Humanistic Approach Essay

Comparing and analyzing the biological and humanistic approaches to personality can be a difference of opinions. Abraham Maslow studied the development of personality. Maslow developed his own personality theory based on the basic human needs. His hierarchy of needs pyramid shows the influences of human needs to the formation of unique individual personality. There are biological factors that influence the formation of individual personality that play a factor.

By reviewing the relationships between biological factors and Maslow’s theory of personality you will be able to see focused similarities and it’s upcoming. Analyzing the basic aspects of the humanistic theory with the biological explanations of personality will open your eyes to the differential views of each individual theory of personality. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is compiled in a prioritized list which contains basic human needs. According to the list each category to some extent is dependent upon the one prior to it and plays a great deal in how growth needs influence personality formation.

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This paper will describe biological factors that influence the formation of personality, examine the relationship of biological factors to Maslow’s theory of personality and explain the basic aspects of humanistic theory that are incompatible with biological explanations of personality. Abraham Maslow developed the Hierarchy of Needs theory that remains valid today for understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development. We are all motivated by needs. Our most basic needs are natural, having evolved over tens of thousands of years.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps to explain how these needs motivate us all. Maslow truly believes that we must satisfy each need in order, starting with the first, which deals with the most obvious needs for survival itself. Only when the lower order needs of physical and emotional well-being are satisfied are we concerned with the higher order needs of influence and personal development. Conversely, if the things that satisfy our lower order needs are swept away, we are no longer concerned about the maintenance of our higher order needs.

One of Maslow’s hierarchies of needs is biological and physiology needs, which is the basic life needs such as air food and shelter. The next need is safety and security. This need requires helping information and the need to feel safe from physical danger. The next need is having a sense of security, knowing what to expect. After these needs are met an individual can experience life in a better quality so one can expand their personality. If living in fear and not meeting the needs of safety or security you are in danger and have little room to grow with your personality.

You also have a need for love, affection, and being a part of something. Enlightening information is needed to fulfill the need to belong. The need to be accepted by others, gives one a feeling of security in relationships. This comes in all forms such as support, praise, and encouragement which helps build that level of acceptance. Meeting these needs shows an individual how to accept and each of these needs, can be an influence on the growth or your personality. Psychologists agree that environmental factors interact with genetic factors to form personality.

Some psychologists have proposed theories that emphasize these genetic influences on personality. Some believe that genetics are the primary factor of personality, although I think conditioning also plays a role. Personality traits are hierarchical, with a few basic traits giving rise to a large array of more superficial traits. Genetically determined differences in physiological functioning make some people more vulnerable to behavioral conditioning. I would suggest that people have higher levels of physiological arousal, which allows them to be conditioned by environmental stimuli more easily.

Because of this, such people develop more inhibitions, which make them more shy and uneasy in social situations. Personality development is thought to be primarily governed by the biological maturation of the individual. According to Maslow, the biological factors are important to the personality theory. Physiological and biological needs in conjunction depend upon the same things. Physiological needs are the very basic needs such as air, water, food, sleep, sex, etc. When these are not satisfied people may feel sickness, irritation, pain, discomfort, etc.

These feelings motivate people to focus on alleviating them as soon as possible to establish homeostasis. Once the feelings are alleviated, people may think about other things. The body needs are biological and consists of the needs for air, food, water and a temperature range as do the physiological needs. These needs can be very strong because if deprived over time, the person will die. The relationship of the biological factors to personality is important because an individual is ready to act upon the growth needs if and only if the deficiency needs are met.

When the needs are met people attempt to get more accomplished, therefore causing them to generate their very own personality traits. Looking at the basic aspects of humanistic theory, it is somewhat incompatible with the biological explanations of personality. According to the biological explanation of personality, the general idea of Maslow’s hierarchy is that everyone is born with specific needs. If people do not meet those base needs, they are unable to survive and focus upward within the hierarchy. Also, the biological factors contribute to the importance of behavior, and the nature of healthy growth.

While on the other hand, the humanistic approach is that humans are inherently good, and that a belief in and respect for humanity is important for mental health. On the contrary biological factors of personality are more geared towards the individual while the humanistic theory is more based upon the belief that well developed, successful individuals are best placed to make positive contributions to society. In addition is the idea that psychoanalysis accepts that most aspects of life are outside of individual control, whereas the humanistic theory believes it is based in free will.

For example, the biological explanation believes in order for a person to develop fully they need to be in an environment that will provide them with genuineness, acceptance and empathy and that without such a nourishing environment healthy personalities and relationships would be unable to flourish. Whereas the humanistic theory suggests that the achievement of happiness is frequently dependent upon achieving, or giving oneself the permission to, investigate and pursue your own deepest interests and desires.


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