Erik Erikson psychosocial theory essay
The classical developmental theory that I chose to discuss is the psychosocial theory by Erik Erikson. This theory expands and furthers Freud’s original psychoanalytical theory, which states human functioning is dependent upon the interaction of unconscious drives and forces per individual (McLeod, 2017). Further, Erikson expands the idea of development by noting that there are set stages/milestones in childhood and the stages also advance into adulthood. Moreover, psychosocial theory highlights the importance of culture and socialization on an individual’s social and emotional development. This theory also posits that early experiences in childhood will set the (staged) course for later development (Berk, 2018) Erik Erikson psychosocial theory essay.
The contemporary theory I chose to discuss is the ethology and evolutionary developmental theory. Traced back to the work of Darwin in evolutionary theory, ethology is a biological perspective concerned with human behavior, and social interaction in regards to survival (Berk, 2018). A major concept coined through research within this theory is that of a “critical period” (Berk, 2018, p. 21). The critical period is defined as an imperative stage or time in which an individual is biologically available to learn a new behavior. (Berk, 2018).
These two theories have similarities in that they both emphasize social and emotional development, and they both postulate that early experiences set a specific course for later human development. An example of this within the psychosocial theory by Erikson is his first developmental stage “basic Trust versus mistrust” (Berk, 2018, p. 15). Within this set stage, infants will learn trust from responsive caregiving. The opposite end of this spectrum would be mistrust due to neglect. In a similar vein, Ethology coined “imprinting” which was originated by observing young birds following and imitating the behavior of their mother for survival purposes. (Berk, 2018 p. 21). Imprinting inspired the concept of a critical period (noted above) which argues that social and emotional behavior is learned at a certain and optimal time. Both psychosocial theory and ethology highlight the necessity to have positive experiences in early development Erik Erikson psychosocial theory essay.
A limitation for both developmental processes is that these theories could be too deterministic. These theories suggest that an individual’s social and emotional processes are determined by our child hood experiences and unconscious thoughts (McLeod, 2017). This does not allow for personal choice or free will.
Berk, L. E. (2018). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.
McLeod, S.A. (2017) Psychodynamic approach. Retrieved from: Psychodynamic Approach | Simply Psychology
Discussion: The Contribution of Classical Theorists to Contemporary Developmental Theorists
While all major developmental theories attempt to explain the growth of individuals, each theory has a slightly different perspective. Some theories emphasize environmental (nurture) more than biological (nature) influences. Some theories focus on a particular construct (e.g., cognition), while others emphasize the impact of age range in shaping development. Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory emphasizes fixed stages during which the mind’s capacities allow an individual to learn about the world. Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, on the other hand, is not stage-based and describes growth as an interaction between the individual and his or her environment.
Contemporary theories (e.g., Langer’s theory of mindfulness) typically build upon the foundation generated by earlier theories. Langer’s theory of mindfulness contains similarities to classical theories, such as Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, in that they both agree that development is contextual and the organism is an active “mindful” participant. Langer took Vygotsky’s theory to a new level, focusing specifically on education and the learner. Other contemporary theories include neo-Piagetian cognitive developmental theories, which attempt to address the limitations found within Piaget’s classical theory. Robbie Case, Andreas Demetriou, and Kurt Fischer proposed theories that were extensions of Piaget’s theory. These theorists added concepts that expanded on cognitive functioning within the stages of development. Most developmental psychologists today do not believe that a single perspective or theory can sufficiently explain lifespan development; rather, an eclectic approach accounts for development better Erik Erikson psychosocial theory essay.
For this Discussion, you will examine classical and contemporary developmental theories as they relate to current applications in developmental psychology.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the course text and other Learning Resources related to mid-20th-century theories and recent theoretical perspectives
- Select two theories from the following list, one from each column (classical, contemporary), that examine the same developmental processes (i.e., cognitive, physical, and/or social-emotional).
|Classical Theories||Contemporary Theories|
By Day 4
Post a brief description of the two theories you selected (one classical and one contemporary). Contrast the theories you selected. Specifically, identify important similarities and differences, including an explanation of the strengths and limitations of each theory in explaining developmental processes (i.e., cognitive, physical, and social-emotional). Note: Your descriptions should be in paragraph form, not bullet points. Use your Learning Resources and/or other scholarly sources to support your post. Use proper APA format and citations.
By Day 6
Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ posts and search the Internet and/or the Walden Library and select a current article (within the last 5 years) that is related to the same developmental process (i.e., cognitive, physical, and social-emotional) that your colleague posted. Summarize the article and describe the theory identified within the article.
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting and answer any questions. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained as a result of your colleagues’ comments Erik Erikson psychosocial theory essay.
ou did a good job in explaining both theories; it was easy for me to understand. I found an interesting article by Nyam and Szymczynska(2016), purporting a link between current dementia activity programs to developmental psychology theories of aging. Facilitating people with dementia’s engagement in meaningful activities is an important feature of their care. They can be encouraged to participate in meaningful activities in both casual and formal settings to help them feel better. Memory cafes and organizations planned for peer support, reading, or singing for the brain’ are examples of this informally, (Nyam & Szymczynska, 2016).
This aspect of an individuals’ life is considered by socio-emotional development theories. The change in an individual’s understanding of, attitudes toward, and behavior toward others over time is referred to as social development, (Susskind, 2005). Erikson’s psychosocial theory suggests that personality is developed is a sequential order through the eight stages of development. The theory suggests that as each conflict is resolved at each stage an individual will acquire the necessary “attitudes” and “skills” to contribute positively to society, (Berk, 2014).
According to Nyam and Szymczynska (2016), spirituality and religion plays an integral role in providing meaning in life for dementia patients. It also aids the person with dementia in mentally preparing for death. Death, according to Erikson’s theory, is the ultimate objective for which people should strive, and that achieving this goal helps create a sense of purpose, with acceptance of death as the end of one’s life story.
This was a good article.
Berk. L.E. (2014). Development through the lifespan (7th ed.). Pearson Education.
Nyman, S. R., & Szymczynska, P. (2016). Meaningful activities for improving the wellbeing of people with dementia: beyond mere pleasure to meeting fundamental psychological needs. Perspectives in Public Health, 136(2), 99–107.
Susskind, J. (2005). Social development. In Neil J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Development (pp.1191-1197) Erik Erikson psychosocial theory essay.