Running head: PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY: EXPLORATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP AND ISSUES Psychology and Sociology: Exploration of the Relationship and Issues


According to Abraham H. Maslow’s (1943) theories of human motivation, he proposed a ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ theory where human biological, psychological and sociological needs are organized into a hierarchical system. This pyramid-like structure consists of the following five basic human motivations, in ascending order of importance: Figure 1 ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ Maslow (1943) claimed: ‘‘It is quite true that man lives by bread alone – when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desire when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled? At once other (and ‘higher’) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still ‘higher’) needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency’’ (p. 375). Using Maslow’s hierarchical needs as a framework, this paper outlines the relation between Psychology and Sociology with regards to some notable modern day societal issues. The Esteem Social Needs Safety Needs Physiological Needs Self-Actualization 3 PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY: THE RELATIONSHIP AND ISSUES examples, however, will show that human needs are not necessarily in a hierarchy but often overlap, as some of Maslow’s critics have pointed out. Psychology and Sociology: Exploration of the Relationship and Issues Psychology which means “study of the mind”, mainly covers the development of human behaviour, the human mind and cognition, personality, social behaviour and abnormality. In comparison, Sociology encompasses studies of human interactions, human societies and the dynamic processes that preserve and change them. An interdisciplinary area of both fields is Social Psychology, the scientific study of the behaviour of individuals in relation to social and cultural institutions with topics such as social perceptions, social cognition, attitudes, and group dynamics. The major relation between Psychology and Sociology involves humans, their everchanging behaviour and its outcomes on society. This paper strives to show this relation as seen from the needs of an individual (micro level), the challenges in attaining them, and the resultant effects and issues on society (macro level). Survival / Physiological Needs The human’s most basic needs are the Physiological Needs which consist of biological and survival requirements such as breathing, eating, sleep and procreation. Evolutionary Psychology theories by Charles Darwin (1859) speak of natural selection as a mechanism that filters and orchestrates the evolution of man, whereby traits and characteristics that have survival and adaptive value are being transmitted and retained. Before the advent of agriculture, early civilizations were largely engaged in foraging cultures for subsistence where villagers form hunting and gathering societies among their villages. Male and female members of hunting and 4 PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY: THE RELATIONSHIP AND ISSUES gathering societies had a rather equitable relationship as both were equally active in the foraging and neither were the sole providers for food, and communed in a relatively egalitarian society as neither gender was dominant economically or socially through the ownership of land, means of production or food surplus. However the earliest form of gender division of labour were present when wild game were hunted mainly by men and gathering of berries and fruits by women. This suggests that over the generations of civilizations, there is some survival value in the division of labour as theorized by Darwin; where meeting the biological needs of procreation, mothering and feeding of offerings required women to be in close proximity to their homes. This is further supported by John Bowlby’s (1969) evolutionary perspective of caregiver’s attachment having survival value for infants, as well as Harry Harlow’s (1958) rhesus monkey deprivation experiments showing that mother-child attachment is determined largely by warm, secure contact comfort. Hence this division with an evolutionary slant slowly separates and defines the social gender roles as men becomes more physically and mentally experienced in hunting techniques and women domesticated to the essential maternal needs of the family. However, in many developed societies, as survival needs are no longer an issue, the division of labour between men and women is being questioned and contested.

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@inproceedings{Ng2010RunningHP, title={Running head: PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY: EXPLORATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP AND ISSUES Psychology and Sociology: Exploration of the Relationship and Issues}, author={Amos Ng and Grant Macewan and Joanne C. Minaker and Abraham H. Maslow’s}, year={2010} }