A cognitive-systemic reconstruction of maslow's theory of self-actualization

Francis Heylighen
1992 Behavioral Science  
Maslow's need hierarchy and model of the self-actualizing personality are reviewed and criticized. The definition of self-actualization is found to be confusing, and the gratification of all needs is concluded to be insufficient to explain self-actualization. Therefore the theory is reconstructed on the basis of a second-order, cognitive-systemic framework. A hierarchy of basic needs is derived from the urgency of perturbations which an autonomous system must compensate in order to maintain its
more » ... der to maintain its identity. It comprises the needs for homeostasis, safety, protection, feedback and exploration. Self-actualization is redefined as the perceived competence to satisfy these basic needs in due time. This competence has three components: material, cognitive and subjective. Material and/or cognitive incompetence during childhood create subjective incompetence, which in turn inhibits the further development of cognitive competence, and thus of self-actualization.
doi:10.1002/bs.3830370105 fatcat:kmw7dkcmbzgqpghbzkopmjppmu