Abraham Maslow brought to the world of psychology a fresh perspective with his concept of "hierarchy of human needs". His idea of an "authentic self", that core part of an individual that strives towards growth, is now considered one of the foundation stones of the Humanistic movement.
Indeed, along with other psychologists such as Clark Moustakas, Abraham Maslowinitiated "Humanism", which he referred to as the "third force" of psychology after Pavlov's "behaviorism" and Freud's "psychoanalysis".
Abraham Maslow, Life
Abraham Maslow was the eldest son of uneducated Jewish parents who had migrated from Russia to the U.S. in order to escape from harsh conditions and socio-political turmoil. It was in Brooklyn, New York, that young Maslow was born, on thefirst of April, 1908.
Abraham was the eldest sibling in the family, and the family's culture expected him to care for his six brothers and sisters. Having suffered so much in their past, a determined father drove young Abraham with the ambition to succeed in life. He grew up with almost no friends to play with, having made to study for long hours, and then spending the rest of his time assisting hisfather to make ends meet. Books became his refuge, and he found himself immersed in the works of Freud, Jung, Pavlov and others. Psychology interested him immensely.
Maslow bowed to his parents' wishes to study law, and enrolled himself in the City College of New York for this purpose. However, it soon became clear to him that law was not his vocation in life. Yet, he labored on for three fullsemesters, plowing doggedly through Torts and Remedies. Finally, he decided to rebel.
His rebellion against his parents was on two fronts: First, his selection of a vocation that was closer to his heart: he decided to jump into Psychology; second, his choice of his bride: he decided to wed his own cousin, Bertha Goodman. He sought and obtained transfer to Cornell University, but again had toreturn to CCNY for reasons of logistics. Finally, the newly-married couple decided to relocate to Wisconsin. It was in Wisconsin that Abraham Maslow finally discovered stability and success in his life.
In 1930, Maslow completed his B.A. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin. His thirst for knowledge, egged on by mentors such as Harry Harlow, led him to complete his Masters (in 1931) andlater his doctorate (in 1934) in the same field. During this period, the Maslow couple gave birth to two daughters - Dr. Ellen Maslow and Ann Kaplan.
While in Wisconsin, Dr. Maslow became closely associated with Harlow's experiments on primates. He had himself pursued an independent line of research on primate dominance behavior and published a few papers on the subject. At around the same time, Dr.Edward Lee Thorndike, Director of the Psychology Division in the Institute of Educational Research of Columbia University in New York, had also published research papers on animal behavior. Dr. Maslow corresponded with Dr. Thorndike, and the next year (1935) saw him traveling to New York, to further his research work at Columbia University on animal motivation.
The psychology division researchersin Columbia University in those days were involved in testing and measuring children and adult intelligence and their ability to learn. Dr. Maslow gravitated to this field of knowledge; and thus began his next stage of growth and evolution. The papers produced by him from 1937 onwards manifest Dr. Maslow's shift towards social behavior, personality traits, self-esteem, and motivation theory, inrelation to human beings.
In 1937, Abraham Maslow moved to Brooklyn, his place of birth, and began teaching psychology at Brooklyn College, a position that he held for fourteen years. It was during this time that some of his best works were produced. His paper titled "A Theory of Human Motivation" was first published in the Psychological Review in 1943, and was printed and reprinted in several...