A Theory of Human Motivation
hormones, vitamins, etc.
Young in a recent article (21) has summarized the work on appetite in its relation to body
needs. If the body lacks some chemical, the individual will tend to develop a specific
partial hunger for that food element.
Thus it seems impossible as well as useless to make any list of fundamental
needs for they can come to almost any number one might wish, depending on the
specificity of description. We can not identify all physiological needs as homeostatic.
sexual desire, sleepiness, sheer activity and maternal behavior in animals, are
has not yet been demonstrated. Furthermore, this list would not include the various
pleasures (tastes, smells, tickling, stroking) which are probably physiological and which
become the goals of motivated behavior.
In a previous paper (13) it has been pointed out that these physiological drives or needs
be considered unusual rather than typical because they are isolable, and because they
localizable somatically. That is to say, they are relatively independent of each other, of
motivations [p. 373] and of the organism as a whole, and secondly, in many cases, it is
to demonstrate a localized, underlying somatic base for the drive. This is true less
than has been thought (exceptions are fatigue, sleepiness, maternal responses) but it is
true in the classic instances of hunger, sex, and thirst.
It should be pointed out again that any of the physiological needs and the consummatory
behavior involved with them serve as channels for all sorts of other needs as well. That
say, the person who thinks he is hungry may actually be seeking more for comfort, or
dependence, than for vitamins or proteins. Conversely, it is possible to satisfy the hunger
in part by other activities such as drinking water or smoking cigarettes. In other words,
isolable as these physiological needs are, they are not completely so.
Undoubtedly these physiological needs are the most pre-potent of all needs. What this
specifically is, that in the human being who is missing everything in life in an extreme
is most likely that the major motivation would be the physiological needs rather than any
A person who is lacking food, safety, love, and esteem would most probably hunger for
more strongly than for anything else.
If all the needs are unsatisfied, and the organism is then dominated by the physiological