Maslow's pyramid of human needs, proposed in 1943, has been one of the most cognitively contagious ideas in the behavioral sciences. Anticipating later evolutionary views of human motivation and cognition, Maslow viewed human motives as based in innate and universal predispositions. We revisit the idea of a motivational hierarchy in light of theoretical developments at the interface of evolutionary biology, anthropology, and psychology. After considering motives at three different levels of analysis, we argue that the basic foundational structure of the pyramid is worth preserving, but that it should be buttressed with a few architectural extensions. By adding a contemporary design feature, connections between fundamental motives and immediate situational threats and opportunities should be highlighted. By incorporating a classical element, these connections can be strengthened by anchoring the hierarchy of human motives more firmly in the bedrock of modern evolutionary theory. We propose a renovated hierarchy of fundamental motives that serves as both an integrative framework and a generative foundation for future empirical research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The contributions of Douglas T. Kenrick and Steven L. Neuberg were supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH064734) and National Science Foundation (#0642873). The contributions of Mark Schaller were supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We thank Adam B. Cohen and Ed Diener for comments on an earlier draft.
- Evolutionary psychology
- Humanistic psychology
- Life-history theory
- Positive psychology