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What are examples of psychological needs?

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Quick Answer

Psychological needs are the mental needs that motivate a person to achieve goals and perform certain activities. They are distinct from physical needs, which have more to do with meeting requirements to survive and remain healthy.

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What are examples of psychological needs?
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Full Answer

Renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow address major categories of psychological needs as part of his hierarchy of needs, first presented in a paper he wrote in 1943. Psychological needs categories include safety and security, self-esteem and self-actualization.

Safety and security are the lowest level of psychological needs. These include the desire to feel physically and emotionally safe and to have security in jobs and relationships. A person living in a dangerous neighborhood without an alarm system may sleep with one eye open based on fear. This fear may drive a desire, and subsequent actions, to move to a safer area or to get more home security.

A person's need to feel important, valued and competent fit into the self-esteem needs category. Many people are motivated personally and professionally by a desire for acceptance and achievement. At work, an achievement-driven person is motivated by access to knowledge and opportunities for recognition and rewards.

Self-actualization is a person's lifelong pursuit to achieve all that is personally possible, relationally and professionally. Despite bumps along the way, this compelling psychological need directs the long-term decisions and actions of many people.

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