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10 common traits of self-actualized people
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is updated for the 21st century in a new study.
- Maslow's famous "Hierarchy of Needs" describes different levels of human motivation.
- A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
- The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.
Are you a self-actualized person? The American psychologist Abraham Maslow famously proposed in 1954 the "Maslow's hierarchy of needs" which theorized that psychological health culminated in self-actualization. Maslow saw that as being able to fulfill your potential, becoming your true self.
Now the psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, from Columbia University, published a study that updates Maslow's work with modern statistical methods and proposes 10 specific characteristics that are shared by self-actualized people.
The pyramid of human needs devised by Maslow was based on the idea that human motivations follow a prioritizing pattern. The 5-level hierarchy of needs goes from purely "physiological" towards "love", and "esteem," with each stage needing to be satisfied before moving on to the next.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's ideas are regarded as humanistic psychology, arising in part as a reaction to Freud's theory of psychoanalysis and B.F. Skinner's behaviorism. This line of thought sees individuals as inherently striving towards self-actualization, where their capabilities and creativity are fully expressed. This point of view also regards all people as inherently good and more than the sum of their parts.
Kaufman updated Maslow's methods and language and utilized surveys of over 500 people on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to zero in on 10 characteristics that each made a distinct contribution towards self-actualization.
Here they are:
- Continued Freshness of Appreciation
- Efficient Perception of Reality
- Peak Experiences
- Good Moral Intuition
- Creative Spirit
"Taken together, this total pattern of data supports Maslow's contention that self-actualised individuals are more motivated by growth and exploration than by fulfilling deficiencies in basic needs," Kaufman writes.
Another significant takeaway from the study is that people who reach self-actualization ultimately appear to be on the path towards self-transcendence. This observation confirms Maslow's extension of his own theory in later years with concrete data. The more self-actualized you are, the more one with the world you feel.
If you'd like to know what each concept means in depth, take a look at this breakdown from the study:
Credit: Kaufman 2018
To take the test of self-actualization yourself, go to Barry Scott Kaufman's website. And if you find yourself not scoring as high as you would like, Kaufman thinks you can develop such characteristics by changing your habits.
"A good way to start with that," Kaufman told the British Psychological Society's Research Digest. "is by first identifying where you stand on those characteristics and assessing your weakest links. Capitalize on your highest characteristics but also don't forget to intentionally be mindful about what might be blocking your self-actualization. … Identify your patterns and make a concerted effort to change. I do think it's possible with conscientiousness and willpower."
Check out the psychologist's new study "Self-Actualizing People in the 21st Century: Integration With Contemporary Theory and Research on Personality and Well-Being" in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology.
A man's skeleton, found facedown with his hands bound, was unearthed near an ancient ceremonial circle during a high speed rail excavation project.
- A skeleton representing a man who was tossed face down into a ditch nearly 2,500 years ago with his hands bound in front of his hips was dug up during an excavation outside of London.
- The discovery was made during a high speed rail project that has been a bonanza for archaeology, as the area is home to more than 60 ancient sites along the planned route.
- An ornate grave of a high status individual from the Roman period and an ancient ceremonial circle were also discovered during the excavations.
An ancient skeleton of a man dating back to the Iron Age was uncovered outside of London last month, and though archaeologists aren't certain what the cause of death was, clues point to a murder most foul.
A skeleton representing a man who was tossed face down into a ditch nearly 2,500 years ago with his hands bound in front of his hips was dug up during a high speed rail excavation.
The positioning of the remains have led archaeologists to suspect that the man may have been a victim of an ancient murder or execution. Though any bindings have since decomposed, his hands were positioned together and pinned under his pelvis. There was also no sign of a grave or coffin.
"He seems to have had his hands tied, and he was face-down in the bottom of the ditch," said archaeologist Rachel Wood, who led the excavation. "There are not many ways that you end up that way."
Currently, archaeologists are examining the skeleton to uncover more information about the circumstances of the man's death. Fragments of pottery found in the ditch may offer some clues as to exactly when the man died.
"If he was struck across the head with a heavy object, you could find a mark of that on the back of the skull," Wood said to Live Science. "If he was stabbed, you could find blade marks on the ribs. So we're hoping to find something like that, to tell us how he died."
Other discoveries at Wellwick Farm
The grim discovery was made at Wellwick Farm near Wendover. That is about 15 miles north-west of the outskirts of London, where a tunnel is going to be built as part of a HS2 high-speed rail project due to open between London and several northern cities sometime after 2028. The infrastructure project has been something of a bonanza for archaeology as the area is home to more than 60 ancient sites along the planned route that are now being excavated before construction begins.
The farm sits less than a mile away from the ancient highway Icknield Way that runs along the tops of the Chiltern Hills. The route (now mostly trails) has been used since prehistoric times. Evidence at Wellwick Farm indicates that from the Neolithic to the Medieval eras, humans have occupied the region for more than 4,000 years, making it a rich area for archaeological finds.
Wood and her colleagues found some evidence of an ancient village occupied from the late Bronze Age (more than 3,000 years ago) until the Roman Empire's invasion of southern England about 2,000 years ago. At the site were the remains of animal pens, pits for disposing food, and a roundhouse — a standard British dwelling during the Bronze Age constructed with a circular plan made of stone or wood topped with a conical thatched roof.
Ceremonial burial site
A high status burial in a lead-lined coffin dating back to Roman times.
Photo Credit: HS2
While these ancient people moved away from Wellwick Farm before the Romans invaded, a large portion of the area was still used for ritual burials for high-status members of society, Wood told Live Science. The ceremonial burial site included a circular ditch (about 60 feet across) at the center, and was a bit of a distance away from the ditch where the (suspected) murder victim was uncovered. Additionally, archaeologists found an ornately detailed grave near the sacred burial site that dates back to the Roman period, hundreds of years later when the original Bronze Age burial site would have been overgrown.
The newer grave from the Roman period encapsulated an adult skeleton contained in a lead-lined coffin. It's likely that the outer coffin had been made of wood that rotted away. Since it was clearly an ornate burial, the occupant of the grave was probably a person of high status who could afford such a lavish burial. However, according to Wood, no treasures or tokens had been discovered.
Sacred timber circle
An aerial view of the sacred circular monument.
Photo Credit: HS2
One of the most compelling archaeological discoveries at Wellwick Farm are the indications of a huge ceremonial circle once circumscribed by timber posts lying south of the Bronze Age burial site. Though the wooden posts have rotted away, signs of the post holes remain. It's thought to date from the Neolithic period to 5,000 years ago, according to Wood.
This circle would have had a diameter stretching 210 feet across and consisted of two rings of hundreds of posts. There would have been an entry gap to the south-west. Five posts in the very center of the circle aligned with that same gap, which, according to Wood, appeared to have been in the direction of the rising sun on the day of the midwinter solstice.
Similar Neolithic timber circles have been discovered around Great Britain, such as one near Stonehenge that is considered to date back to around the same time.
Even with six months' notice, we can't stop an incoming asteroid.
- At an international space conference, attendees took part in an exercise that imagined an asteroid crashing into Earth.
- With the object first spotted six months before impact, attendees concluded that there was insufficient time for a meaningful response.
- There are an estimated 25,000 near-Earth objects potentially threatening our planet.
The asteroid 2021 PDC was first spotted on April 19, 2021 by the Pan-STARRS project at the University of Hawaii. By May 2, astronomers were 100% certain it was going to strike Earth somewhere in Europe or northern Africa. On October 20, 2021, the asteroid plowed into Europe, taking countless lives.
There was absolutely nothing anyone could do to deflect it from its deadly course. Experts could only warn a panicking population to get out of the way as soon as possible, if it was possible.
The above scenario is the result of a recently concluded NASA thought experiment.
The question the agency sought to answer was this: If we discovered a potentially deadly asteroid destined to hit Earth in six months, was there anything we could do to prevent a horrifying catastrophe? The disturbing answer is "no," not with currently available technology.
While Europe can breathe easy for now, the simulation conducted by NASA/JPL's Center for Near Earth Object Studies and presented at the 7th IAA Planetary Defense Conference is troubling. Space agencies spot "near-Earth objects" (NEOs) all the time. Many are larger than 140 meters in size, which means they're potentially deadly.
Credit: ImageBank4U / Adobe Stock
"The level [at] which we're finding the 140-meter and larger asteroids remains pretty stable, at about 500 a year. Our projection of the number of these objects out there is about 25,000, and we've only found a little over one-third of those so far, maybe 38% or so," NASA's Planetary Defense Office Lindley Johnson tells Space.com.
With our current technology, spotting an NEO comes down to whether we just happen to have a telescope pointing in its direction. To remove humanity's blind spot, the Planetary Society — the same organization that deployed Earth's first light sails — is developing the NEO Surveyor spacecraft, which they plan to deploy in 2025. According to the Planetary Society, it will be able to detect 90 percent of NEOs of 140 meters or larger, a vast improvement.
How to move an asteroid
The DART spacecraft will attempt to deflect an asteroid.Credit: NASA
The NASA/JPL exercise made clear that six months is just not enough time with our current technology to prepare and launch a mission in time to nudge an NEO off its course. (Small course adjustments become significant over great distances, which is why "nudging" an asteroid is a potential strategy.)
What would such a mission look like? Hollywood aside — remember Armageddon?— we know of no good way to redirect an NEO headed our way. Experts believe that shooting laser beams at an incoming rock, exciting as it might look, is not a realistic possibility. Targeted nuclear blasts might work, but forget about landing Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler on an asteroid to set off a course-altering bomb, especially just a month after its discovery (as was the case in the movie).
Another thing that might work is crashing a spacecraft into an NEO hard enough to shift its course. That's the idea behind NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). This mission will shoot a spacecraft at the (non-threatening) asteroid Dimorphos in the fall of 2022 in the hope of changing its trajectory.
The deadly asteroid's journey
The asteroid "2021 PDC" hit Europe in NASA's simulation.Credit: NASA/JPL
The harrowing "tabletop exercise," as NASA/JPL called it, took place across four days at the conference:
- Day 1, "April 19" — The asteroid named "2021 PDC" is discovered 35 million miles away. Scientists calculate it has a 1-in-20 chance of striking Earth.
- Day 2, "May 2" — Now certain that 2021 PDC will hit Earth, space mission designers attempt to dream up a response. They conclude that with less than six months to impact, there's not enough time to realistically mount a mission to disrupt the NEO's course.
- Day 3, "June 30" — Images from the world's four largest telescopes reveal the area in Europe that will be hit. Space-based infrared measurements narrow the object's size to between 35 and 700 meters. This would pack a similar punch as a 1.2-megaton nuclear bomb.
- Day 4, "October 14" — Six days before impact, the asteroid is just 6.3 million km from Earth. Finally, the Goldstone Solar System Radar has been able to assess the size of 2021 PDC. Scientists calculate the blast from the asteroid will be primarily confined to the border region between Germany, Czechia, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia. Disaster response experts develop plans for addressing the human toll.
"Each time we participate in an exercise of this nature," says Johnson, "we learn more about who the key players are in a disaster event, and who needs to know what information, and when."
Practically speaking, little can be done to hurry technological development along other than budgeting more money toward that goal. Maybe we should have Bruce Willis on call, just in case.
New research suggests that there is no "typical" form of Alzheimer's disease, as the condition can manifest in at least four different ways.
- A new study suggests that not all cases of Alzheimer's are the same.
- The disease progresses differently depending on where the tau protein is accumulating in the brain.
- This finding may provide a new route for research and treatment options.
A new study by an international team of researchers suggests that there are at least four distinct forms of Alzheimer's disease, each of which attacks a different part of the brain. The findings, published in Nature Medicine, may be the foundation for a new understanding of a disease which is expected to affect millions of people in the coming decades.
The leading hypothesis on the mechanism of Alzheimer's is that the disease is caused by unusual aggregation and spread of the tau protein in the brain. While there is still debate over if the strange behavior of these proteins is the cause of Alzheimer's or merely a symptom of the disease, the spread of such proteins can be used to identify the condition.
The authors reviewed the positron emission tomography (PET) data of 1,143 people. The PET images allowed the scientists to view where in the brain tau proteins were building up. An algorithm was applied to this data which was able to categorize the patterns in the images. In those brains with tau protein abnormalities, there were four distinct variations in how they manifested in the brain as seen below:
The four different Alzheimer's subtypes identified by the study. Areas in warmer colors had higher concentrations of tau proteins. The progression of the disease was related to the region of the brain that was most impacted. Image: Jacob Vogel
Four types of Alzheimer's disease
This could mean that there are four subtypes of Alzheimer's, each with different affected areas of the brain, symptoms, and prognoses. The authors described them as follows:
Type one is characterized by the tau protein spreading within the temporal lobe, impacting memory. This type was observed in 33% of Alzheimer's cases.
Type two is the inverse of type one in many ways. The tau protein spreads primarily in the cerebral cortex rather than in the temporal lobe. Patients with this variation have fewer memory problems than those with type one but more difficulties with planning and performing actions. This type appeared in 18% of cases.
Type three targets the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes visual information. Those with this variant had particular difficulty with orientation, movement, and processing sensory information. This type occurred in 30% of cases.
Type four features the protein spreading in the left hemisphere of the brain and seems to principally affect language ability. This manifested in the remaining 19% of cases.
Beyond the differences in symptoms and pathology, the prognosis of each subtype appears to differ. After reviewing the long-term data of the patients, it appears that people with the third subtype have the slowest rate of mental decline, while those with the fourth endured a much steeper rate of facility loss.
Study co-author Oskar Hansson of Lund University in Sweden, commented on the findings in a press release:
"We identified four clear patterns of tau pathology that became distinct over time. The prevalence of the subgroups varied between 18 and 30 percent, which means that all these variants of Alzheimer's are actually quite common and no single one dominates as we previously thought. The varied and large databases of tau-PET that exist today, along with newly developed methods for machine learning that can be applied to large amounts of data, made it possible for us to discover and characterize these four subtypes of Alzheimer's. However, we need a longer follow-up study over five to ten years to be able to confirm the four patterns with even greater accuracy."
If the authors are correct, a more accurate Alzheimer's diagnosis may help provide specialized treatment to future patients.