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HUMANISTIC THEORIES OFPERSONALITYHumanistic psychologyrose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to psychoanalytic theory andbehaviorism; this approach emphasizes anindividual’sinherent drive towards self-actualization and creativity.Often called the“thirdforce”in psychology, humanism wasa reaction to both the pessimistic determinism ofpsychoanalysis, with its emphasis on psychologicaldisturbance, and to thebehaviorists’view of humanspassively reacting to the environment.Two of the leading humanistic theorists who madeadvancements in the field of personality psychology wereAbraham MaslowandCarl Rogers.
MASLOW’S HUMANISTIC THEORYOF PERSONALITYItstates that people achieve their full potential by moving from basic needs to self-actualization.Abraham Maslow approached the study of personality by focusing on subjectiveexperiences, free will, and the innate drive towardself-actualization.Maslow expanded the field of humanistic psychology to include an explanation ofhow human needs change throughout anindividual’slifespan, and how these needsinfluence the development of personality.Maslow’shierarchy of needs ranks human needs from the most basic physical needsto the most advanced needs of self-actualization. A person must acquire and mastereach level of need before proceeding to the next need.Maslow studied the personalities of self-actualizers and found they had many thingsincommon;hebelievedself-actualizersindicateacoherentpersonalitysyndromeand represent optimal psychological health and functioning.Maslow’sideas have been criticized for their lack of scientific rigor, as well as theirWestern cultural bias.
KEY TERMSTranscendence:superiorexcellence;supereminence.Self-actualization: according to humanistictheory, the realizing ofone’sfull potential; caninclude creative expression, quest for spiritualenlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, or thedesire to give to society.
Maslow studied the personalities of people whohe considered to be healthy, creative, andproductive, including Albert Einstein, EleanorRoosevelt,Thomas

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