Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation Essay

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In order to understand the human condition, one must first understand what it is that motivates humans. It follows that we must then look to the motivator, the brain. The human brain works in such a way as to satisfy a series of needs. Abraham H. Maslow’s theory of human motivation (1954) explains the sequence by which humans move through levels of concentration so as to best satisfy these needs. Maslow’s pyramid (1954), a five-tiered structure, represents a summary of this theory. Maslow (1954) postulates that in order for one to focus his/her attention on the ultimate goal at the apex of the pyramid, self-actualization, one must first fulfill the needs at the subordinate levels. At the lowest level of the chart are …show more content…
The next level in the hierarchy of needs pertains to security. The amygdala plays a key role in ensuring the safety of a human being. It is here where fear originates (Carter 1998). Once the frontal cortex identifies a source of fear, a plan of action to remedy an unsafe situation can be formulated by the frontal cortex (Carter 1998). If an individual is preoccupied with an unsafe or chaotic situation, (s)he will be unable to focus attention on the less essential aspects of existence. However, once an individual is both physiologically well and not in fear of any danger, (s)he may concentrate on the fine tuning of his/her emotional state.
The human brain releases the chemicals dopamine and oxytocin, which contribute to fulfilling what Maslow (1954) deemed the “belongingness and love needs'; (Maslow, 1954, 43). Dopamine, in association with the chemical phenylethylamine, has been said to induce the euphoria one feels in the initial stages of love (Carter 1998 ). Oxytocin, which has been associated with the feeling of relaxation that results from orgasm (Carter 1998) and which is also released during the terminal stages of childbirth (Carter 1998), creates a “warm, floaty, loving feeling that encourages pair bonding'; (Carter, 1998, 76). In intimate relationships such as those shared by sexual partners and by mother and child, it is necessary to
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