concepts of a hierarchy of human needs, self-actualizing persons, and peak experiences. Maslow became the leader of the humanistic school of psychology that emerged in the 1950’s and 1960’s, which he referred to as the ?third force?, beyond Freudian theory and behaviorism.
Also during this period of his life, he came into contact with the many European intellectuals that were immigrating to the United States, Brooklyn in particular, people like Adler, Horne, as well as several Gestalt and Freudian psychologists. In 1951, Maslow served as the chair of the psychology department at Brandeis for 10 years, where he met Kurt Goldstein, who introduced him to the idea of self-actualization, and helped him begin his own theoretical work. It was also here that he began his crusade for a humanistic psychology, something ultimately much more important to him than his own theorizing. In, 1969 he became a resident fellow of the Laughlin Institute in California. A year later after several years of ill health he died of a heart-attack on June 8th.
One of the many interesting things that Maslow noticed, while early in his career working with monkeys, was that some needs take precedence over others. For example, if you are hungry and thirsty, you will tend to try and take care of the thirst first. After all, you can live without food for several weeks, but you can only live a few days without water.
Maslow took this idea and created his now famous Hierarchy of human needs. Beyond the details of air, water, food, and sex, he laid out five broader layers. These layers are physiological needs, safety and security needs, the needs for loving and belonging, esteem needs, and self-actualization, in that order. Maslow hoped that his work at describing the self-actualizing person would eventually lead to a ?periodic table? of the kinds of qualities, problems, and even solutions characteristic of higher levels of human potential.
Over time, he devoted increasing attention, not to his own theory, but to humanistic psychology and the human potentials movement.