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Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification


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The conventional description of Abraham Maslow's (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs is inaccurate as a description of Maslow's later thought. Maslow (1969a) amended his model, placing self-transcendence as a motivational step beyond self-actualization. Objections to this reinterpretation are considered. Possible reasons for the persistence of the conventional account are described. Recognizing self-transcendence as part of Maslow's hierarchy has important consequences for theory and research: (a) a more comprehensive understanding of worldviews regarding the meaning of life; (b) broader understanding of the motivational roots of altruism, social progress, and wisdom; (c) a deeper understanding of religious violence; (d) integration of the psychology of religion and spirituality into the mainstream of psychology; and (e) a more multiculturally integrated approach to psychological theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research,
and Unification
Mark E. Koltko-Rivera
New York University and Professional Services Group, Inc.
The conventional description of Abraham Maslow’s (1943, 1954) hierarchy of needs is
inaccurate as a description of Maslow’s later thought. Maslow (1969a) amended his
model, placing self-transcendence as a motivational step beyond self-actualization.
Objections to this reinterpretation are considered. Possible reasons for the persistence
of the conventional account are described. Recognizing self-transcendence as part of
Maslow’s hierarchy has important consequences for theory and research: (a) a more
comprehensive understanding of worldviews regarding the meaning of life; (b) broader
understanding of the motivational roots of altruism, social progress, and wisdom; (c) a
deeper understanding of religious violence; (d) integration of the psychology of religion
and spirituality into the mainstream of psychology; and (e) a more multiculturally
integrated approach to psychological theory.
Keywords: Maslow, motivation, self-transcendence, worldview, terrorism
Abraham H. Maslow (1908 –1970) was argu-
ably one of the most important psychologists of
modern times. In a recent survey, Maslow was
found to be the 14th-most-frequently cited
psychologist in introductory psychology text-
books; on the basis of various indicators, some
researchers proclaimed Maslow as the 10th
most eminent psychologist of the 20th century
(Haggbloom et al., 2002).
The hierarchy of human needs outlined by
Maslow (1943, 1954) is one of his most en-
during contributions to psychology. However,
the standard textbook version of this hierar-
chy is inaccurate as a reflection of Maslow’s
later descriptions of his motivational theory.
In this article, I describe Maslow’s later state-
ment of his theory and suggest some potential
reasons why an inaccurate version of the the-
ory has been maintained for more than 3
decades in psychology texts; I then point out
important implications that Maslow’s later
theory statement has for theory and research
in contemporary personality and social
I have three objectives here. First, I wish to
correct the way that Maslow’s theory is de-
picted in current textbooks; accurate description
of a theory is a prerequisite to its scientific
testing. Second, I wish to promote theory and
research efforts regarding motivational self-
transcendence (described below); I believe that
this construct has important behavioral implica-
tions. Third, I wish to focus attention on moti-
vational self-transcendence, a construct that
cuts across psychological specialty areas, as a
means to further unification within disciplinary
It is also important to indicate what my ob-
jectives are not. I am not primarily interested
here with any of the following: empirical evi-
dence regarding Maslow’s theory; critical ap-
praisal of Maslow’s theory; comparisons be-
tween Maslow’s theory and other motivational
theories; attempts to revise Maslow’s scheme in
light of other theoretical, rational, or empirical
Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, Department of Applied Psychol-
ogy, New York University, and Research Department, Pro-
fessional Services Group, Inc., Winter Park, Florida.
An early version of some material presented in this article
was presented at the 104th Annual Convention of the Amer-
ican Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
August 1996. I thank Kathleen Schmid Koltko-Rivera for
helpful comments on earlier versions of this article and
Sonya Grover for assistance in obtaining research materials.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed
to Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, Research Department, Professional
Services Group, Inc., P.O. Box 3390, Winter Park, FL 32790-
3390. E-mail: or
Review of General Psychology Copyright 2006 by the American Psychological Association
2006, Vol. 10, No. 4, 302–317 1089-2680/06/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/1089-2680.10.4.302
considerations. Although these issues are wor-
thy of attention, they are beyond the scope of
this article. Nor would I wish to give the im-
pression that what Maslow had to say about
motivational self-transcendence is anything but
a beginning, something for others to develop.
The Popular Misconception of Maslow’s
Motivational Hierarchy
Maslow’s motivational scheme, as originally
construed, is depicted in the bottom five entries
in Table 1 (i.e., physiological or survival needs
through self-actualization; Maslow, 1943,
1954). Maslow posited that human needs are
arranged in a hierarchy:
It is quite true that man lives by bread alone—when
there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires
when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is
chronically filled?
At once other (and “higher”) needs emerge and
these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the
organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again
new (and still “higher”) needs emerge and so on. This
is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs
are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency.
(Maslow, 1943, p. 375)
In addition to physiological needs, Maslow
posited needs for safety, belongingness and
love, esteem, and self-actualization, in ascend-
ing order on the hierarchy. He described self-
actualization this way:
It refers to the person’sdesire for self-fulfillment,
namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized
in what he is potentially.
The specific form that these needs will take will of
course vary greatly from person to person. In one
individual it may take the form of the desire to be an
ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athleti-
cally, and in still another it may be expressed in paint-
ing pictures or in inventions. (Maslow, 1943, pp. 382–
This formulation still stands as a strong state-
ment regarding the structure of human motiva-
tion. By the time of Maslow’s death, many
studies had been published about the needs hi-
erarchy (Roberts, 1972). The hierarchy attracted
scholarly attention following Maslow’s death
(e.g., Lester, Hvezda, Sullivan, & Plourde,
1983) and continues to attract research attention
today. For example, Chulef, Read, and Walsh
(2001) found broad support for Maslow’s the-
ory in their research into the hierarchical struc-
ture underlying human goals. Many undergrad-
uate texts in psychology perpetuate this version
of the model, with self-actualization at the top
of the hierarchy (e.g., Atkinson, Atkinson,
Smith, Bem, & Nolen-Hoeksema, 1996; Hall,
Lindzey, & Campbell, 1998; Larsen & Buss,
2002; Mischel, 1999; Myers, 2003; Pervin &
John, 2001). However, this description was not
Table 1
A Rectified Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Motivational level Description of person at this level
Self-transcendence Seeks to further a cause beyond the self
and to experience
a communion beyond the boundaries of the self through
peak experience.
Self-actualization Seeks fulfillment of personal potential.
Esteem needs Seeks esteem through recognition or achievement.
Belongingness and love needs Seeks affiliation with a group.
Safety needs Seeks security through order and law.
Physiological (survival) needs Seeks to obtain the basic necessities of life.
Note. The earliest and most widespread version of Maslow’s hierarchy (based on Maslow,
1943, 1954) includes only the bottom five motivational levels (thus excluding self-
transcendence). A more accurate version of the hierarchy, taking into account Maslow’s later
work (especially Maslow, 1969a) and his private journal entries (Maslow, 1979, 1982),
includes all six motivational levels.
This may involve service to others, devotion to an ideal (e.g., truth, art) or a cause (e.g.,
social justice, environmentalism, the pursuit of science, a religious faith), and/or a desire to
be united with what is perceived as transcendent or divine.
This may involve mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic
experiences, sexual experiences, and/or other transpersonal experiences, in which the person
experiences a sense of identity that transcends or extends beyond the personal self.
Maslow’s final statement concerning the moti-
vational hierarchy.
Maslow’s Description of a Motivational
Step Beyond Self-Actualization
Maslow developed compelling doubts about
self-actualization’s suitability as a motivational
capstone; these doubts were first related to the
phenomena of peak experiences and their atten-
dant cognitive activity. Maslow described peak
experiences, which include such phenomena as
mystical experiences, aesthetic experiences,
emotional experiences involving nature, and so
forth; he considered peak experiences in several
papers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, some
of which appeared in his hugely popular collec-
tion Toward a Psychology of Being (Maslow,
1959/1999a, 1961/1999b; 1959/1999c; see also
Maslow, 1962a, 1962b, 1963, 1964). Maslow
addressed the motivational significance of peak
experiences in a series of lectures in the early
1960s, later published as Religions, Values, and
Peak Experiences (Maslow, 1964/1970). He
called the special cognitive activity that attends
such phenomena “Being-cognition,” or “B-
cognition” for short.
Originally, Maslow thought that Being-
cognition was the province of self-actualization,
although in a very paradoxical way: Peak expe-
riences often led the self-actualizing individual
to transcend the personal concerns of the very
self that was being actualized. As Maslow put it,
As he that is, the person in the peak experiencesgets
to be more purely and singly himself he is more able to
fuse with the world, with what was formerly not-self,
for example, the lovers come closer to forming a unit
rather than two people, the I-Thou monism becomes
more possible, the creator becomes one with his work
being created, the mother feels one with her child.
That is, the greatest attainment of identity, auton-
omy, or selfhood is itself simultaneously a transcend-
ing of itself, a going beyond and above selfhood. The
person can then become relatively egoless. (Maslow,
1961/1999b, p. 117, footnotes omitted)
In conclusionI wish to underscore one main par-
adox I have dealt with above . . . which we must face
even if we don’t understand it. The goal of identity
(self-actualization . . .) seems to be simultaneously an
end-goal in itself, and also a transitional goal, a rite of
passage, a step along the path to the transcendence of
identity. This is like saying its function is to erase
itself. Put the other way around, if our goal is the
Eastern one of ego-transcendence and obliteration, of
leaving behind self-consciousness and self-observa-
tion, . . . then it looks as if the best path to this goal for
most people is via achieving identity, a strong real self,
and via basic-need-gratification. (Maslow, 1961/
1999b, p. 125)
Several points in the preceding quotation are
noteworthy. First, Maslow was puzzled by the
situation that he described and was not shy about
admitting that his thought was still under devel-
opment concerning the relationship between self-
actualization and self-transcendence. Second,
Maslow recognized a paradox—at least an appar-
ent contradiction—in combining self-actualization
and self-transcendence. Third, Maslow recognized
a sequence: Self-actualization preceded self-
transcendence. One can see in these points the
prefigurement of his later thought.
After his 1961 paper, Maslow began to think
that Being-cognition characterized a different
motivational level than self-actualization. At
least by October 1966, as shown by his unpub-
lished critique of self-actualization theory
(Maslow, 1996), Maslow thought that “self-
actualization is not enough” (p. 31) for a full
picture of the optimally functioning human be-
ing. Maslow came to a clearer sense of what
was missing during the following year. As he
recorded in his private journal in an entry dated
May 28, 1967,
All sorts of insights. One big one about SA self-
actualizationstuff, brought on, I think, mostly by my
deep uneasiness over popular pressarticles on the
topic. . . . I realized I’d rather leave it behind me. Just
too sloppy & too easily criticizable. Going thru my
notes brought this unease to consciousness. It’s been
with me for years. Meant to write & publish a self-
actualization critique, but somehow never did. Now I
think I know why. I think I had useda hidden,
unconscious hence mistakencriterion of selection
for examples of self-actualizationbeyond health.
(Maslow, 1979, Vol. 2, p. 794; Maslow, 1982, p. 204)
Maslow here surmised that, in describing self-
actualization, he had contaminated that construct
with notions that belonged to another, as-yet-
unnamed motivational level. The contaminant was
Being-cognition, which properly belonged some-
where on a level above self-actualization on the
hierarchy (i.e., “beyond health”). In this journal
entry, Maslow related an insight: He had mistak-
enly put forth, as examples of self-actualization,
people who seemed to exhibit Being-cognition,
even though these people had gone beyond self-
actualization and operated from a higher state of
Why did I get so excited over Arthur E. Morgan
from reading his book—so sure he was a self-
actualizing person? It’s because he was using the B-
language! What I’ve done was pick B-people i.e.,
mistakenly, as examples of self-actualization!Inad-
dition to all the other overt and conscious criteria for
defining self-actualizers. People in the B-realm using
B-language, the awakened, the illuminated, the “high-
plateau” people who normally B-cognize and who
have the B-values very firmly and actively in hand—
even tho not consciously.... There are plenty of
“healthy” people & even self-actualizing people . . .
who are far from B-realm and from unitive perception.
Idid read into my selectees for healthy self-
actualizationa criterion beyond “health.” (Maslow,
1979, Vol. 2, pp. 794 –795; Maslow, 1982, p. 204).
In this journal entry, Maslow also reflected
on his previous depiction of some American
presidents as self-actualizers: “Eisenhower. He
does fit. So does Truman. . . . And yet they are
clearly not B-people” (Maslow, 1979, Vol. 2, p.
794; Maslow, 1982, p. 204). Two weeks later,
Maslow related this insight in some detail to the
personologist Harry Murray. As Maslow noted
in his journal entry of June 11, 1967,
I told him i.e., Murrayof my new discovery of the
difference between Eisenhower-Truman SA and the
health-beyond-health of the B-person. The B-person
may be more symptom-loaded and have more value
than the symptom-free “healthies.” Maybe
one is symptom-free only by virtue of not knowing or
caring about the B-realm, never having experienced the
B-realm in the highest peaks (now that must be
changed also; must separate Eisenhower-Truman-type
peaks from those with full cognition of the B-realm).
Having value-pathology symptoms is “higher” (&
B-healthier?) than being symptom-free. One can get
fixated at Eisenhower-Truman SA level of health and
nonillness & then be perfectly content, happy, . . .
without even being aware of the B-realm in an expe-
riential way....Ifonetries to transcend healthy SA of
the Eisenhower-Truman level, then troubles (of the
highest type) begin. Value pathologies can be a very
high achievement. And one can respect profoundly
those in whom one can see—through the symptoms of
frustrated idealism—the beautiful B-realm that they
are reaching for and may therefore get to.
The ones who are struggling & reaching upward
really have a better prognosis than the ones who rest
perfectly content at the SA level.
(I’ve really been touting value pathology & singing
its praises!) (Maslow, 1979, Vol. 2, pp. 798 –799; first
paragraph also in Maslow, 1982, p. 206)
Here Maslow made an important distinction:
one could be self-actualizing and “healthy,” yet
still not experience Being-cognition, which char-
acterizes certain peak/mystical/transcendent expe-
riences. Those who were satisfied with self-
actualization without Being-cognition were, ac-
cording to Maslow, at a lower stage of
motivational development than those who were
motivated to seek experiences of Being-cognition.
Over the next 3 months, Maslow refined
these insights into a public presentation. On
September 14, 1967, in San Francisco, Maslow
delivered a public lecture, titled “The Farther
Reaches of Human Nature,” in which he de-
scribed the higher levels of his by-then familiar
needs hierarchy; he then took a large step fur-
The major emphasis in Humanistic psychology rests on
the assumptions regarding “higher needs.” . . . These
higher human needs are . . . biological, and I speak
here of love, the need of love, for friendship, for
dignity, for self-respect, for individuality, for self-
fulfillment, and so on.
If however, these needs are fulfilled, a different
picture emerges. There are people who do feel loved
and who are able to love, who do feel safe and secure
and who do feel respected and who do have self-
respect. If you study these people and ask what moti-
vates them, you find yourself in another realm. This
realm is what I have to call transhumanistic,
that which motivates, gratifies, and activates the fortu-
nate, developed, i.e., alreadyself-actualizing person.
These people are motivated by something beyond the
basic needs. The . . . point of departure, into this
transhumanistic realm comes when they answer the
following kind of questions: “What are the moments
which give you . . . the greatest satisfaction? . . . What
are the moments of reward which make your work and
your life worthwhile?”
The answers to those questions were in terms of ulti-
mate verities....For example,truth, goodness, beauty
. . . and so on. What this amounts to is that this third i.e.,
humanisticpsychology is giving rise to a fourth,
Arthur Ernest Morgan (1878 –1975) was president of
Antioch College and an early proponent of what might now
be called humanistic education. It is unclear which of Mor-
gan’s many books is meant in Maslow’s journal entry, but
possibilities include Morgan (1946), Morgan (1957), or a
prepublication version of Morgan (1968).
Value pathology, for Maslow, was another term for
what he called metapathologies. These are “the spiritual-
existential ailments that result from the persistent depriva-
tion of metaneeds i.e., the higher needs in Maslow’s hier-
archy—the lack of fulfillment of metamotivations. They
include cynicism, apathy, boredom, loss of zest, despair,
hopelessness, a sense of powerlessness, and nihilism”
(Hoffman, 1996, p. 206).
What Maslow here called “transhumanistic” he later
termed transpersonal (Koltko-Rivera, 1998). Both terms
refer to a motivational state in which the person seeks
something beyond personal benefit, for example, the fur-
therance of some greater cause, union with a power beyond
the self, and/or service to others as an expression of iden-
tification beyond the personal ego. This motivational state
expresses a need for self-transcendence.
“transhumanistic psychology” dealing with transcendent
experiences and transcendent values.
The fully developed (and very fortunate) human
being working under the best conditions tends to be
motivated by values which transcend his self. They are
not selfish anymore in the old sense of that term.
Beauty is not within one’s skin nor is justice or order.
One can hardly class these desires as selfish in the
sense that my desire for food might be. My satisfaction
with achieving or allowing justice is not within my
own skin . . . . It is equally outside and inside: there-
fore, it has transcended the geographical limitations of
the self. Thus one begins to talk about transhumanistic
psychology. (Maslow, 1969a, pp. 3– 4)
Maslow here noted that some individuals have
gone beyond even self-actualization as a salient
motivation. Such individuals arrive at the top of
Maslow’s new hierarchy of motivation with a
strong motive toward self-transcendence. That
is, such individuals seek a benefit beyond the
purely personal and seek communion with the
transcendent, perhaps through mystical or
transpersonal experiences; they come to iden-
tify with something greater than the purely in-
dividual self, often engaging in service to oth-
ers. (As Maslow put it in his unpublished Oc-
tober 1966 paper, “the good of other people
must be invoked” Maslow, 1996, p. 31. For a
further discussion of the meaning of transcen-
dence for Maslow, see Maslow 1969/1993c.)
This represented a major course change for
Maslow. In a paper published shortly before
Maslow gave his “Farther Reaches” lecture (al-
though likely composed at least a year before
that lecture), Maslow had written about how
self-actualizing individuals were motivated by
metamotivations, devoting themselves to callings
or vocations “beyond themselves” (Maslow,
1967/1993a, p. 291)—that is, devoting them-
selves to aspects of self-transcendence. Yet, in
the “Farther Reaches” lecture, Maslow clearly
differentiated self-actualization from self-tran-
Maslow, who had helped to form humanistic
psychology as a distinct approach within psychol-
ogy, went on to help found the Journal of
Transpersonal Psychology. He defined transper-
sonal psychology as a separate “force” within
psychology, differing from the humanistic as self-
transcendence differs from self-actualization.
Maslow pondered making this distinction the
topic for his address as president of the American
Psychological Association (APA). As he wrote in
his journal almost a year after his “Farther
Reaches” presentation (entry of August 25, 1968),
Possible beginning for presidential address: “I will
choose, as a strategy of presentation, to begin with a
vast oversimplification & then later fill in the details,
struggle with the complexities, and so forth.
Let me call behavioristic psychology the first
psychology, Freudian psychology the 2nd, and human-
istic psychology the 3rd. And then what I think of as a
real possibility, what I am fascinated with, is the psy-
chology of transcendence & of ends, the transhuman or
transpersonal (really should be “transcendent”)psy-
chology the 4th psychology.(Maslow, 1979,
Vol. 2, p. 1059; Maslow, 1982, p. 267)
Maslow, recuperating from a heart attack, never
delivered an APA presidential address (Hoff-
man, 1999), but he did prepare a different paper
for the American Psychologist, a sort of
“would-be” presidential address, in which he
stated, “I am Freudian and I am behavioristic
and I am humanistic, and as a matter of fact I
am developing what might be called a fourth
psychology of transcendence as well” (Maslow,
1969b, p. 724).
In summary, Maslow identified a construct,
self-transcendence, that went beyond self-
actualization in his motivational hierarchy; he
then helped to establish a corresponding per-
spective, transpersonal psychology, that was in-
tended to go beyond the perspective of human-
istic psychology as originally construed, with a
corresponding professional journal. Thus, the
typical textbook version of Maslow’s hierarchy
of needs is seriously inaccurate as a reflection of
Maslow’s later formulation of theory. A recti-
fied version of Maslow’s hierarchy includes the
top line of Table 1, self-transcendence.
The implications of this change in Maslow’s
thought must not be underestimated. The earlier
model positions the highest form of motiva-
tional development at the level of the well-
adjusted, differentiated, and fulfilled individual
self or ego. The later model places the highest
form of human development at a transpersonal
level, where the self/ego and its needs are tran-
scended. This represents a monumental shift in
the conceptualization of human personality and
its development. At the level of self-actualiza-
tion, the individual works to actualize the indi-
vidual’s own potential; there is thus, at least
potentially, a certain self-aggrandizing aspect to
this motivational stage, as there is with all the
stages below it in Maslow’s hierarchy. At the
level of self-transcendence, the individual’s
own needs are put aside, to a great extent, in
favor of service to others and to some higher
force or cause conceived as being outside the
personal self. Certainly the image of the best-
developed human being that emerges from
Maslow’s hierarchy is very different, depending
on which of these two stages is placed at the top
of the motivational hierarchy.
Objections to This Reinterpretation of
Some scholars studying Maslow’s work have
come to very different conclusions than I have.
For example, Daniels (1982), following a close
study of many of Maslow’s published writings,
has taken the position that Maslow never devel-
oped a final coherent theory of self-actualization
and that Maslow described self-actualization in
ways that intertwined it deeply with self-
transcendence. I agree that Daniels has pointed
out several unresolved theoretical issues involv-
ing Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. How-
ever, concerning a supposed intertwining of
self-actualization and self-transcendence in
Maslow’s thought, I must note that Daniels re-
viewed and cited neither Maslow’s pivotal
“Further Reaches” talk and publication
(Maslow, 1969a) nor Maslow’s posthumously
published journals (Maslow, 1979, 1982); these
sources, which I quote extensively earlier in this
article, demonstrate conclusively that although
Maslow initially conflated self-actualization
and self-transcendence, during the last 3 years
of his life he came to consider the two con-
structs as quite distinct.
It may also be claimed that Maslow’s writing
subsequent to the “Farther Reaches” lecture
seemed still to conflate self-actualization and
self-transcendence, suggesting that Maslow
never actually settled on the addition of a sixth
stage to his formal model. For example, in his
famous “Theory Z” paper, Maslow stated,
I have recently found it more and more useful to
differentiate between two kinds (or better, degrees) of
self-actualizing people, those who were clearly
healthy, but with little or no experience of transcen-
dence, and those in whom transcendent experiencing
was important and even central.
It is unfortunate that I can no longer be theoretically
neat at this level. I find not only self-actualizing per-
sons who transcend, but also nonhealthy people, non-
self-actualizers who have important transcendent ex-
periences. It seems to me that I have found some
degree of transcendence in many people other than
self-actualizing ones. (Maslow, 1969/1993b, p. 270)
There is a subtle but important distinction to be
made here. In this passage, Maslow noted the
mutual orthogonality of self-actualization and the
experience of transcendence: Self-actualizing in-
dividuals may or may not have peak/transcendent
experiences, and individuals who have peak/
transcendent experiences may or may not be self-
actualizing. However confusing this state of af-
fairs may have been to Maslow, it has no bearing
on the issue of a separate motivational stage for
self-transcendence. The crucial issue is the domi-
nant motivation at work in the individual’s life.
All individuals experience hunger; however, hun-
ger is the defining experience only for individuals
centered on the physiological or survival level of
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Similarly, many in-
dividuals have transcendent experiences, regard-
less of their position on Maslow’s hierarchy. This
fact has nothing to do with the matter of a separate
stage for self-transcendence. Maslow no more
confined the experience of transcendence to the
stage of self-transcendence needs than he confined
the experience of hunger to the motivational stage
where physiological needs predominate.
In sum, for Maslow the experience of tran-
scendence is one thing; having one’s motiva-
tional life be centered at the level of self-
transcendence is entirely another. Only the lat-
ter is what I shall refer to hereafter as
motivational self-transcendence or self-tran-
scendence as a motivational status.
Why Has the Misconception Persisted?
Why has the popular misconception of
Maslow’s theory persisted for so long? Why
does it pervade the literature so thoroughly?
These questions arise because, even though iso-
lated individuals have noted self-transcendence
as a neglected step within Maslow’s motiva-
tional hierarchy (e.g., Koltko-Rivera, 1998;
Roberts, 1982), there is no mention of self-
transcendence as a motivational status distinct
from self-actualization in almost any textbook
treatment of Maslow’s theory. There are a few
exceptions (e.g., Battista, 1996; Fadiman &
Frager, 2002; Zimbardo & Gerrig, 1999); in
addition, some texts describe self-actualization
as embracing self-transcendence (e.g., Ryck-
man, 2000, p. 439). By far, however, self-
transcendence is not described in textbooks as a
separate motivational step in the hierarchy. In-
deed, this inaccuracy has not even been cor-
rected in the third, posthumous edition of Mo-
tivation and Personality (Maslow, 1987). At
least three factors may have played a part in
propagating this misconception.
First, there was little opportunity for Maslow
to publicize his amended theory before his
death. On July 8, 1966, he learned that he had
been elected to the presidency of APA
(Maslow, 1979, Vol. 2, p. 739; Maslow, 1982,
p. 192). As noted above, although he began
studying peak experiences in the mid-1950s, his
sense of the limitations of the self-actualization
construct coalesced in May and June 1967, just
a few months before beginning his term as APA
president. In the fall of 1967, more or less
simultaneously with the beginning of his presi-
dential term, he began to occupy a 1-year Ford
Foundation fellowship (Hoffman, 1999, p. 283),
during which term (in September) he gave the
“Farther Reaches” talk as his first public pre-
sentation on self-transcendence as a successor
step to self-actualization. After a few months
lecturing at Harvard, MIT, and Yale on his
Theory Z management approach and after ap-
pearing at a December 1967 conference on tran-
scendence, Maslow was hospitalized in inten-
sive care following a serious coronary event.
Much of 1968 was spent in convalescence or in
working to involve psychologists in the cause of
civil rights (Hoffman, 1999), although Maslow
was too ill to deliver a presidential address at
the annual APA meeting in the fall of that year.
Maslow left his long-time teaching position at
Brandeis in early 1969 for a fellowship in Cal-
ifornia. Although his time in California was
productive, it was all too brief: He died of a
coronary attack on June 8, 1970. Thus, there
simply was very little opportunity for Maslow
to incorporate the self-transcendence aspect of
his needs hierarchy into the theory as it ap-
peared in book form.
Second, the journal publication of Maslow’s
amended theory has been difficult for many
psychologists to find. Maslow’s clearest presen-
tation of his amended theory (the “Farther
Reaches” lecture; Maslow, 1969a) appeared in
what was, at the time, an obscure venue, as the
first article published in the then-fledgling Jour-
nal of Transpersonal Psychology. By some ed-
itorial quirk, the published lecture was not even
collected into the posthumous collection of es-
says that bears the same name as the lecture
itself (Maslow, 1971). Maslow’s personal jour-
nals, where his later thought also was described,
were not published until almost a decade after
his death (Maslow, 1979, 1982).
Third, the organized psychology of Maslow’s
day simply may not have been ready to incor-
porate Maslow’s concept of self-transcendence
into the quasi-official canon of acceptable the-
ory. This interpretation of events would be con-
sistent with Maslow’s experience. In the 1950s,
Maslow’s first major paper on Being-cognition
during peak experiences was rejected by both
the Psychological Review and the American
Psychologist (Hoffman, 1999, p. 206; Maslow,
1979, Vol. 2, p. 774; Maslow, 1982, p. 200). To
bring this material to light, he arranged to
present it as his APA Division 8 (Personality
and Social Psychology) presidential address at
the 1956 APA national meeting, a situation in
which his ideas could not be rejected for public
presentation; he later published these remarks in
a non-APA venue (Maslow, 1959/1999a). Sub-
sequent to this experience, despite a history of
more than 20 publications in APA core journals
from 1932 to 1957 (see publication lists in Hoff-
man, 1999, and Maslow, 1987), after 1957,
Maslow would only publish two more items in
APA journals: his APA would-be presidential
address (Maslow, 1969b) and the provocatively
titled comment “Are Our Publications and Con-
ventions Suitable for the Personal Sciences?”
(Maslow, 1961).
Fourth, notions concerning self-transcen-
dence were not well received within APA for
many years after Maslow’s death. This is sug-
gested by the dispute in the mid-1980s regard-
ing the unsuccessful effort to form an APA
Division of Transpersonal Psychology (“Debat-
ing the Legitimacy,” 1986; “In Defense,” 1986;
May, 1986a, 1986b). It is interesting to observe
that a book published by APA almost a decade
after Maslow’s death noted that “he was a
leader in humanistic psychology and a founder
of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology” (Hil-
gard, 1978, p. 531), omitting what would have
been equally accurate to state, namely that
Maslow was also a leader in transpersonal psy-
chology and a founder of the Journal of
Transpersonal Psychology. This anecdotal evi-
dence is consistent with the idea that institu-
tional psychology was largely unwilling to rec-
ognize transpersonally oriented changes in
Maslow’s theory.
Fifth, there is no denying that there are prob-
lems inherent in Maslow’s motivational model,
problems that Maslow failed to resolve. The
reality is that so-called “higher” motivations,
such as self-actualization and self-transcen-
dence, can appear as the dominant motivations
in individuals who seem not to have firmly
resolved the needs for survival, safety, and so
forth. This is a serious problem for a strictly
hierarchical model such as Maslow’s, where
lower, prepotent needs must be addressed suc-
cessfully before higher needs come to the fore.
It may be the case that, in light of this, subse-
quent theorists were loathe to recognize the
addition of yet another level onto the hierarchy.
However, it is clear that Maslow meant to do so,
which settles the question of his theory’s con-
tent, although not its validity.
If organized psychology was resistant to
Maslow’s ideas about self-transcendence, one
wonders why this might have been so, a ques-
tion that falls outside the scope of this article.
Maslow himself was of the (perhaps uncharita-
ble) opinion that many prominent psychologists
of his day did not understand the psychology of
peak or transpersonal experiences because they
had not experienced these themselves.
Although Maslow’s opinion was highly spec-
ulative, other observers have noted a tendency
among psychologists to avoid issues that in-
volve spirituality, presumably including mysti-
cal or peak experiences (see discussion in Rich-
ards & Bergin, 1997). It has been claimed that
this may be because of problematic or uninves-
tigated assumptions regarding either spirituality
or science (Jones, 1994; Slife, Hope, &
Nebeker, 1999; Sperry, 1988). It has been noted
that, perhaps out of a desire to gain scientific
respectability, psychology has historically
tended to stigmatize serious researchers of reli-
gion (R. Hogan, quoted in P. Young, 1979).
Sociological and affective reasons have also
been advanced for the neglect of religion by
psychology (Baumeister, 2002). These issues
may have had an effect on the receptivity of
disciplinary psychology to the notion of
The preceding exposition demonstrates that
the accepted version of Maslow’s needs hierar-
chy is not accurate as a reflection of his later
thought on the matter. The time has come to
rewrite the textbooks.
However, theories can be described accu-
rately without making an impact on a scientific
discipline; the humoral theory of personality,
for example, generates little contemporary
scholarship. For a rectification of Maslow’s the-
ory to have more than solely historical interest,
it must offer some advantage to theory or re-
search. As it happens, there are several such
Implications of the Rectified Version of
Maslow’s Motivational Theory
The rectified version of Maslow’s hierarchy
of needs has several important implications for
theory and research in personality and social
psychology. These implications include more
comprehensive approaches to (a) personal and
cultural conceptions of the purpose of life; (b)
the motivational underpinnings of altruistic be-
havior, social progress, and wisdom; and (c)
suicidal terrorism and religious violence; in ad-
dition, the rectified theory provides a basis for
(d) closer integration of the psychology of reli-
gion and spirituality into both personality and
social psychology and (e) a more multicultur-
ally integrated approach to psychological the-
ory. Each of these areas is addressed below. In
some areas, Maslow’s rectified theory allows
deeper understanding of a single construct; in
others, the theory allows us to make connec-
tions across theories. Making such connections,
of course, is highly desirable; it has long been
recognized that building bridges between for-
merly unrelated theories is important for the
advancement of psychology as a science (e.g.,
Staats, 1981, 1999).
Self-Transcendence, Worldview, and
Purpose of Life
Worldviews are sets of assumptions held by
individuals and cultures about the physical and
social universe (Koltko-Rivera, 2004). One im-
portant aspect of a worldview involves notions
As Maslow mentioned in his journal, after putting forth
U.S. Presidents Eisenhower and Truman as examples of
people who were self-actualizers yet without experience of
Being-cognition, “Same for the APA board of directors—
very capable & sound, etc., but no B-cognition” (journal
entry for May 28, 1967; Maslow, 1979, Vol. 2, p. 794;
Maslow, 1982, p. 204).
about the purpose or meaning of life; this has
been described as a central issue for individual
psychology (Baumeister, 1991). It has rarely
been noted, but Maslow’s needs hierarchy de-
fines a framework that identifies and organizes
notions about the purpose of life (Koltko-
Rivera, 2004). Maslow noted that each stage of
the motivational hierarchy can be characterized
by a distinctive worldview:
Apeculiar characteristic of the human organism when it
is dominated by a certain need is that the whole philos-
ophy of the future tends also to change. For our chroni-
cally and extremely hungry man, . . . life itself tends to be
defined in terms of eating. Anything else will be defined
as unimportant. Freedom, love, community feeling, re-
spect, philosophy, may all be waved aside as fripperies
that are useless since they fail to fill the stomach.
All that has been said of the physiological needs is
equally true of the safety needs. . . . Again, as in the
hungry man, we find that the dominating goal is a
strong determinant not only of his current world-
outlook and philosophy but also of his philosophy of
the future. (Maslow, 1943, pp. 374, 376)
The inclusion of self-transcendence in
Maslow’s hierarchy allows for a richer concep-
tualization of the meaning-of-life worldview di-
mension. Others have also noted the importance
of self-transcendent goals in forming a sense of
the purpose of life (e.g., Emmons, 1999). By
making our models of worldview more compre-
hensive, we in turn gain a better articulation of
theory in personality and social psychology.
Self-Transcendence, Altruism, Social
Progress, and Wisdom
History has demonstrated that a significant mi-
nority of the human species functions primarily
from the position that it is more important to serve
some selfless greater purpose than to serve one’s
own purposes. (One thinks in this respect of the
Mother Teresas, Albert Schweitzers, and Gandhis
of the world, as well as many lesser known indi-
viduals who put their lives at risk for social justice
and environmental and religious causes.) A com-
prehensive theory of human personality and social
behavior must account for such individuals. There
are, of course, various scientific approaches to
altruism (e.g., Barash, 2003; Sober & Wilson,
1998). The self-transcendence aspect of Maslow’s
theory should be seriously considered in relation
to these issues.
On a somewhat different plane, the sociolo-
gist Rodney Stark has asserted, on the basis of
the historical record, that despite the association
of monotheistic religion and violence (Stark,
2001), monotheistic religion has been a driving
force behind social progress and the advance of
science (Stark, 2003, 2005). It seems plausible
that some of this effect might be associated with
a motivational stance centered in self-transcen-
dence, putting aside self in favor of the greater
good, the search for truth, and so forth.
Wisdom is traditionally considered to be a
form of the highest human development. It is
noteworthy that a central aspect of Sternberg’s
(1998, 2003) balance theory of wisdom in-
volves self-transcendence. As Sternberg defined
the construct,
Wisdom is defined as the application of successful
intelligence and creativity as mediated by values to-
ward the achievement of a common good italics
addedthrough a balance among (a) intrapersonal, (b)
interpersonal italics added, and (c) extrapersonal
interests italics added, over (a) short and (b) long
terms, in order to achieve a balance among (a) adap-
tation to existing environments, (b) shaping of existing
environments, and (c) selection of new environments.
Thus, wisdom is not just about maximizing one’s
own or someone else’s self-interest, but about balanc-
ing various self-interests (intrapersonal) with the inter-
ests of others (interpersonal) and of other aspects of
the context in which one lives (extrapersonal), such as
one’s city or country or environment or even God. ...
Extrapersonal interests might include contributing to
the welfare of one’s school, helping one’s community,
contributing to the well-being of one’s country, or
serving God italics added, and so forth. Different
people balance these interests in different ways. At one
extreme, a malevolent dictator might emphasize his or
her own personal power and wealth; at the other ex-
treme, a saint might emphasize only serving others and
God. (Sternberg, 2003, pp. 152, 154)
The relationship between Maslow’s notion of
self-transcendence and Sternberg’s notion of a
common good and interpersonal and extraper-
sonal interests is easy to see. Recognition of the
inclusion of self-transcendence into Maslow’s
motivational hierarchy thus allows us to make a
connection between Maslow’s motivational the-
ory and cognitive psychology, inasmuch as the
latter is where Sternberg has positioned his the-
ory of human wisdom (see Sternberg & Ben-
Zeev, 2001, pp. 325–326).
I certainly would not wish to imply that monotheistic
religions have some sort of monopoly on self-transcendence. I
simply wish to associate the notion of a religious connection to
science with the construct of motivational self-transcendence.
Self-Transcendence, Terrorism, and
Religious Violence
Self-transcendence is not just about the Mother
Teresas and Gandhis of the world. Surrendering
personal needs to a power or cause conceived as
being beyond the self has certainly been an impe-
tus not only for service but for religious violence
as well (Fields, 2004). The suicide terrorist attacks
of September 11, 2001, may need to be framed
within a context that we might call the negative
pole of self-transcendence.
Religious violence has been with us for mil-
lennia (Ellens, 2002, 2004; Stark, 2001). Al-
though it is easy to dismiss perpetrators of re-
ligious violence as simply malign, unintelligent,
or deranged, such facile explanations are often
inaccurate and overlook the way in which per-
petrators of such violence have spiritual moti-
vations (Lincoln, 2003; Stern, 2003)—what
Maslow would have called motives of self-
transcendence. We have much to learn in terms
of what separates the founder of a soup kitchen
or a home for lepers from a suicide bomber;
however, the uncomfortable truth is that there is
a dimension in which they are similar: devotion
to a cause or purpose beyond the self. Certainly,
if we are to appropriately respond to the threat
of religious terrorism in the 21st century, we
will need to understand self-transcendence, in
both its positive and negative poles. (As Kfir
2002has pointed out, Maslow’s notion of the
peak experience is also relevant to discussions
of the motivations behind terrorist acts.)
In investigating the relationship of self-
transcendence to violence (or to altruism, for
that matter), we will be confronted with some of
the less-developed aspects of Maslow’s theory.
Some of those engaged in self-transcendent vi-
olence or altruism are quite young. It would
seem unlikely that these individuals have suc-
cessfully negotiated the prior steps of Maslow’s
motivational hierarchy. Is there something pe-
culiar about self-transcendence in this respect?
If so, is there an inherent difference between
those who reach the motivational stage of self-
transcendence after traversing the other levels
of the hierarchy and those who confront moti-
vational self-transcendence out of sequence, so
to speak? Is the theory itself in need of read-
justment? Future developments in theory and
research in this area will be exciting to consider.
Integrating the Psychology of Religion
and Spirituality With Personality and
Social Psychology
Robert Hogan, the first section editor for the
Personality Processes and Individual Differ-
ences section of the Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, noted that religion has acted
as one of the most powerful social forces in
human history (as quoted in P. Young, 1979).
Moving from an historical perspective to a
present-centered one, Baumeister (2002, p. 165)
has noted, “Like TV, money, sex, and aggres-
sion, religion is an important fact of life, and
psychology cannot pretend to be complete un-
less it understands religion alongside these
other phenomena.” Despite this, scientific psy-
chology’s attitude toward the study of religion
or spirituality can be described, at best, as am-
bivalent. Although some rigorously edited spe-
cialty journals publish psychological research
involving religious or spiritual variables, in the
APA core journals such research is exceedingly
rare. For example, only 2 of the 150 articles
published in the volumes of the Journal of Per-
sonality and Social Psychology (JPSP) for the
year 2000 dealt with religion or spirituality in
any substantive way (i.e., Gilbert, Brown, Pinel,
& Wilson, 2000; Tetlock, Kristel, Elson, Green,
& Lerner, 2000)—and in one of those (Gilbert
et al., 2000), the variables were only part of the
introduction and discussion and were not actu-
ally studied in the empirical investigation fo-
cused on in the article.
There are several likely reasons why the psy-
chology of religion and spirituality is largely
isolated from the mainstream of personality and
social psychology (as distinct from the reasons
for religion’s outright neglect by psychology as
a whole). Classical psychoanalytic theory, of
course, considered religion as essentially an ex-
pression of neurosis and defense against anxiety
(see Freud, 1930/1961a, 1927/1961b). Most
other major theories of personality, it seems,
simply ignore religion and matters of spiritual-
ity. (Exceptions would include the theories of
Abstracts from all articles appearing in the year 2000
issues of JPSP were consulted for this survey. I omit from
the total of 2 a study (Epley & Dunning, 2000) whose only
relation to religion or spirituality was the use of biblical
metaphors in the title and text, which were not integral to
the authors’ study or discussion.
Jung, 1951/1969a, 1938/1969b; Allport, 1950;
and Maslow, 1964/1970; see also Pargament,
2002.) In the absence of much theory with
which to address nonpathological religion, it is
unsurprising that contemporary personality and
social psychology have largely ignored religion
and spirituality.
There is thus plenty of room for attempting to
build a bridge between personality and social
psychological theory, on the one hand, and re-
ligious and spiritual phenomena, on the other.
Inclusion of the self-transcendence step in
Maslow’s motivational hierarchy builds such a
bridge. We must make sense of the great deal of
research literature that finds positive associa-
tions between spiritual or mystical experience
and measures of psychological health (e.g., Ar-
gyle & Hills, 2000; Byrd, Lear, & Schwenka,
2000; Hunt, Dougan, Grant, & House, 2002;
Koltko, 1991; Koltko-Rivera, 2006; Mallory,
1977; Murphy et al., 2000; Pargament, 2002;
Waldron, 1999; J. S. Young, Cashwell, &
Shcherbakova, 2000). It is also necessary to
relate to personality theory the burgeoning clin-
ical literature that speaks to a need to address
spiritual issues in therapy (e.g., Constantine,
1999; Engels, 2001; Richards & Bergin, 1997,
2000; Shafranske, 1996). To better comprehend
these matters in terms of personality theory, it
may help to associate at least some spiritual
phenomena and religious behavior with the
highest motivational stage in the rectified ver-
sion of Maslow’s theory.
Maslow— himself an atheist
— clearly con-
sidered spiritual phenomena and peak experi-
ences to be crucial aspects of human experience
(Maslow, 1964/1970, 1969a). Certainly one can
imagine Maslow agreeing with the proposition
that religious experience can be rooted in any of
the steps of the needs hierarchy, allowing us to
understand that some superficially similar expe-
riences would have vastly differing persono-
logical implications for different individuals.
Including the step of self-transcendence allows
us to apply a long-standing motivational theory
to some aspects of religious experience and to
understand how spiritual and even mystical ex-
periences can be associated positively with
mental health and other personality variables.
Similarly, a theoretical focus on self-
transcendence can help to integrate the field of
positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmi-
halyi, 2000) even more closely with disciplinary
psychology in general. Spirituality and tran-
scendent experience are domains addressed by
positive psychology (Pargament & Mahoney,
2002; Peterson & Seligman, 2004). The con-
struct of self-transcendence as a motivational
status can thus build a bridge between positive
psychology and a major theory of motivation.
Self-Transcendence and Multicultural
Psychological Theory
A culturally aware psychology recognizes
that spirituality is a basic dimension of the hu-
man condition (Sue, Bingham, Porche´-Burke, &
Vasquez, 1999). The cultures of the world are
home to a variety of traditional personologies,
which have as a common factor one or more
motivational constructs similar to self-transcen-
dence. Although this is not the place for a
comprehensive treatment of the immense lit-
erature on this topic, one can discern such
constructs in traditional Hindu or yogic psy-
chology (Scotton & Hiatt, 1996), the tradi-
tional psychologies of central and western
Asia (Scotton, 1996), the traditional psycholo-
gies of Africa (Bynum, 1999), and the tradi-
tional psychologies embedded within shamanic
cultures (Krippner, 2002).
A theoretical focus on motivational self-
transcendence also creates connections to the
cross-cultural values research literature. Look-
ing at values from the perspective of motiva-
tional goals that they express, Shalom Schwartz
has conducted research involving values with
participants from more than 50 countries (a
program summarized in Smith & Schwartz,
1997). Schwartz has found that 10 motivation-
ally distinct types of values are empirically or-
ganized into two bipolar dimensions: Openness
to Change versus Conservation and Self-
Enhancement versus Self-Transcendence. In
As he put it, “For me no God ever existed” (Maslow,
1979, Vol. 1, p. 525).
Thus, in terms of Allport’s (1959) original concept of
religious orientation, one might hypothesize that higher
intrinsic religiosity is related to higher need for self-
transcendence and that higher extrinsic religiosity is related
to higher degrees of needs found on the other levels of
Maslow’s rectified hierarchy. In terms of the quest dimen-
sion found in later conceptualizations of religious orienta-
tion (Batson, Schoenrade, & Ventis, 1993), one might hy-
pothesize that higher quest is related to higher needs for
self-actualization and self-transcendence.
Schwartz’s research, the Self-Transcendence
pole reflects values promoting universalism
(“understanding, tolerance and protection for
the welfare of all people and nature”; Smith &
Schwartz, 1997, p. 86) and benevolence (“pre-
serving and enhancing the welfare of people to
whom one is close”; Smith & Schwartz, 1997,
p. 86). Thus, it appears that Schwartz’s notion
of self-transcendence has a great deal of resem-
blance to Maslow’s notion (although the two are
not identical). For our purposes here, the most
important issue is to note that the construct of
motivational self-transcendence provides a
bridge between the cross-cultural values litera-
ture and a major theory of motivation.
Another point of connection involves a dif-
ferent construct in the cross-cultural literature:
individualism– collectivism. It was mentioned
earlier that there is a certain potential for self-
aggrandizement implicit within the construct of
self-actualization that is not present within the
construct of self-transcendence. This tension
parallels a dimension of cultural and individual
worldview difference, a dimension known as
individualism– collectivism (Kagitc¸ibasi, 1997;
Triandis, 1995) or relation to group (Koltko-
Rivera, 2004). This bipolar dimension reflects
an individual’s or a culture’s preference con-
cerning situations in which there is a conflict of
agenda between what the individual wants and
what the individual’s reference group requires
(e.g., I wish to be a poet or a theorist, but my
family wishes me to be a lawyer or a plumber).
Those who position themselves at the individu-
alism pole take the view that the individual’s
agenda should prevail, whereas those who po-
sition themselves at the collectivist pole take the
view that the reference group’s agenda takes
priority. This dimension appears robustly across
cultures (Hofstede, 1984; Schwartz, 1992) and
has been considered crucial to an understanding
of cultural differences (Triandis, 1995, 1996).
The incorporation of the self-transcendence
construct within Maslow’s motivational theory
may allow us to more clearly conceptualize at
least some of the motivational issues underlying
the individualism– collectivism polarity.
Thus, including self-transcendence as a stage
of Maslow’s needs hierarchy allows us to make
a firmer connection between mainstream per-
sonality theory and the traditional psychologies
of the world and may permit us to more fully
understand a crucial dimension of cross-cultural
difference. This effort cannot but help to make
for more culturally informed theories of the
person and of society.
It is time to change the textbook accounts of
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Inclusion of self-
transcendence at the top of the needs hierarchy
is a more accurate reflection of Maslow’s the-
ory, but there are more benefits to be gained
from this rectification of theory than historical
accuracy alone. The construct of self-transcen-
dence as a motivational status provides a means
to a deeper understanding of other important
constructs and builds bridges between bodies of
theory that are currently isolated. Incorporating
self-transcendence into Maslow’s theory can
help psychology develop a better grasp of how
different people and cultures construe the mean-
ing of life. Considering the construct of self-
transcendence can help us better understand the
motivational underpinnings of both altruism
and religious violence, as well as human wis-
dom. This construct can allow us to more firmly
connect the psychology of religion and spiritu-
ality with the mainstream of theory in person-
ality and social psychology. The construct al-
lows us to more clearly relate mainstream psy-
chological theory to the traditional psychologies
of the world and may ultimately help us to build
a more culturally informed psychology. In sum-
mary, incorporating self-transcendence into
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs gives us a theo-
retical tool with which to pursue a more com-
prehensive and accurate understanding of hu-
man personality and behavior.
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Accepted December 12, 2005
... Contemporary psychology considers ST a developmental marker associated with the highest psychospiritual growth and maturity (Garcia-Romeu et al., Garcia-Romeu et al. 2015) and an indicator of striving for broader fulfilment of human potential (Koltko-Rivera, Koltko-Rivera 2006). However, despite the significance of ST for human development, its aspects in contemporary society are mostly neglected (Joas, Joas 2015), and self-actualisation is recognised as the highest human goal (Koltko-Rivera, Koltko-Rivera 2006). ...
... Contemporary psychology considers ST a developmental marker associated with the highest psychospiritual growth and maturity (Garcia-Romeu et al., Garcia-Romeu et al. 2015) and an indicator of striving for broader fulfilment of human potential (Koltko-Rivera, Koltko-Rivera 2006). However, despite the significance of ST for human development, its aspects in contemporary society are mostly neglected (Joas, Joas 2015), and self-actualisation is recognised as the highest human goal (Koltko-Rivera, Koltko-Rivera 2006). In contrast, religion (in particular several Christian traditions) and positive psychology are two fields where ST is recognised as an ultimate goal of human development. ...
... According to recent studies, humans are increasingly seeking escape from the understanding of human existence and behaviour reduced to a biological perspective (Lacatus, 2020) and strive for broader fulfilment of human potential. However, despite the significance of ST for human development, its aspects in contemporary society are mostly neglected (Dein, 2020;Joas, 2015;King & Napa, 1998;Kinnaman & Lyons, 2007), and self-actualisation is recognised as the highest human goal (Koltko-Rivera, 2006). In contrast, religion (in particular several Christian traditions) and positive psychology are two fields where ST is acknowledged as an ultimate goal of human development. ...
... According to a revised Maslow's pyramid of needs (Koltko-Rivera, 2006), transcendence refers to the separation between the notion of 'self' as an independent entity and an acceptance of linkage between the self and entities beyond the self. It is an extension of the self to other individuals, the natural world, and the future (Lifton, 1973;Yaden et al., 2017). ...
... Maslow's theory states that when basic human needs at the lower level are fulfilled, people will desire to achieve the higher needs and goals in life (Kunc, 1992). Self-transcendence is the highest form of human goal-setting (Koltko-Rivera, 2006). Furthermore, the disposal or donation of material possessions as typical practices of living a minimalist lifestyle could trigger altruistic feelings (Kang et al., 2021). ...
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In the 1987 film 'Wall Street', apart from telling the world that "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.", Gordon Gekko, portrayed by Michael Douglas, notably remarked, "I create nothing. I own." As a result, the last part of the millennium was given to excess and the never-ending pursuit of wealth and material possessions. However, recent years have seen an alternate mindset take shape. From the 'KonMari' method to Dorothy Breininger's 'five-point scale', we are now being urged to discard, declutter, and refrain from purchasing. But there are questions about why such a 'minimalist' lifestyle resonates with so many consumers worldwide. Building upon self-determination theory, the objective of the current research is to reveal the motivational goal (what), intrinsic (why) and extrinsic (when) motives that underlie minimalistic consumption. Our study examines the relationship between minimalism and perceived transcendence, along with the mediating and moderating roles of moral identity and descriptive norms, respectively. Findings from a cross-sectional sample of 529 shoppers show that minimalistic value enables consumers to fulfill their aspiration for transcendence, and that moral identity and descriptive norms explain why and when, respectively, consumers are motivated to reach this aspiration. Our study signifies the importance of cultivating the value of minimalism that helps navigate human well-being since its development provides us with a better understanding of our self-awareness as a membership in a universal unity of being, thereby expanding moral identity from self to all. We also provide theoretical and practical implications for consumers, marketers, and policymakers and shed light on further research in this emerging research domain. "It is a preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly"-Bertrand Russell.
... The development process, however, transcends the problem of Becoming (growth towards becoming a self-actualizing person) to grow towards self-transcendence (defined as transcending one's ego, accepting the natural world, and moving beyond 'us' vs. 'them' dichotomies) (Maslow, 1971). Self-transcendence, the sixth level in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, was only revealed in his later work (Koltko-Rivera, 2006). At the terminal level, finding meaning may be described as the need for self-transcendence. ...
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In view of the impact of philosophies of adult learning on leadership development practices, this article evaluates the humanistic philosophy of adult learning as tacit philosophy of a leadership development program. This research contributes to the discourse on leadership development by introducing adult learning philosophies as multidisciplinary insights in leadership development. It also explores the leadership development utility of the humanistic philosophy of adult learning by synthesizing its taxonomy from the work of Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, and Malcolm Knowles. This taxonomy classifies the philosophy in motivational drivers, learning-fostering vs. learning discouraging forces, pro-learning attributes (e.g., developing knowledge of the actual and ideal self), prolearning conditions (e.g., self-directed learning), experiential learning and output evaluation. The taxonomy is used to evaluate the leadership development utility of the humanistic philosophy of adult learning by: (a) Evaluating the literature on empirical support for this philosophy; (b) Comparing its scope against that of a leadership development program; and (c) Evaluating its potential as a remedy for the failure of leadership development programs. Finally, the summary discusses the theoretical and practical implications of the evaluations. It proposes complementary streams of future research to deepen the evaluation of the humanistic philosophy of adult learning and to evaluate the leadership development utility of other philosophies of adult learning.
... Typically, this is the outcome of overreliance on Maslow's early writings on SA without adequate consideration of his later theorizing on the social interactionist aspects of SA and selftranscendence (Koltko-Rivera, 2006)-as well as on secondary sources and uncritical repetition of evaluations of SA that are based on insufficient reading and/or misinterpretation of original writings on the subject (Bland & DeRobertis, 2020a, 2020bBrennan & Piechowski, 1991;Daniels, 1988;Winston, 2018). ...
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Following an overview of Maslow's theorizing on self-actualization (SA), this chapter surveys subsequent expansions of SA via incorporation of existential, transpersonal, and constructivist/postmodern theorizing. Today, SA has matured to explore cultural variations as well as co-actualization, an emerging construct in which SA is promoted and cultivated both by and in relationships. In addition, empirical research on and critiques of SA and co-actualization are reviewed, and their contemporary relevance is discussed. Throughout the chapter, misinformation about SA that commonly appears in textbooks and the professional literature is fact checked.
... He also emphasizes the significance of other basic problems about needs and desires, such as "the relation between appetites, desires, needs and what is 'good' for the organism", and "the redefinition of motivational concepts, i.e., drive, desire, wish, need, goal" (Maslow 1943). The later version of Maslow's hierarchy of needs places "self-transcendence" as a motivational step beyond self-actualization (Maslow 1969), which has brought forward important advancements in psychological theory and research (Koltko-Rivera 2006). ...
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Desire is an important philosophical topic that deeply impacts everyday life. Philosophical practice is an emerging trend that uses philosophical theories and methods as a guide to living a eu‐ daimonic life. In this paper, we define desire philosophically and compare different theories of desire in specific Eastern and Western traditions. Based on the Lacanian conceptual–terminological triad of “Need‐Demand‐Desire”, the research of desire is further divided into three dimensions, namely, the subject of desire, the object of desire, and the desire itself. The concept of desire is then an‐ alyzed from this triad and these three dimensions through different philosophical theories. This paper selects Buddhism as the representative of Eastern tradition, and Stoicism as the representative of the West, paying special attention to Stoicism’s “spiritual exercises” following Pierre Hadot. By exploring and comparing the Buddhist paths to liberation from suffering (i.e., the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path) and the two theoretical pillars in Stoicism (i.e., the notions of “living according to nature” and “the dichotomy of control”), practical guidance is then provided for un‐ derstanding and regulating desire in times of crisis. This understanding and regulation of desire constitutes a philosophical therapy for today’s troubles, particularly those caused by excessive or irrational desires.
... Ngoài ra, động lực để đáp ứng những nhu cầu đó sẽ trở nên mạnh mẽ hơn trong thời gian chúng bị từ chối lâu hơn. Maslow (1970) xác định nhu cầu nhận thức (cognitive needs) và thẩm mỹ (aesthetic needs) là nhu cầu phát triển khác chủ yếu hơn là tự khẳng định; ngoài ra còn có một trạng thái động lực cao hơn, siêu việt (transcendence needs) (Koltko-Rivera, 2006). ...
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Một trong những yêu cầu đối với “nền giáo dục xuất sắc” đã xác định các chuẩn mực của thời đại mới và khuôn mẫu của người học hiện đại là vun đắp mối quan hệ với các tổ chức khác trên toàn thế giới thông qua nghiên cứu khoa học. Nghiên cứu khoa học là một quá trình có hệ thống áp dụng các phương pháp khoa học để giải quyết các vấn đề quan trọng, thỏa mãn mong muốn của con người. Tuy nhiên, việc nghiên cứu khoa học ở đối tượng học viên sau đại học vẫn đang còn nhiều hạn chế, đa phần do thiếu động lực nghiên cứu. Do đó, thông qua nghiên cứu định tính, thảo luận nhóm 11 học viên sau đại học, nghiên cứu này sẽ khám phá các động lực nghiên cứu khoa học của học viên sau đại học tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. Kết quả chỉ ra rằng có sáu yếu tố sẽ là động lực để thúc đẩy học viên sau đại học thực hiện nghiên cứu khoa học. Từ đó, nghiên cứu cũng đề xuất một số giải pháp cho nhà trường nhằm nâng cao sự nghiên cứu khoa học của học viên sau đại học.
The purpose of this research is to investigate the current validity of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory (HNT). Based on social role theory, Mannheim’s theory of generations and income inequality approach and in the light of the purpose, this research is conducted with MMR (mixed-methods research) which has two sub-studies. In the first study, 240 randomly chosen people were asked to compare the satisfaction priority of needs pairwise. The data were examined according to different demographic groups that participated in the study. Results showed that Maslow’s HNT depends on gender, age, and income level. The second study was conducted to deeply understand why this variety in the hierarchy occurs. Thus, we interviewed 12 people, chosen with purposive sampling, of different age, gender, and income level of the aforementioned sample. In the discussion part, the results of both sub-studies were interpreted
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Pandemi Covid-19 membuat berbagai aspek mengalami perubahan kehidupan, termasuk kegiatan belajar mengajar dalam sistem pendidikan. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui motivasi self transedence MA Al-Ikhlas Addary DDI Takkalasi di masa pandemi Covid-19. Penelitian ini menggunakan penelitian kualitatif yang bersifat deskripsi. Teknnik yang digunakan dalam pengumpulan data adalah wawancara dan observasi di MA Al-Ikhlas Addary DDI Takkalasi. Penelitian ini menggunakan teori hierarki kebutuhan Maslow (Hierarchy of Need) dalam teori tersebut ada beberapa kebutuhan untuk memotivasi kinerja pendidik. Teori penelitian ini mengetahui ketercapaian kebutuhan spiritual pendidik MA Al-Ikhlas Addary DDI Takkalasi dan teori hirarki tercapai atau terpenuhi di lembaga sehingga dapat meningkatkan motivasi kerja tenaga pendidik. Hasil penelitian di MA Al-Ikhlas Addary DDI Takkalasi bahwa peran lembaga dalam meningkatkan motivasi menurut teori Abraham Maslow sebagian besar kebutuhan terpenuhi seperti kebutuhan fisiologi walaupun ada kekurangan. Beberapa hal itu menyebabkan semangat dari pendidik untuk terus mengerjakan amal jariyah. mengajar dengan senang hati dan ikhlas dalam menyampaikan pengetahuan yang sangat penting mewujudkan self-transcendence.
Review of book, P. Scott Richards and Allen E. Bergin (Au.) Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000, 518 pp., ISBN 1-557-98624-X. Reviewed by Timothy B. Smith.
Shamans' communities grant them privileged status to attend to those groups' psychological and spiritual needs. Shamans claim to modify their attentional states and engage in activities that enable them to access information not ordinarily attainable by members of the social group that has granted them shamanic status. Western perspectives on shamanism have changed and clashed over the centuries; this address presents points and counterpoints regarding what might be termed the demonic model, the charlatan model, the schizophrenia model, the soul flight model, the degenerative and crude technology model, and the deconstructionist model. Western interpretations of shamanism often reveal more about the observer than they do about the observed; in addressing this challenge, the study of shamanism could make contributions to cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, psychological therapy, and ecological psychology.
Scientific interest in religious spirituality and mental health has increased dramatically. However, many researchers have tended to ignore the historic incompatibility between spirituality and traditional science. A review of the spirituality research suggests that important themes of this historic incompatibility persist in contemporary theories of spirituality. Yet, many spirituality researchers have proceeded as if this incompatibility does not exist. Indeed, there is evidence that spiritual conceptions have been altered to fit the requirements of science. No alteration would seem necessary if scientific method were a neutral tool of investigation that did not affect the conceptions themselves. However, if method has philosophical commitments, and if these commitments are incompatible with the conceptual foundations of spirituality, then spirituality researchers may be undermining their own conceptions in science. We outline the philosophical commitments of traditional scientific methods and the philosophical commitments of contemporary conceptions of spirituality to begin a conversation about this possibility.