18 Examples of Physiological Needs (Maslow's Hierarchy) (2023) (2023)

18 Examples of Physiological Needs (Maslow's Hierarchy) (2023) (1)

Physiological needs are the basic needs in Maslow's hierarchy of needs. They relate to the basic things that humans need to survive.

Examples of physiological needs are air, water, food, shelter, reproduction, clothing, warmth, and sleep. Without these things, people cannot survive.

Perhaps the best example of an essential need is air. A man can't even live without air. So when someone is out of breath, there is literally nothing else that matters. Therefore, meeting these basic needs is of the utmost importance for every human being.

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Definition of physiological needs

18 Examples of Physiological Needs (Maslow's Hierarchy) (2023) (2)

According to Maslow, people have a hierarchy of needs. At the most basic level, humans have physiological needs that must be satisfied before anything else.

These needs include: air, food, drink, shelter, and sleep. Clothing, warmth, and reproduction are also included because they are essential for survival.

All of these examples fall into the category of what Maslow called:physiologicalneeds.

Although their meaning may seem obvious, psychologist Abraham Maslow presented them in a convenient and easy-to-use hierarchy that helps us visually conceptualize the building blocks of a happy and self-sufficient life.

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Examples of Physiological Needs

1. Luft

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One of the most basic requirements for human life is oxygen. Our bodies need oxygen to function properly and without it we would die quickly.

This makes air perhaps the most fundamental physiological need in Maslow's hierarchy.

Examples of cases where this could be violated are when detainees are deprived of fresh air for a few hours a day or when air pollution damages people's lungs.

While it may seem like a foregone conclusion that we will all have access to air, we doWorld Health OrganizationAn estimated 4.2 million people die each year from air pollution. So we not only have to worry about access to air, but also the quality of the air we breathe.

2. Essen

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Without food we would die. This makes feeding a basic physiological need. can take up2 dulcestarving, but malnutrition (eating poor quality food) can also cause disease and death.

Additionally, poor nutrition can prevent a child in a classroom from having the cognitive skills to learn to the best of their ability.

An estimate3.2 millionchildren die of malnutrition every year. In addition, malnourished children are sick an average of 160 days a year because they do not have food.

3. agua

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Humans can only existabout 3 dayswithout water, so it is a basic physiological need. Additionally, dehydration can lead to headaches and problems with cognitive function.

Many NGOs focus on providing access to clean water to the world's poorest. For example, NGOs like UNICEF are receiving donations to build wells in impoverished cities so that people don't have to transport water long distances every day.

Even in some areas of the developed world, accessible clean water is still lacking. For example, in Canada there are still 71 remote indigenous communities that live under evaporation rules, which means they must boil parasites in the water before drinking it.

4. Refugio

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Perhaps the evidence that something is a fundamental aspect of human existence is measuring its prevalence in societies across time and cultures. All humans eat, drink and breathe naturally. It is undeniable that these are basic human needs.

By comparison, almost every culture on the planet throughout human history has lived in some sort of sanctuary. Whether it is the various structures found in industrialized countries today, the caves of centuries past, or the thatched huts of Amazonian tribes, protection is among the top priorities of all people.

A person cannot survive without protection. Shelter protects us from the elements and from predators.

5. Clothes

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Clothing is essential to human prosperity. This is because our bodies are not well adapted to the climate in which we live.

For example, people who live near the equator tend to need less clothing than people who live further away. Because the closer you are to the equator, the higher the average temperature will be. However, you may need clothing to prevent sunburn.

On the other hand, people who live in cold climates generally need more clothing to keep warm. In fact, people living in the arctic regions of the world need to wear special clothing that protects them from cold and wind.

6. Warmth

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Heat is a physiological need that is often overlooked. Because, at least in developed countries, we assume that we will have access to heat.

However, many people in the world do not have this luxury. For example, in 2015, more than 4 million refugees were living in camps in Greece, Italy, and Turkey.

Many of these camps were not designed for long-term settlement and lacked adequate heating or insulation. This resulted in a number of deaths, particularly among the elderly and young children.

7. Sleep

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Sleep is a basic physiological need. This is because our bodies need time to rest and recover from the day's activities. Sleep also allows our brain to consolidate memories and process information.

Getting eight hours of sleep a night helps rest the body and gives the brain a chance to recover from the day's activities.

A good night's sleep can also help improve mood and focus. Also, sleep helps regulate hormones and metabolism. Too little sleep can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes.

8. Playback

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Sexual intercourse is a basic physiological human need. This is because sex is necessary for reproduction. Additionally, sexual intimacy provides physical and emotional satisfaction.

While humans have sex for pleasure, many animals, and even humans, don't.shouldso that society can proliferate. As a result, Maslow saw reproduction as a physiological necessity of humanity.

9. Elimination

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Elimination is the removal of waste products from the body. This is a basic physiological need as it helps keep the body clean and healthy. Excretion also helps prevent disease.

The main organs of elimination are the kidneys, which remove waste from the blood. The liver also plays a role in elimination by breaking down toxins. These toxins are then excreted in the feces and urine.

So we see that toilets are also provided for prisoners in prison and in solitary confinement. Without them, a basic need cannot be satisfied.

10. Homeostasis

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Homeostasis is the maintenance of a stable internal environment. This is a basic physiological need, as it helps the body to function properly. Homeostasis is regulated by the nervous and endocrine systems. Failure to maintain homeostasis can result in illness and disease.

People who cannot regulate their internal temperature go into shock and may die. For example, people suffering from hypothermia or heat exhaustion cannot maintain homeostasis and need medical help to survive.

11. Movement

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Movement is a basic physiological need. Our body needs to move to stay healthy. Exercise helps the heart and lungs work properly. It also helps maintain muscle tone and flexibility. Lack of exercise can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

People who are bedridden for long periods, such as the elderly and severely paralyzed, need regular exercise to prevent pressure sores. Because exercise helps keep skin healthy.

Maslow's Physiological Needs in Action

Below are some examples of how physiological needs are planned for in our society.

1. The school feeding plan

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When a student is hungry, it is difficult for him to study. Until the basic physiological need for food is satisfied, a student will not be able to devote full attention to learning. Instead, her mind will be busy gathering food.

Unfortunately, there are many hungry students in America. According to a recent USDA report, 12 million children in the United States are food insecure.

This has led nations such as the US and the UK to executenutrition plansin schools for disadvantaged children.

Although school feeding programs predate Maslow's theory of motivation, this is certainly an example of his hierarchy of needs being applied to education.

2. Hospitals

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Maslow's hierarchy of needs puts physical needs first. Physiological needs are the basis of life itself, if something is necessary to survive it is the hospital.

A hospital ensures the survival of a person at the most crucial moment of his life. Whether it is a car accident, a chronic illness or a contagious virus, the hospital is there to ensure the most important physiological need of all, breathing.

If the human body cannot breathe, then there is no physiology to satisfy. In fact, having good hospitals is a hallmark of a civilized society. One of the most basic duties of a government is to provide efficient hospitals for its citizens.

3. A booming textile industry

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If the size of an industry proves its importance, then the textile and clothing industry is among the most vital to people.

Just as all humans breathe, eat, drink, and seek shelter, so too do all humans wear clothing. Even people who live in the most remote parts of the world wear some type of clothing. There is even evidence that Neanderthals wore something resembling clothing 400,000 years ago.

It seems that Maslow's hierarchy of needs is correct in including clothing as a basic human need. It is essential for survival and just as important as food and shelter.

4. Online dating

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Maslow included reproduction in his category of physiological needs because the human species would not survive without it. Of course, the activities involved in the reproductive process also fall into this category by default.

A quick look at the site's activity shows that dating sites (and related content) are very popular. People spend a lot of time online searching for romantic partners or watching videos depicting reproductive acts.

5. Prepare for disasters (The Preppers Movement)

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A prepper is a person who prepares for a catastrophic event that will eliminate normal living conditions. The event could be a tornado or hurricane, or something as extreme as a world war or nuclear holocaust.

Preppers stock basic supplies like a first aid kit and enough food and water to last for weeks or months. Some may have bomb shelters, hazmat suits, means of generating electricity, and a variety of ready-to-grow seeds.

A prepper's top priority is to be ready to meet all the physiological needs necessary to survive. In fact, every item at the first level of Maslow's hierarchy is on a well-prepared preparer's list.

6. Use of social indices for social planning

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Social indices are objective measures of health and well-being. These concepts are measured to determine how a community, state, nation, or geographic region functions.

Specific data is collected on a variety of metrics, including the amount of food people have, daily income, the availability of clean drinking water, and access to healthcare, to name a few.

These indices are used by a large number of government agencies and charities around the world. Data is important when making decisions about where to allocate resources. If you compare the list of physiological needs with the list of data categories in these indices, you will see a significant overlap.

7. Government and Politics

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Politicians give many public speeches. Most of these speeches include statements dealing with the need for food, housing, and economic opportunity.

Politicians expect votes by promising to meet the basic needs of their voters. No one is going to vote for someone who says that helping people feel comfortable and making lots of friends will be their priorities.

The next steps in Maslow's hierarchy

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There are 5 levels in Maslow's hierarchy. Once the physiological needs are satisfied, we move on to the needs for security, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

  1. Psychological needs -These are the basic needs for survival, such as food, water, and shelter.
  2. security needsOnce physiological needs are met, people generally focus on safety and security. These include things like feeling protected from physical and emotional harm, having a stable job and income, and being in good health.
  3. Love and belonging (social needs)Once people feel safe and secure, they focus on building close relationships with others. This includes things like supportive friends and family, being part of a community or group, and feeling loved and accepted.
  4. needs recognitionOnce people are in close relationships, they begin to focus on esteem needs. This includes things like feeling respected and valued, feeling accomplished, and feeling good about yourself.
  5. Self realisationOnce all other needs are met, people can focus on self-actualization. This includes things like personal growth and development, becoming the best you can be, and realizing your full potential.


Satisfaction of physiological needs is at the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. These are the most elemental and basic needs that a person has. If any of these needs is not met, the person has great difficulty in dedicating himself to other things.

Career aspirations or long-term goals are simply put on hold until those basic needs are met. After that, people can move to the next level in Maslow's hierarchy.

We can see that these needs are manifested in our daily lives and on a global scale, in all countries and throughout history. Some of the world's largest industries are the result of people having these needs and trying to satisfy them.


Maslow, AH (1943). A theory of human motivation.Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-96.

Cieraad, I. 2006.At home: an anthropology of domestic space. Siracusa: University Press.

Coleman-Jensen, A., Rabbitt, M., Gregory, C. und Singh. R. (202).Household Food Security in the United States in 2020(#ERR-298). United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Font:https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=102075

Nahai, N. (2012).Networks of influence: the psychology of online persuasion. London: Pearson UK.

Smith, P. (2022).Global Garment Market: Statistics and Facts. Recovered from: Statista.https://es.statista.com/topics/5091/mercado-de-ropa-mundial/#topicHeader__wrapper

Chris Drew (PhD)

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dr. Chris Drew is the founder of The Helpful Professor. He has a PhD in Education and has published more than 20 articles in professional journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


What is an example of physiological Maslow's hierarchy of needs? ›

The levels of the hierarchy, starting from the base of the pyramid are: Physiological needs - These are biological requirements for human survival. Examples include air, food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex and sleep.

What is an example for physiological needs? ›

Physiological Needs

These are the essentials people need for physical survival. Examples include air, food, drink, shelter, clothing, warmth, sleep, and health. If you fail to meet these needs, your body cannot function properly.

What are examples of psychological needs of a person? ›

According to SDT there are three psychological needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness) that are universally important for psychological wellbeing and autonomous motivation. You can think of these universal needs in the same way you think of physiological needs (e.g. hunger, thirst, sleep).

What are physiological needs examples for students? ›

Is this student getting all of their basic physical needs met? These basic needs include food, water, sleep, oxygen, and warmth. If all students have these needs met, the next stage is Safety.

What are the 10 physiological needs? ›

Physiological Needs: air, food, water, shelter, warmth, sleep, etc. Security Needs: safety, shelter, security, law & order, employment, health, stability, etc. Social Needs: Belongingness, love, affection, intimacy, family, friends, relationships, etc.

What are examples of physiological behaviors? ›

Manic-depressive illness, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder and anorexia are other physiological behavior examples.

What are the 8 psychological needs? ›

These include affiliation, power, cognitive, achievement, autonomy, competence, closure, and meaning needs.

What are 6 physiological needs? ›

The six physiological needs are probably fairly obvious: oxygen, food, water, warmth, sleep, and homeostasis (proper functioning of internal operation and regulatory systems).

How can you ensure a person's psychological needs are met give two examples? ›

HOW TO GET YOUR PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS MET 1) Know what your needs are. Knowing what is important to you is the first step. 2) Define what that need means to you. Different people may have a different understanding of what a particular need means.

What are 5 physiological needs all humans have? ›

According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, human beings' physiological needs for food, water, clothing, shelter, and sleep must be satisfied in order for them to address more complex needs like mental and physical health, relationships, sobriety, long-term housing, and employment.

What are examples of self-actualization needs? ›

Examples of Self-Actualization
  • Finding humor in a given situation.
  • Getting enjoyment and satisfaction out of the present moment.
  • Understanding what they need in order to gain a sense of fulfillment.
  • Tendency to feel secure and unashamed in who they are.
Mar 15, 2019

How is Maslow's theory used today in schools? ›

Maslow's hierarchy provides a model for how students are motivated to learn. Without the bottom layer of the hierarchy met, students cannot reach the next level. Each level, once met, allows students the ability and motivation to learn. Each student can move up in the hierarchy with the proper support.

Which of the following are examples of physiological needs except? ›

Except for air (oxygen), all the other elements of physiological needs such as food, clothing, and shelter are money-dependent.

What are examples of physiological needs quizlet? ›

Examples of Biological and Physiological needs: air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

What is an example of physiology in real life? ›

Some examples of the type of functions we study include: How oxygen supports metabolism, how its use determines how many calories we “burn” at rest and during exercise and how it can help determine a person's cardiorespiratory fitness level.

What are the 9 basic needs? ›

Nine fundamental needs are identified (see Table 1): subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity and freedom).

What are the 7 basic needs? ›

To sustain human life, certain physiological needs include air, water, food, shelter, sanitation, touch, sleep and personal space.

How many physiological needs are there? ›

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who proposed a hierarchy of the needs of individuals. This hierarchy is made up of five needs, with basic (physiological and safety) needs making up the lowest levels: Physiological needs include food, water, sleep, shelter, air, and medicine.

What are the four 4 basic physiological needs? ›

Physiological needs: The first of the id-driven lower needs on Maslow's hierarchy are physiological needs. These most basic human survival needs include food and water, sufficient rest, clothing and shelter, overall health, and reproduction.

What are 5 examples of physiological adaptations? ›

Some examples of structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations include:
  • Blends in or camouflages with environment.
  • Tough skin/scales on back.
  • Spiny/horned skin.
  • Blood squirting out of eyes.
  • K9 repellent chemicals.

What is physiological and its example? ›

Physiology is the science of life. It is the branch of biology that aims to understand the mechanisms of living things, from the basis of cell function at the ionic and molecular level to the integrated behaviour of the whole body and the influence of the external environment.

What is physiological psychology with example? ›

What is an example of physiological psychology? One example of a physiological psychology experiment is the use of brain imaging to study how stress affects heart rate. This experiment would involve measuring heart rate while someone is exposed to a stressor, such as a picture of a snake.

What are the top 10 needs? ›

After surveying 660 villagers, and averaging the results, they end up with the following list:
  • an adequate supply of safe water.
  • minimum requirements of clothing.
  • a balanced diet.
  • simple housing.
  • basic health care.
  • communication facilities.
  • energy.
  • total education related to life and living.
Mar 30, 2016

What are the 7 psychological approaches? ›

There are several major contemporary approaches to psychology (behavioral, cognitive, psychodynamic, evolutionary, biological, humanistic, sociocultural/contextual).

What is the most important among the physiologic needs? ›

Physiological needs are the lowest level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. They are the most essential things a person needs to survive. They include the need for shelter, water, food, warmth, rest, and health. A person's motivation at this level derives from their instinct to survive.

What are examples of psychosocial support? ›

Psychosocial support can be offered at community level through community and family support activities, for example through promoting and providing everyday activities such as schooling, activating social networks and in age-friendly spaces.

How will you apply the 8 steps to self-actualization in your life? ›

How to work toward it
  1. Practice acceptance. Learning to accept what comes — as it comes — can help you achieve self-actualization. ...
  2. Live spontaneously. ...
  3. Get comfortable with your own company. ...
  4. Appreciate the small things in life. ...
  5. Live authentically. ...
  6. Develop compassion. ...
  7. Talk to a therapist.

What are Maslow's five hierarchy of needs and examples? ›

Physiological (food and clothes), safety (job security), love and belonging needs (friendship), esteem, and self-actualization are the needs from the bottom of the hierarchy up.

Is Maslow's theory still relevant today? ›

Maslow's hierarchy of needs continues to be widely popular and mostly well-accepted, but the available evidence does not necessarily support Maslow's theory.

How can Maslow's theory be applied in the workplace? ›

In Maslow's theory, employees whose lowest-level needs have not been met will make decisions based on compensation, safety, or stability concerns. So it is vital that HR professionals ensure that these needs are fulfilled before others further up the pyramid.

Which of the following is not a basic need physiological? ›

Answer and Explanation: In this case, a) Esteem is not basic needs. According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the basic needs are what each person needs to survive and continue living.

What are physiological needs in the workplace? ›

Physiological needs

Employees need access to vital services and opportunities while at work to feel their most basic needs are being met. You need access to a restroom, a place to get drinking water, breaks to eat meals and snacks, and a comfortable working environment.

Is love a physiological need? ›

Love should be understood as a physiological motivation, like hunger, sleep or sex, and not as an emotion as it is commonly considered.

What are self esteem needs Maslow examples? ›

Higher esteem needs might include the desire for physical strength, knowledge, competence, independence and freedom. Lower esteem needs might include status, recognition, fame, celebrity, prestige and any form of attention.

Where are physiological needs on Maslow's hierarchy? ›

At the base of Maslow's hierarchy of human needs we find the physiological level, which encompasses the basic, yet self-preserving needs, such as sleep, water, and shelter. The ability to work our way further up the hierarchy, to satisfy our more complex needs, is based on fulfilling the physiological needs.

What is physiological with examples? ›

: of or relating to physiology. : characteristic of or appropriate to an organism's healthy or normal functioning. the sodium level was physiological. 3. : differing in, involving, or affecting physiological factors.

What is an example of physiological approach? ›

Strengths of the physiological approach

For example, Maguire's study of taxi drivers shows that the hippocampus is crucial in memory of routes. This clearly has many useful applications for diagnosing and treating people who have problems after brain damage. The approach is very scientific.

What are examples of physiological effects? ›

Short-term changes in circulation, including blood pressure, heart rate, cardiac output, and vasoconstriction, as well as the release of stress hormones, including the catecholamines adrenaline and noradrenaline and cortisol, have been studied in experimental settings.

What are examples of physiological symptoms? ›

Physiological symptoms are the physical symptoms that occur when you feel anxious or under display.
Overcoming social anxiety resolves all these problems.
  1. Facial Freezing.
  2. Blood Pressure Rising.
  3. Fast, Racing Heartbeat.
  4. Facial Tics/Neck, Mouth.
  5. Muscle Tension.
  6. Hands Shake.
  7. Weak, Shaking Voice.
  8. Swallowing / Lump in Throat.

What are examples of physiological changes? ›

Physiological changes occur with aging in all organ systems. The cardiac output decreases, blood pressure increases and arteriosclerosis develops. The lungs show impaired gas exchange, a decrease in vital capacity and slower expiratory flow rates.

What is an example of physiological stress? ›

physiological stress can be defined as disturbing an individual's internal milieu, leading to activation of regulatory mechanisms that serve to restore homeostasis (Kollack-Walker et al., 2000), for example, starvation, noise, cold exposure, or hemorrhage.

What is physiological development examples? ›

In females, this includes development of breasts and widening of hips, while in males it includes development of facial hair and deepening of the voice. Both sexes experience development of pubic and underarm hair, as well as increased development of sweat glands.

Is an example of a physiological emotional response? ›

The most obvious signs of emotional arousal involve changes in the activity of the visceral motor (autonomic) system (see Chapter 21). Thus, increases or decreases in heart rate, cutaneous blood flow (blushing or turning pale), piloerection, sweating, and gastrointestinal motility can all accompany various emotions.

What are examples of needs? ›

A need is something thought to be a necessity or essential items required for life. Examples include food, water, and shelter. A want is something unnecessary but desired or items which increase the quality of living. Examples include a car stereo, CD's, car, and designer clothes.

What are 5 examples of needs? ›

Needs include air, food, water, clothing and shelter.


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