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need

[nēd]
(psychology)
An acquired or physiological lack or deficit within the individual.

need(s)

  1. the basic requirements necessary to sustain human life. MASLOW (1954) suggested a hierarchy of needs from the basic physiological needs for food, safety and shelter, to psychological needs of belonging, approval, love, and finally the need for SELF-ACTUALIZATION. Only the physiological needs are essential for sustaining life and, according to Maslow, must be fulfilled before higher needs can be met. Some sociologists have argued that the existence of human needs indicates that universal FUNCTIONAL PREREQUISITES for the survival of any society can be identified.
  2. any socially acquired individual ‘drive’ (personality need), e.g. ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION.
  3. a distinction may also be drawn between basic needs and felt needs. In ECONOMICS, the term wants is used to refer both to psychological and social ‘felt needs’ and also to the goods which stimulate these.
While many sociologists have registered their dissatisfaction with NEEDS 1 , arguing that human needs are not universal but socially formed, conceptions of human needs have not been confined to psychologists or functionalist sociologists. Frankfurt School neo-Marxist sociologists (e.g. MARCUSE) refer to the ‘false needs’ created by capitalist societies, thus implying human ‘needs’. Conceptions of ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ POVERTY also depend on conceptions of physiological and social needs. see also BASIC HUMAN NEEDS.
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