Humanistic theory | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

Humanistic theory | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

All right. Let’s talk about another
theory of personality called the humanistic theory. But before I begin, I have
to give you a little caveat. Now, all these
theories of personality are not mutually exclusive. One isn’t more dominant
over the other. One isn’t better than the other. All these theories are
just different ways to look at how personality
develops in people. And they’ve all come
from different branches, you can say, of
psychology, which is why they’re from perspectives
of different psychologists or theorists. OK. So the humanistic theory says
that individuals have free will and that we can actively
develop ourselves to our highest potential and reach
self-actualization. So “free will” is
an important word. And the term
“self-actualization” is also another defining
word in this theory. So the primary difference
between Freud’s psychoanalytic
theory and humanism is that Freud’s theory
was deterministic. So what I mean by that is that
his theory says our behavior is determined by our
unconscious desires. His theory also
focuses on individuals who have these mental
conflicts and not all people. Now, the humanistic
theory focuses on the conscious as
opposed to the unconscious. And it also says that
people are inherently good, and that we are
self-motivated to improve. And we want to always
improve because we want to reach
self-actualization. Now, the first major theorist of
this theory was Abraham Maslow. And he formed the
hierarchy of needs, which we can depict
using a pyramid. So all of our needs are
built upon each other in this pyramid. He says that we must first
fulfill our physiological needs that form the base
of the pyramid, and then we can work our way up. So after our physiological needs
are met, our need for safety must be fulfilled, and then
love, and then self-esteem. And lastly,
self-actualization can be met. Now, that sounds
easy enough, right? We can all reach
self-actualization. Well, what are some
characteristics of self-actualizing people? Well, they must be
self-aware, obviously. They are caring. They’re wise. And their interests
are problem-centered. They focus their
energies on a task that’s the mission
of their life. And they have a higher purpose
that’s focused on larger causes and less about the
basic aspects of life. So they don’t focus on
the basic aspects of life. They’re always trying to
strive and think broader and for larger causes. Well, I hate to be the
Debbie Downer here, but self-actualization
is rarely achieved. Maslow believed that
only 1% of people ever reach self-actualization. The average person
seeks to self-actualize, but may not ever
get to that point. Jeez. Well, it looks like
we all have something to work harder towards, huh? So are you going to
be the Martin Luther King or the Mahatma Gandhi
or Mother Teresa of our time? Pretty sure they all
reached self-actualization. OK. Let’s talk about the second
major theorist of this theory. His name is Carl Rogers. Carl Rogers used Maslow’s
idea and the qualities he described, and says that
they are nurtured early in life. He said that self-actualization
is a constant growth process that is nurtured in
a growth-promoting climate. So that’s another
very important word, “growth-promoting climate.” And this climate, in
order for this climate to help someone reach
self-actualization, there’s two conditions
that need to be met. And the first is that
growth is nurtured by when an individual is being genuine. So one has to be open and
revealing about themselves. They have to be genuine
and true to who they are. And the second condition
that needs to be met is that growth is nurtured
through acceptance, and acceptance from others. So one must receive
acceptance and receive an unconditional positive
regard from others. So what does that mean? For example, a parent may
get upset at their child and punish them for
doing something wrong. But they’re going to
still love their child and regard their child without
any conditions, no matter what. So this allows us
to be open and learn without fearing others are going
to look at us differently if we do something wrong. And genuine relationships
with others and acceptance is what allows us to live up
to the ideals of our true, real self, versus
this ideal self that is bounded by
conditions that people rarely can live up to. And both Maslow and Rogers
said a central feature of our personality
is self-concept. And that’s achieved when we
bring genuineness acceptance together and achieve this
growth-promoting climate. So as individuals,
we tend to act and perceive the
world positively. And we try to answer
the question, who am I? And that is what the
humanistic theory talks about.


  1. Post
    vpcreations n

    I am loving your videos. Because right now I am taking Psyc. 101 in college and want to know the whole mixed up and confusing theories that everyone had. There are so many opinions. Only VEDAS reveals the truth.

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    amar Sarkaria

    This theory is flawed. There is something beyond looking for acceptance. That self empowerment and doing it without the fear of what others think

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    Magnificent TKoon

    I'm in my 2nd yr of BSC Hon. Psych degree and currently writing a paper on critically analysing 'driving Ms. Daisy' from a humanistic (person-centred) perspective. And this video was very helpful. 😉👍🏾

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    Kanaga Manikandan

    It's very clean and clear….. more informative on Humanistic Psychology…..If this video is famous than other videos, surely it will fulfill the viewers expectation in learning humanistic psychology

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    charles kidney

    Absolutely no free will.
    People are not good (most) people are just not that bad. Being good takes effort which most people don't do. Also most suffering caused by nature. The rest is stupidity ours or someone else's. It's rare though it happens but the chances of you meeting an axe murderer pretty slim, chances of a disease or a stupid discission or stupid misdiagnose ruining your life pretty high.

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    charles kidney

    Maslow got here, by studying the most successful people of his time and found out how they were able to get there.

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    charles kidney

    Also none of this matters. You will be happy or sad, entirely down to your circumstances. We are all nothing but this and genetics. Understanding how we are – won't change us. It's like understanding how Earth quakes happen. You still can't do anything about it

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    Abhishek Meel 16BIT0021


    Humanisitic Theory:

    According to major humanists like Carl Rogers and Fredrick Perls, people were born knowing how to be healthy and were naturally drawn towards making healthy choices. These healthy natural impulses were thwarted by parents, teachers, religious leaders and other authorities acting on a variety of unhealthy (dysfunctional) culturally endorsed convictions, or (more sadly) from abusive motives. The job of the therapist was to help their clients to overcome the negative influences of authority and society or abusers and get back to making their own healthy choices which would support their growth. With loving care and support, people would be able to "fix themselves".The humanist vision of what healthy growth might look like is a tolerant and essentially liberal one. The direction of growth should be driven from the inside (rather than according to society's needs) so that every human being is able (if they are lucky and do the necessary work) to become all they were born to be; to fully explore their inborn interests, and to make a unique contribution to society. This theoretical pinnacle of self-expression is referred to as a "self-actualized" state.

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    Jose P. Montoya

    Huh, interesting how rare self-actualization is. Wonder if that points to a systemic failure to nurture humans in a growth promoting climate by telling them to compete with each other and maintain an 'excellent' minority. Wonder if that rarity of self-actualization has us stuck in a violent and inefficient human society. Wonder if there's anything we can do, khan academy, about it?

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    First Last

    I think thats bullshit to the max. People are born with and develop there own morals and goals, everyone is different. So how can you pin-point it to 1%? That makes no absolute sense at all if everyone is different. There is no actual way to determine if one man needs all those steps completed, or if he doesn't. Or, if he has made it to self actualization if he would focus on the same things as the next man that has as well. Very close minded.

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    Pablo Paul

    Theories of personality… What are you talking about? Is everyone trying to hijack the term humanism? Humanism is a greek metapysical philisophy about the beauty of the human soul that was revived by catholic theology… You should start with the origins of the idea so people know where the idea came from.

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