Both Freud and Erikson had their own distinct theories on personality development, However, Erikson’s theory can be considered as a consequence of Freud’s. Both the theories are divided into stages of a person’s life in line with age and how well a person would adjust and develop as an adult if a specific quality or trait is attained in each stage. Both of these theories are quite related, as they both have many of the same distinctive age groups for development.
Nevertheless, there are many disparities that remain between the names of the stages and the developmental concerns that are experienced within them. Each psychologist has his own personal viewpoint of the rationale for the human being’s activities, which is clearly depicted in their individual theories. “Freud was one of the first theorists who thought that the causes of human behavior could be discovered by scientific methods, and he used the methods that were available in his time to investigate the underlying developmental causes of adult mental health issues” (Bergen, 2008, p.
37). Adulthood is a core aspect of each statement, as Freud is well-known for his stages of psychosexual development that start with the “oral” stage and end with the “genital” stage. There is some paradox that Freud theory was almost exclusively concerned with adulthood, however the bulk of his theory was related to the childhood. “Erikson’s theory draws on many of Freud’s concepts; however, his emphasis is on explaining how healthy personalities develop rather than focusing on unhealthy developmental processes” (Bergen, 2008, p.43)
Similar to Freudian theory, Erikson theory is increasingly concerned with constant changes in the society. For instance, “it is certainly the case that adolescents do ‘try on’ many identities, but because of changing social conditions, they may not do that for a longer period of time without it having unhealthy consequences” (Bergen, 2008, p. 50). Erikson’s evaluation of the final two stages of life may also need revision due to the fact that people live longer now than they did earlier (Bergen, 2008).
Erik Erikson Theory Erikson’s theory of development views the effects of various external factors namely parents and the social order on personality development from infancy to adulthood. In accordance with Erikson’s theory, each person must experience a series of 8 interconnected stages over the whole lifespan namely: 1. Infant – Basic Trust vs. Mistrust 2. Toddler – Autonomy vs. Shame 3. Preschooler – Initiative vs. Guilt 4. School-Age Child – Industry vs. Inferiority 5. Adolescent – Identity vs. Identity Diffusion 6. Young Adult – Intimacy vs. Isolation 7. Middle-aged Adult – Generativity vs. Self-absorption 8. Older Adult – Integrity vs. Despair.
Sigmund Freud Theory The theory suggested by Sigmund Freud gave importance of childhood incidents and experiences, however generally concentrated on mental confusion rather than normal functioning. In accordance with Freud, child development can be termed as a sequence of ‘psychosexual stages. ‘ In his essay in 1915, Freud delineated these stages as oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital. Each stage engages the satisfaction of a libidinal craving which can be affected in adult personality. Freud was of the view that if children do not finish a stage successfully, they develop a characteristic that would affect adult personality traits.
Yet, an understanding of Freudian theory may help classroom teachers to have an insight and motivation to deal with student behaviors. Anyhow, Freudian theory is not without his criticism. Amongst the criticism is that his theory does not fulfill the test of falsifiability, mainly for the reason that they are not proved or rejected by empirical data (Bergen, 2008). Erik Erikson vs. Sigmund Freud: A Comparison Sigmund Freud’s and Erik Erikson’s child development theory are quite extensive in the modern times.
Freud gives stress to sexuality; on the other hand, Erikson’s theory is based upon sociology. Despite the fact Freud’s formal theory has been much debated, his theory is still prevalent in the modern society. In each stage, the sexual inclination is centered on various parts of the human body. Optimal child development, in accordance with Freud, necessitates an environment that would fulfill the unique requirements of each period. A lacking environment in child development would cause fixation, the behaviors depicts unanswered problems and unmet requirements.
Hence, the stress on the early childhood experiences is the basis of Freudian theory. In contrast, for Erikson to realize a dynamic personality, a person must successfully solve a psychosocial predicament at each of the 8 stages of child development. Each predicament is outlined by a pair of conflicting possibilities. The successful solution of a problem causes the development of the trait on the positive side of the conflicting issues. A positive solution of the problem, nevertheless, does not imply moving completely towards the positive aspect.
The core idea of Erikson’s theory is that each new problem is a thrust on the development of a child as a result of changes in social requirements that advances with the age. The stage of industry vs. inferiority, for instance, starts when children start school and learn to read and write. If the children are unsuccessful to read and write at grade level, they are still able to advance with their same-aged peers. As the children enter the higher grade levels lacking the fundamental reading and writing competencies, they may face a growing sense of inferiority.
This development of negative self-image may harmfully the child’s changeover to the next stage of psychosocial development, i. e. the creation of a strong identity. Hence, childhood crises create the stage for those of youth and adulthood (Boyd, Bee, & Johnson, 2009). Erikson’s stage of Industry vs. Inferiority plays an important role in the development of self-concept which can be successfully applied by K-12 teachers in the classroom environment. Main Differences The key difference in Erikson and Freud theories is where the developmental stress is placed.
For Freud, it is completely on individual biology and the basic requirements that motivate them. Freud does not place any stress on cultural or environmental impacts like Erikson does. He selected a particular organ for each stage of development, whilst Erikson considered the issue on a wider scale by considering a person’s environments. Erikson also doesn’t think that a person becomes completely caught in a stage like Freud thinks. Rather, each stage is dependant on the next, and no matter what trait is realized at each age group will continue to the next stage. Conclusions
In sum, both the theories of Erikson and Freud theories have similarities. Moreover, it was recognized that Freud affected the Erikson’s theory. Both Erikson and Freud were in the accord that human development is generally an involuntary growth; when developmental change takes place it is a slow, and in progressive phases. Whilst Freud was of the view that human personality is affected by how well conflicts are solved and whether the needs of reality impact these solutions, Erikson put more stress on cultural experiences as the underlying causes of an individual’s development.
The Freudian theory states that human behavior is based on sexual desires; in contrast, Erikson’s theory gives stress on a sense of competence with social relationships as the major impact on human behavior. In accordance to Erikson’s theory, both early and late human experiences are likewise significant to a person’s development and social competencies affect development all over the lifespan.
On the contrary, Freud believed that the human personality is largely created in the first five years of life and early competencies were far more significant than later ones. References Bergen, D. (2008). Human development: Traditional and contemporary theories. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. Boyd, Denise A. , Bee, Helen L. , & Johnson, P. (2009). Lifespan Development. Pearson. Erikson, E. H. (1915). Childhood and Society. New York: Norton.