, Volume 54, Issue 6, pp 520–523 | Cite as

Self-Actualization, Human Nature, and Global Social Problems

I. Foundations
  • Douglas T. Kenrick
Symposium: Revisiting Maslow: Human Needs in the 21st Century


Abraham Maslow’s classic theory of motivation was in some ways a precursor to modern evolutionary approaches to human behavior, in that he posited multiple independent and universal motivational systems. Maslow’s hierarchical model, often conceptualized as a pyramid of motives, has recently been renovated to fit with the last half century of research and theory at the interface of evolutionary biology and the social sciences. Adopting a modern evolutionary life history approach to human motivation could be useful to understand important social problems.


Pyramid of motives Maslow Motivation Fundamental motives Social problems Overpopulation 

Further Reading

  1. Barrett, H. C., & Kurzban, R. 2006. Modularity in cognition: Framing the debate. Psychological Review, 113, 628–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  4. Kenrick, D. T., & Gomez-Jacinto, L. 2014. Economics, sex, and the emergence of society: A dynamic life history model of cultural variation. In M. J. Gelfand, C. Y. Chiu, & Y. Y. Hong (Eds.), Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 3 (pp. 78–123). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Kenrick, D. T., & Griskevicius, V. 2013. The rational animal: How evolution made us smarter than we think. New York:Basic Books.Google Scholar
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  7. Krems, J. A., Kenrick, D. T., & Neel, R. 2017. Individual perceptions of self-actualization: What functional motives are linked to fulfilling one’s potential? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43 (9): 1337–1352.Google Scholar
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  11. Sng, O., Neuberg, S. L., Varnum, M. E. W., & Kenrick, D. T. 2017. The crowded life is a slow life: Population density and life history strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 112, 736–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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