Abraham Maslow: biography of this famous humanist psychologist

The American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow, commonly known as Abraham Maslow, is one of the most important figures in the history of psychology.

This is due, among other things, to the fact that he promoted a new way of understanding this science, encouraging a focus not only on mental disorders and diseases, but also on human potential. This paradigm has come to be known as “humanistic psychology”.

To better understand his life, we will see in this article a summary of the trajectory of this psychologist through a biography of Abraham Maslow In summary. But let’s start with the basics … who was it?

Who was this humanistic psychologist?

Abraham Maslow is well known in the world of psychology, Being a remarkable figure that pushed and created next to other authors like Carl Rogers known like humanistic psychology. This author has worked on various topics throughout his career, developing a holistic model in which he has relied on growth and development based on meeting needs.

His best known and most popular contribution is the Pyramid of Human Needs, in which the author ranks these according to their degree of strength and observing that we are meeting the most basic and essential survival needs and increasingly. more complex. emerging.

On the sidelines of this pyramid, he made several contributions based on his model, researching among other elements each of the needs and the importance of not only satisfying but also how to do it, personal self-realization, the differentiation between reality and fiction, homeostasis and the maintenance of health and well-being, higher consciousness processes and human relationships. Knowing the life of this author can help you understand your thinking, which is why in this article we are going to introduce you a biography of Abraham Maslow.

    Brief biography of Abraham Maslow

    Abraham Maslow was born April 1, 1908 in Brooklyn County, New York. in the nucleus of a Jewish family of Russian origin who emigrated to the United States. Maslow was the first of seven siblings, being the eldest son of Samuel and Rose Maslow. His childhood was not particularly happy, the two parents too demanding with him and seeing him often.

    His father saw him as stupid and disgusting, which would significantly lower the little one’s self-esteem. As for his mother, Maslow himself indicated that he did not provide her with love or affection during her childhood and he was characterized by excessive harshness, demand, rigidity and even cruelty towards him, to the point that he would come to hatred and even many years later refuse to go to his funeral.

    In addition to his family life, young Maslow’s childhood was marked by loneliness and social discrimination from his origins, being a lonely child the only refuge would be books. Already from childhood Maslow he showed great intelligence and curiosity to learn, Read one of his favorite hobbies and show high academic performance since its inception.

    Formation and marriage

    At the age of seventeen, he decided to take an interest in the legal field in order to satisfy his parents, enrolling in 1926 at the City College of New York and at Brooklyn Law School to study law and law. However, soon after, he would realize that the legal field was not to his liking and he would eventually drop out of his studies.

    He transferred to Cornell University for the purpose of studying psychologyBut attending a short introductory psychology class by Edward Titchener discouraged him from doing so and after the first semester he returned to City College, New York. After that, he would be transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where he would eventually pursue studies in psychology.

    Despite being a student he married Bertha Goodman against the opinion of the familyOne of his first, in 1928. He moved with her to Wisconsin the same year, so that he could study there. This marriage brought him love and affection that he had not had before, with the author even saying that his life would start from there. With her, he would have two daughters.

    Two years later, in 1930, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin. A year later he would receive his master’s degree. Also, after that he would do the doctorate in this same university, being his mentor Harry Harlow. With him, Maslow will conduct what would be his first relevant study, analyzing sexual behavior, dominance and power in primates. She obtained her doctorate in 1934.

    Professional life and contributions

    After finishing his studies, he started working as a teacher at the same university for a short time.

    However, in 1935 he moved to Columbia University, where he worked as a researcher alongside Thorndike, as well as with Alfred Adler. This would make him visualize two of the main theoretical currents, behaviorism and psychoanalysis, appreciating the virtues and faults of each.

    In this college I’ll do one this time controversial research on female sexuality (Using for them concepts from psychoanalysis), discover aspects of the relationship between domination and sexuality and attraction to certain characteristics according to the degree of domination and publish several articles on the subject.

    In 1937 he returned to Brooklyn University, remaining there until 1951 and as a full professor. He would have contact with Wertheimer (One of the main founders of the Gestalt) and anthropologist Ruth Benedict, establishing a certain friendship and being great influences in their thinking.

      The era of WWII

      The entry of the United States into World War II in 1941 was too large for him to enlist, not being considered fit for military service. However, this conflict prompted him to investigate the causes of hatred and prejudice, As well as other emotions and relationships. In 1943 he began to suggest the existence of a hierarchy of needs in his publication “A Theory of Human Motivation”.

      In 1947, Maslow suffered a heart attack and had to take time off to settle in California with his family. After his recovery, in 1949, he returned to the University.

      In 1951 he will be hired in the psychology department of Brandeis University, assuming its direction and acting as a professor. In this university I would meet Goldstein’s theory and the concept of self-actualization. It would be at this point that he would finish driving and shaping what is also called the third force of psychology, humanistic psychology, and creating the famous Maslow pyramid. In 1954, he published “Motivation and Personality”, where he developed his theory and his model.

      Due to his multiple contributions to psychology, in 1966 Maslow he would be elected president of the American Psychological Association.

      His death

      Over the years, Maslow’s health began to decline, beginning to suffer from heart problems. In 1967 he suffered a heart attack, which he managed to survive, but which, along with other health problems, forced him to resign from his teaching post. After that he devoted himself to trying to establish ethics in the practice of humanistic psychology.

      In 1970, more precisely on June 8, Abraham Maslow suffered another myocardial infarction, Deceased at 62 years old.

      The legacy of this author is vast, being one of the main creators of the humanist current in psychology and serving as a precursor to psychologies such as the positive. His theories are widely known and used in various fields, both clinically and commercially.

      His legacy in psychology

      The works of Abraham Maslow are well known even at the popular level, especially with regard to the hierarchy of human needs. However, although their way of thinking and understanding psychology has inspired many others to broaden the scope of their research and the needs to be covered, they are considered invalid by current scientific standards.

      There the main problem is the way Maslow dealt with the subjectivity of people, Assuming its content refers to something real, assuming that everyone knows each other better than others in all possible contexts; this principle has been refuted many times.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Haggbloom, SJ; Warnick, R .; Warnick, JE; Jones, VK; Yarbrough, GL; Russell, TM; Borecky, Chris M .; McGahhey, R .; et al. (2002). The 100 Most Prominent Psychologists of the 20th Century. General review of psychology. 6 (2): pages 139 to 152.
      • Hoffman, E. (1999). The Right to Be Human: A Biography of Abraham Maslow. New York: McGraw-Hill.
      • Krippner, S. (1972). The Plateau Experience: AH Maslow et al. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. 4 (2): pages 107 to 120.
      • Maslow, AH (2005). Management according to Maslow: a humanist vision for today’s business. Barcelona: Editorial Paidós Ibérica

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