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One of the original leaders of the humanistic movement, Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) was born in Brooklyn, New York, as the oldest of seven children. Maslow had a difficult childhood and stated throughout his life that he was lonely, unhappy, and struggled with the difficult circumstances surrounding his first-generation Jewish Russian immigrant parents. His eventual development of his hierarchy of needs and his research on self-actualizing individuals may have come from a personal understanding of how difficult surroundings can affect an individual’s personal growth.

Growing up in a working-class neighborhood, he had many encounters with his parents that led to negative childhood memories. Maslow recounted stories of both his father and mother that had a profound effect on him throughout his childhood. A particularly potent story he ...

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