What Is a Need?

A need is an element of a person’s life that compels actions for its satisfaction. Needs are distinguished from wants as the former are those requirements that challenge a person’s survival if not satisfied, while the latter are merely cravings or desires. This distinction forms a core topic of study in the fields of philosophy, biology, psychology, sociology, economics, business and marketing.

Abraham Maslow published his Hierarchy of Needs in 1943 in the Psychological Review, and it has become one of the most influential psychological theories of human motivation. The theory states that an individual’s basic needs include physiological and safety needs, such as hunger and thirst. The hierarchy also includes psychological needs, such as affiliation and belongingness. In addition, it includes esteem and self-actualization needs, such as the desire for achievement and recognition. Maslow’s theory is based on the concept of a need hierarchy, which is the idea that an individual’s needs must be fulfilled in order to achieve higher levels of personal success and well-being.

The hierarchy of needs is also considered to be adaptive, which means that a person’s priorities for fulfilling their needs may change from moment to moment depending on the immediate contextual cues. For example, a person might prioritize affiliation needs over mating needs, but this priority may be temporarily reversed when the person encounters a particularly appealing mating opportunity. This flexibility is an important insight that is not always reflected in the standard hierarchy of needs.

Another important insight regarding the hierarchy of needs is that humans need a sense of control over their lives. According to this theory, if a person feels that they do not have enough control over their environment or situation, they will feel frustrated and unhappy. As a result, the level of their needs will increase, and they will seek out more ways to satisfy them. In some cases, this can lead to a vicious cycle in which an individual will continually seek to satisfy their needs.

In the context of a relationship, people often talk about the needs that they and their partner share. These needs may be related to money, affection or intimacy. The process of identifying these needs can be complicated, and it is important to understand that there are many different kinds of relationships and that each has its own unique set of needs.

Using the word need requires special attention to grammar rules. The indefinite articles a and an should be used only with singular countable nouns, such as “car” or “package.” A/an can also be used to refer to non-countable nouns, such as “love” or “rain,” but it is not appropriate for use with abstract concepts. Instead, these nouns should be described by other words, such as some, a bottle, a glass or a bag. This will make it easier for the listener to understand your meaning. In addition, the word need is always used with a noun or pronoun. For example, you would say “a man needs a job” but “a woman wants a dress.” This will prevent the reader from becoming confused about your meaning.