Physiological Needs – Concept, examples and other needs

We explain what physiological needs are, their biological basis and examples. In addition, other needs of the Maslow pyramid.

physiological needs
Physiological needs must be satisfied first, to be taken care of after the others.

What are physiological needs?

Physiological needs are those that are related to individual survival, from a biological point of view or corporal, that is, of those whose satisfaction guarantees us to continue living.

With that name, the American psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) baptized the most elemental and basic of the hierarchical levels of human needs, according to the pyramid model that he proposed in his “Theory on human motivations” of 1943: the famous “Pyramid of Maslow ”.

Like the rest of the animals, human beings are endowed with a complex bodily reality, sustained on the basis of the consumption of organic matter for its oxidation and energy synthesis (what we call respiration).

All this process supposes a minimum set of corporal and metabolic needs to fulfill, if we want to continue living. These basic, primary or fundamental needs were called in Maslow’s model as physiological or primary needs, and they were placed on the first rung of the famous pyramid.

That is to say that the primary needs are the first to be satisfied, are not preceded by any other type of condition. Therefore, when they are not satisfied, it is impossible to satisfy other needs of the upper rungs of the pyramid.

It is for this reason that the situation of vulnerability that generates the impossibility of satisfying these needs on a continuous basis is, both at the individual level and at the community level, an alarming situation.

Some examples of physiological needs are as follows:

  • The breathing, basic metabolic mechanism from which we obtain vital energy.
  • feeding, since from it we obtain organic matter to be able to breathe and nourish ourselves.
  • Water intake, since without hydrating our organism, we will suffer from diseases and eventually death.
  • The dream, and above all a certain minimum amount of hours of sleep, since without these periods of rest, our body suffers, weakens and functions in irregular ways.

Other needs according to Maslow’s Pyramid

The other levels of the famous Maslow Pyramid are made up of needs of another nature, such as:

  • Security needs, the second rung of the pyramid, which has to do with the defense of the individual against vital threats: diseases, predators, weather elements, etc.
  • Membership needs, the third rung of the pyramid, contemplates the needs derived from our gregarious life, that is, as a tribe: our need to belong, to establish lasting social and emotional ties.
  • Appreciation or esteem needs, the fourth rung of the pyramid, above social needs, and related to self-esteem, personal value, reputation or, also, esteem for others.
  • Self-actualization needs, the highest point of the pyramid, reserved for the needs related to the vital purpose, that is, to the role that a person fulfills in the world, to their personal goals or projects, etc.