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A theory of human needs should be human-centered, not animal-centered: A commentary on Kenrick et al.


Perspectives in Psychological Science


Organisational Behaviour

Authors / Editors

Kesebir S;Graham J;Oishi S


Publication Year



Kenrick et al. (2010, this issue) make an important contribution by presenting a theory of human needs within an evolutionary framework. In our opinion, however, this framework bypasses the human uniqueness that Maslow intended to capture in his theory. We comment on the unique power of culture in shaping human motivation at the phylogenetic, ontogenetic, and proximate levels. We note that culture–gene coevolution may be a more promising lead to a theory of human motivation than a mammalcentric evolutionary perspective.


Human needs; Hierarchy of needs; Motivation; Human evolution; Culture-gene Coevolution

Available on ECCH


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