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Ramsay's Six Universal Psychological Needs


Explanations > Needs > Ramsay's Six Universal Psychological Needs

Physical survival | Sexual needs | Security | Love and relatedness | Esteem and identity | Self-realization |  So what?



Maureen Ramsay derived a list of universal needs classifications through studying a range of other authors and drawing on clinical studies to prove that each factor is indeed a fundamental need. There is a clear similarity with Maslow's Hierarchy here, which makes the differences all the more interesting.

Physical survival

The most basic need, for survival, is preservation of the healthy and functioning body. Its purpose is first to stay alive in the short term, avoiding hazard and recovering from illness. It also requires food and water.

Sexual needs

When the body is secure, the fundamental Darwinian purpose of reproducing the genes may be attended to. This means finding a mate and mating. It makes sense for survival of the species that this is highly pleasurable and is sought above many other needs.


Over the longer term, things such as safety, shelter and stores of food help with extended survival, guaranteeing with a good probability that the person will live a long and secure life.

Love and relatedness

When we are secure, we seek to connect with others and form deepening relationship, including that close affection we call love.  Friendship means people will help you when you are in need, on the understanding that you would do the same for them. We also want to belong to social groups, where we give up some freedom as we comply with group rules in return for our connection and the benefits of group living.

Esteem and identity

Beyond connecting with others, we want them to like us. Esteem makes us feel better as other praise us and promote us to a higher social status. As we bond into the group and are acknowledged, we develop our sense of identity in a social way, connecting our 'self' with the identity of the group.


Self-realization is an interesting variant on self-actualization, where the person comes to know themself as much as achieving their potential. In either case, it can be considered a form of transcendence.

So what?

Does this make more sense to you than other needs models? Compare and contrast them and see which fits best to your usage, then adopt it as a primary lens through which you can observe the world.

See also

Maslow's Hierarchy

Ramsay, M. (1992). Human Needs and the Market. Aldershot: Avebury.


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