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Maslow's Needs Hierarchy

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What Is the Hierarchy of Needs?
Maslow's Needs Hierarchy
Image: J. Finkelstein

The hierarchy of needs is one of the best-known theories of motivation. Created by psychologist Abraham Maslow, the hierarchy is often displayed as a pyramid, with the most basic needs at the bottom and more complex needs at the peak.

The four lowest-level needs are what Maslow referred to as D-needs (or deficiency needs). These needs are due to a lack of something and need to be satisfied in order to avoid unpleasant feelings and to move on to higher level needs. The uppermost needs in the hierarchy are referred to B-needs (being needs or growth needs) and involve the desire to grow as an individual and fulfill one’s own potential.

Learn more about Maslow’s needs starting at the lowest level, which are known as physiological needs.

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