Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs

Categories: HumanPsychology


This paper will explain Maslow’s triangle and its application to interpersonal communications. An explanation will be given how the interpersonal communications, based off of Maslow’s triangle, can be used as an interview and interrogation tool. Examples will be provided of a personal experience that directly relates to the vertical progression through Maslow’s triangle.

When Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Maslow’s triangle) is understood, it is easier to understand another person and have better more effective interpersonal communication.

Maslow’s triangle is a set of needs that must be met and people are self-motivated to fulfil the needs. Maslow’s triangle can be used during interrogation and interview as a means to build trust a rapport.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be divided into two parts, basic needs and growth needs (McLeod, 2014). To elevate to a higher need, the needs at the current level must be satisfied. The basic needs are believed to be self-motivating and the longer they go unmet the greater the desire for them becomes.

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For instance the longer one goes without sleep then the more tired they become and soon the body will breakdown. The bottom of the triangle is physiological needs. These are the most basic needs for survival such as food, water, breathing, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. The next level is safety needs which consists of protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, and freedom from fear.

Love and belongingness needs is the third rung and is comprised of friendship, intimacy, affection and love, from work group, family, friends, and romantic relationships.

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The final basic need is esteem needs which includes achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, and respect from others. The top of the triangle, and the growth need, is self-actualization needs, made up of realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, and seeking personal growth and peak experiences. Maslow believed that people have an inborn desire to be self-actualized (Cherry, n.d.). Self-actualization is when a person reaches their full potential.

Understanding human needs can be a used persuade people as they are already self-motivated to fulfil their needs. This can be used by both preventing the obtainment of a current need or by providing a current need. In the later one can build rapport with the subject by providing the needs. This can further lead into security or love and belongingness where you as an interrogator or interviewer can be the stability or friendship need that is missing. By filling in the need you can passively be purvey to more information or even take a more aggressive quid pro quo stance. Furthermore you may even give an ultimatum that if the information you seek is not provided then the fulfilled need will be taken back leaving a deficiency.

As this relates to my personal experiences and my progression through the hierarchy of needs, I am no different than anyone else and I must have fulfillment of one level before ascending to the next. I have been fortunate enough that air and water have always been present in my life. Sleep is sometimes lacking and can affect my health but on the whole a sufficient amount of sleep is met. Being that the lowest level needs have been generally fulfilled the next level is considered. Safety needs have generally been provided given that safety of employment was sufficient. While employed in the active duty military I had job security providing money that provided safety in resources. Safety in employment allowed the lower level item such as food to always be fulfilled as well as safety of property a need of the second tier.

Employment allowed advancement into both the third and fourth levels as I was part of a family both in occupation and able to provide for one at home. I also had friendship within the employment and much respect both from self and others as well as a sense of achievement. This had much to do with the type of occupation being what it was (military). This all fed into a greater self-esteem and then into the top tier of the triangle, growth and self-actualization. The other side to this is that when I was no longer in the active duty military and I lost the fulfilment of safety of employment I much of the fulfilment of other needs.

I lost the steady monetary income and in direct correlation I lost safety of property as I was never sure if I would be able to make my house payment. Being able to provide for my family was always a question and this greatly reduced my self-respect and respect from family and relationship within the family dynamics. I was not sure if I would be able to always meet to need of food. My focus was fulfilling that unmet need, the need for safety of employment. At no time after I had a deficiency in level two of the triangle was I ever considering my self-actualization or full potential let alone even confidence or achievement from the level below that.

When Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is understood, it is easier to understand another person and have better more effective interpersonal communication. The needs laid out in Maslow’s triangle can be used during interrogation and interview. They can be used as a means to build trust a rapport and or persuasion and coercion.


  1. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikimedia,org:’s_hierarchy_of_needs.svg
  2. Cherry, K. (n.d.). Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from About Education:
  3. McLeod, S. (2014). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from Simply Psychology:
  4. Tay, L., & Diener, E. (2011). Maslow’s Hierarchy. Retrieved from Changing Minds:

Cite this page

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. (2016, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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