Human needs as the source of its activity

human needs

Man, like any living creature, programmed by nature for survival, and for that he required certain conditions and resources. If at some point these facilities are absent, there is a need, which causes the selectivity of the reaction of the human body. This selectivity provides the appearance of appropriate responses to stimuli (or factors), which at the moment are the most important for normal functioning, the preservation of life and further development. Experiences subject to similar state requirements in psychology called need.

Therefore, the manifestation of human activity and, consequently, its activity and purposeful activity depends on the presence of a specific need (or needs), which demands satisfaction. But only a certain system of human needs will determine the focus of its activities, and will contribute to the development of his personality. The human needs are the basis for the formation of the motif, which in psychology is considered as a kind of «motor» personality. Motivation of behavior and human activities depends directly on the organic and cultural needs, and they in turn generate an interest which directs attention of the person and its activity on different object and subjects of the surrounding world with a view to their further learning and mastery.

Human needs: definition and characteristics

Under the requirements, which are the main source of personal activity, you know, special inner (subjective) sense of human needs, which determines its dependence on certain conditions and livelihoods. The activity directed on satisfaction of human needs and is subject to conscious purpose, is called activity. Sources of personal activity as an internal impelling force aimed at meeting the diverse needs is:

  • organic material needs (food, clothing, protection, etc.);
  • spiritual and cultural (cognitive, aesthetic, social).

Human needs are reflected in the most sustainable and vital dependency of organism and environment, and the system of needs is influenced by the following factors: social conditions of people’s lives, the level of development of production and scientific-technical progress. In psychology needs are studied in three aspects: as an object, as a state and as a property (more detailed description of these values is presented in the table).

The value of needs in psychology

The need for quality Understanding the needs of
object the need is understood as a necessity (a need) for a comfortable existence and normal activities (life) of a person
state needs is being studied from the point of view of conditions of the human psyche, which reflected the absence (or insufficiency) what
properties the need is seen as fundamental properties of the personality that defines its relationship to reality

In psychology the problem of needs was considered by many scientists, therefore, today there are many different theories that the needs and understood the necessity, and condition, and the process fun. So, for example, K. K. Platonov saw the needs first the need (or rather a psychic phenomenon reflect the needs of the body or personality) and D. A. Leont’ev considered the needs through the prism of the activities in which it finds its implementation (satisfaction). Famous psychologist of the last century , Kurt Lewin meant by needs first dynamic condition which occurs in humans at the time of the committing of any act or intent.

Analysis of different approaches and theories in the study of this problem suggests that in psychology, the need was considered in the following aspects:

  • as the need (K. I. božović, V. I. Kovalev, S. L. Rubinstein);
  • as a matter of the satisfaction of needs (A. N. Leont’ev);
  • as the need (B. V. Dodonov,. A. Vasilenko);
  • as the absence of good (V. S. magoon);
  • as the ratio (D. A. Leontiev, M. S. Kagan);
  • as instability (D. A. MC Clelland, CT. L. Ossowski);
  • as the condition (Col. Levin);
  • as a systemic reaction of the personality (E. P. Ilyin).

Human needs in psychology is understood as a dynamically-active state of the individual, which constitute the basis of its motivational sphere. And as in the process of human activities is not only personal development, but also changes in the environment, requirements play the role of the propulsion force of its development and is of special importance to their subject content, namely the amount of material and spiritual culture of mankind, which affects the formation of human needs and their satisfaction.

In order to understand the needs of the propulsion forces necessary to take into account a number of important points highlighted by E. P. Ilyin. They are as follows:

  • the needs of the human body must be separated from the needs of the individual (the need, i.e. the needs of the organism, can be unconscious or conscious, but the need of the individual always conscious);
  • the need is always connected with necessity, under which it is necessary to understand not a deficit, and the desirability or necessity;
  • of personal needs is impossible except as the needs, which is a signal for selecting the means of meeting the needs;
  • the emergence of needs – the mechanism which includes the human activity directed on search of goals and achievements as the need to meet the needs arising.

Needs are passive-active in nature, that is, on the one hand, they are due to biological nature of man and the deficiency of certain conditions and means of existence, and on the other they determine the activity of overcoming the deficit. A significant aspect of human needs is their social and personal nature, which is reflected in the motives and motivation and, consequently, in the orientation of the individual. Regardless of the type of requirements and its focus they all have the following features:

  • have your subject is the awareness of the needs;
  • the content needs depends primarily on the conditions and ways of satisfying them;
  • they are able to reproduce.

The needs that shape the behavior and human activity, and production from them the motives, interests, aspirations, desires, appetites and attitudes is the Foundation of individual behavior.


The types of human needs

Every human need is from the outset a harmony of intertwining biological, physiological and psychological processes, which results in the presence of many kinds of needs that are characterized by strength, frequency of occurrence and ways of their satisfaction.

Most often in psychology there are the following types of human needs:

  • depending on the origin identify the natural (or organic) and cultural needs;
  • direction distinguish between material needs and spiritual;
  • depending on which industry they belong to (scope), highlight the needs in communication, work, leisure and knowledge (or educational needs);
  • facility needs can be biological, material and spiritual (also distinguished by the social needs of people);
  • its origin may be endogenous (occurring waters the influence of internal factors) and exogenous (caused by external stimuli).

In the psychological literature there are also fundamental (or primary) and secondary needs.

Most attention in psychology is given to three main types of needs – physical, spiritual, and social (or public spending) that are described in the table below.

Principal human needs

Kinds of needs Description
material is the basis of human life
spiritual inherent only in man and characterize the level of development
social is a reflection of man’s social nature, among which the most important ones are the need for labor and communication

Material needs are primary, as they are the Foundation of his life. Indeed, in order that man could live it the necessary nutrition, clothing and housing, and these needs were formed in the process of phylogenesis. Spiritual needs (or ideal) are purely human, as they reflect primarily the level of development of personality. These include aesthetic, ethical, and need for cognition.

It should be noted that the organic needs and spiritual are characterized by dynamic and interact with each other, therefore, for the formation and development of spiritual needs satisfaction of material (for example, if the person does not satisfy the need for food, he will feel fatigue, lethargy, apathy and drowsiness, which may not be conducive to the emergence of cognitive needs).

Separately it is necessary to consider social needs (or social), which are formed and developed under the influence of society and is a reflection of man’s social nature. To address this need it is absolutely necessary for every person as a social being and as individual.

Classification of requirements

Since, as psychology became a separate branch of knowledge many of the scientists were made a great number of attempts to classify needs. All these classifications are very diverse and mostly reflect only one side of the problem. That is why, to date, the only system of human needs that would meet all the requirements and interests of researchers from different psychological schools and trends, are still not presented to the scientific community.

The author of the first classification of requirements is considered to be of Epicurus, another 3 thousand to n. e split the desire (or need) people to the following groups:

  • the innate human desire and need (essential to live);
  • natural desires, but are not necessary (if there is no possibility of their satisfaction, it will not lead to the inevitable death of the person);
  • desires are neither necessary nor natural, (for example, the pursuit of glory).

The author of the information theory of emotions of P. V. Simonov shared requirements for biological, social and ideal, which in turn can be needs needs (or saving) and growth (or development). Social needs of man and the perfect P. Simonov are divided into the needs for themselves and for others.

Quite interesting is the classification of needs, proposed by Erich Fromm. The famous psychoanalyst, has identified the following specific social needs of man:

  • the human need for relationships (group membership);
  • the need for self-affirmation (feeling of importance);
  • need for affection (the need for warm and concerned feelings);
  • the need for consciousness (personality);
  • the need for a system of orientation and objects of worship (belonging to a culture, nation, class, religion, etc.).

But the most popular among all existing classifications is a unique system of needs American psychologist Abraham Maslow (hierarchy of needs or pyramid of needs). The basis for its classification, the representative of the humanistic direction in psychology, put the principle requirements grouping by similarity in a hierarchical sequence, from the lowest to the highest needs. Hierarchy of needs Maslow A. for convenience, presented in the form of a table.

Hierarchy of needs by Maslow

Main groups Needs Description
Additional psychological needs in self-actualization (self-realization) the maximum realization of all potentials of man, his abilities and personality development
aesthetic the need for harmony and beauty
cognitive the desire to know and to know the reality
Basic psychological needs respect, self-esteem and evaluation the need for success, approval, recognition, credibility, competence, etc.
love and belonging the need to be in community, society, to be accepted and recognized
safe the need for protection, stability and security
Physiological needs physiological or organic the need for food, oxygen, drinking, sleeping, sexual desire, etc.

Offering the classification of needs Maslow said that a person may not experience higher needs (cognitive, aesthetic and the need for self-development) if it did not satisfy the basic (organic) needs.

The formation of human needs

The development of human needs can be analysed in the context of socio-historical development of humanity and from the perspective of ontogenesis. But it should be noted that in the first and in the second case the output will be performing material needs. This is because they are the main source of activity of any individual, pushing him to the maximum interaction with the environment (natural, social)

On the basis of material needs have evolved and transformed the spiritual needs of man, for example, need for cognition was based on meeting needs for food, clothing and shelter. Regarding the aesthetic needs, they are also formed through the development and improvement of the production process and various tools that were necessary to ensure more comfortable conditions for human life. Thus, the formation of human needs caused by the socio-historical development in which all human needs develop and differentiate.

As for the development of requirements throughout the life of a person (ontogenesis), everything starts with the satisfaction of natural (organic) needs, which provide a relationship between the child and adults. In the process of meeting the basic needs of children emerging needs in communication and cognition, on the basis of which emerge other social needs. An important influence on the development and formation of needs in childhood makes the process of education, through which the correction and the replacement of destructive needs.

The development and formation of human needs according to A. G. Kovalev must obey the following rules:

  • needs arise and are strengthened with practice and consistency of consumption (i.e. the formation by type of habits);
  • development needs possible in the context of expanded reproduction in the presence of a variety of means and methods satisfy (the need for process activities);
  • the formation needs is more comfortable if the necessary activities would not torture the child (the ease, simplicity and a positive emotional state);
  • to development needs is significantly affected by the transition from reproductive to creative activities;
  • the need will be strengthened in the case that the child will see its significance, both personally and in public (assessment and promotion).

In addressing the question of the formation of human needs necessary to return to the hierarchy of needs of Maslow, who claimed that all the needs of man set him in a hierarchical organization, for the defined levels. Thus, each person from the moment of his birth in the process of maturing and personal development will continue to occur seven classes (of course, ideally) needs ranging from the most basic (physiological) needs and ending with the need for self-actualization (the desire to help individuals realize their potentials, the most full of life), and some aspects of this need begin to appear not earlier than adolescence.

According to Maslow, a person’s life at a higher level needs gives him the greatest biological efficiency and, accordingly, a longer life, stronger health, better sleep and appetite. Thus, the objective of meeting the needs of base – the desire for the emergence of human higher needs (in knowledge, in self-development and self-actualization).

The main ways and means to meet the needs of

Meet human needs is essential not only for comfortable existence, but also to his survival, because if you do not meet the organic needs of man will die in a biological sense, and if you do not satisfy the spiritual needs of the dying person as social education. People, satisfying the various needs, learn the various ways and learn a variety of tools to achieve this goal. Therefore, depending on environmental conditions and individual goal satisfaction and ways to achieve it will differ.

In psychology, the most popular ways and means to address the needs are:

  • the mechanism of formation of individual human ways meet their needs (in the process of learning, forming a link between the stimuli and the subsequent analogy);
  • in the process of individualization of methods and means to meet the basic needsthat serve as mechanisms for the development and formation of new needs (ways of meeting needs can turn into them, then there are new needs);
  • some of the ways and means to meet the needs (there is a fixing of one way or more, which is the satisfaction of human needs);
  • in the process of mentalization needs (realization of the content or certain aspects of the needs);
  • in the socialization of the ways and means to meet the needs (is the subordination of cultural values and norms of society).

So, based on any activity and human activity is always some need that is reflected in the motifs and that needs are the driving force that encourages people to traffic and development.

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