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Apply Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development to Marketing

Your group has been hired by an advertising firm that is developing a series of commercials for family-oriented products geared toward the entire family. They want to develop a series of commercials that will target family members at various life stages. Your group needs to thoroughly describe Erikson's theory of Psychosocial development. In your description of each stage, identify and analyze a television, movie, or literary character for each stage of the theory. The marketing firm will use this information as they develop commercials targeting each developmental stage. Finally, provide a review of three recent studies utilizing a theory of development.

The advertising firm has requested that you submit a 4 to 5 page report summarizing your research in this area. Therefore, your group should submit one combined Word document that conforms to the following directions:

Give a description of Erikson's theory, including the stages of development using the criteria listed above.
Identify a character at each stage.
Choose three of the following studies found.
For each one you choose, describe the study and discuss how it supports or does not support the information you have written in your report about Erikson. Specifically:
Which particular aspects of the theory does the study examine?
Do the experimental or discussion results strengthen or weaken the theory and you ideas? Why?
Do you agree or disagree with the conclusions? Why or why not?
Choose three studies from the following:

Predictors and Characteristics of Erickson's Life Cycle Model Among Men: A 32-Year Longitudinal Study by Westermeyer, Jerry F.

Reexamining Gender Issues in Erikson's Stages of Identity and Intimacy by Horst, Elisabeth A.

Individuation and Attachment in Personality Development: Extending Erikson's Theory by Franz, Carol E.; White, Kathleen M.

Egocentrism in Older Adults: Piaget's Three Mountains Task Revisited by McDonald, Lorraine; Stuart-Hamilton, Ian.

Piaget on Childhood by Siegler, Robert S.; Ellis, Shari.

Vygotsky and Identity Formation: A Sociocultural Approach by Penuel, William R.; Wertsch, James V.

Attachment, Social Rank, and Affect Regulation: Speculations on an Ethological Approach to Family Interaction by Sloman, Leon; Atkinson, Leslie; Milligan, Karen; Liotti, Giovanni.

An Ethological Perspective by Stevenson-Hinde, Joan.

Integrating Biological, Behavioral, and Social Levels of Analysis in Early Child Development: Progress, Problems, and Prospects by Granger, Douglas A.; Kivlighan, Katie T.

Nonshared Environmental Influences on Individual Differences in Early Behavioral Development: A Monozygotic Twin Differences Study by Asbury, Kathryn; Dunn, Judith F.; Pike, Alison; Plomin, Robert.

The Home Environments of Children in the United States Part II: Relations with Behavioral Development through Age Thirteen by Bradley, Robert H.; Corwyn, Robert F.; Burchinal, Margaret; McAdoo, Harriette Pipes; Garcia Coll, Cynthia.

Relationships Among Paternal Involvement and Young Children's Perceived Self-Competence and Behavioral Problems by Culp, Rex E.; Schadle, Stephanie; Robinson, Linda; Culp, Anne M.

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The advertising firm has requested that you submit a 4 to 5 page report summarizing your research in this area (e.g. the questions below can act as a tentative outline for your report, as it will be organized in the order of the questions. Since it is 4-5 pages, each question should be about 1 or 1 and ΒΌ pages in length. For example, your tentative outline might look something to the effect:

I. Introduction (Introduce the purpose of your report, followed by a purpose statement e.g., the purpose of this report is to discuss Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development and to demonstrate through example... and so on).

II. Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development

III. Application

IV. Empirical Evidence

V. Conclusion

Therefore, your group should submit one combined Word document that conforms to the following directions:

1. Give a description of Erikson's theory, including the stages of development using the criteria (e.g., various life stages of Erikson's theory) listed above.

I have located two excellent charts presented in Example 1 and 2 below (SEE ATTACHED RESPONSE), that explain Erikson's eight stages of psychosocial development, and as you go through each one, you might consider thinking about a character that fits with the particular stage and the age group of each stage and the characteristics the character displays. Perhaps, you might also consider jotting down your ideas as you read through this discussion.

Example 1: Erikson's Eight Stages

The next example expands on the above chart, explaining the theory behind the stages, and also explains the stages in more detail. You may not want to go as in-depth for this assignment (and perhaps the above chart may be sufficient). However, so you are familiar with the concepts and the theoretical underpinnings of the stages, the information presented below helps you do with. It is extremely important to know and understand the theory and concepts for the last part of this assignment, because the authors of the three studies will be mentioning these Eriksonian ideas and concepts. With this in mind, let's continue this exciting learning journey. As you read the material, you might consider asking yourself such things as, how could marketers use this information to target this age group? What characters or people would clearly demonstrate this stage of development? What does it tell us about our target market (e.g., by life stage) that will be helpful in product development and marketing the product? and the likes. In other words, let's consider reading the material critically, perhaps jotting down ideas as you read or highlighting certain sections for further review. So let's begin ...

Example 2: Theory and Stages (Excerpted from on-line source, so please reference appropriately if you use this material using quotations for direct quotes, and/or paraphrasing in your own words and referencing the material)

Erikson is a Freudian ego-psychologist. This means that he accepts Freud's ideas as basically correct, including the more debatable ideas such as the Oedipal complex, and accepts as well the ideas about the ego that were added by other Freudian loyalists such as Heinz Hartmann and, of, course, Anna Freud. However, Erikson is much more society and culture-oriented than most Freudians, as you might expect from someone with his anthropological interests, and he often pushes the instincts and the unconscious practically out of the picture. Perhaps because of this, Erikson is popular among Freudians and non-Freudians alike!

The epigenetic principle He is most famous for his work in refining and expanding Freud's theory of stages. Development, he says, functions by the epigenetic principle. This principle says that we develop through a predetermined unfolding of our personalities in eight stages. Our progress through each stage is in part determined by our success, or lack of success, in all the previous stages. A little like the unfolding of a rose bud, each petal opens up at a certain time, in a certain order, which nature, through its genetics, has determined. If we interfere in the natural order of development by pulling a petal forward prematurely or out of order, we ruin the development of the entire flower.

Each stage involves certain developmental tasks that are psychosocial in nature. Although he follows Freudian tradition by calling them crises, they are more drawn out and less specific than that term implies. The child in grammar school, for example, has to learn to be industrious during that period of his or her life, and that industriousness is learned through the complex social interactions of school and family. The various tasks are referred to by two terms. The infant's task, for example, is called "trust-mistrust." At first, it might seem obvious that the infant must learn trust and not mistrust. But Erikson made it clear that there it is a balance we must learn: Certainly, we need to learn mostly trust; but we also need to learn a little mistrust, so as not to grow up to become gullible fools!

Each stage has a certain optimal time as well. It is no use trying to rush children into adulthood, as is so common among people who are obsessed with success. Neither is it possible to slow the pace or to try to protect our children from the demands of life. There is a time for each task. If a stage is managed well, we carry away a certain virtue or psychosocial strength which will help us through the rest of the stages of our lives. On the other hand, if we don't do so well, we may develop maladaptations and malignancies, as well as endanger all our future development. A malignancy is the worse of the two, and involves too little of the positive and too much of the negative aspect of the task, such as a person who can't trust others.

A maladaptation is not quite as bad and involves too much of the positive and too little of the negative, such as a person who trusts too much. Children and adults Perhaps Erikson's greatest innovation was to postulate not five stages, as Freud had done, but eight. Erikson elaborated Freud's genital stage into adolescence plus three stages of adulthood. We certainly don't stop developing -- especially psychologically -- after our twelfth or thirteenth birthdays; It seems only right to extend any theory of stages to cover later development! Erikson also had some things to say about the interaction of generations, which he called mutuality. Freud had made it abundantly clear that a child's parents influence his or her development dramatically. Erikson pointed out that children influence their parents' development as well. The arrival of children, for example, into a couple's life, changes that life considerably, and moves the new parents along their developmental paths. It is even appropriate to add a third (and in some cases, a fourth) generation to the picture: Many of us have been influenced by our grandparents, and they by us.

A particularly clear example of mutuality can be seen in the problems of the teenage mother. Although the mother and her child may have a fine life together, often the mother is still involved in the tasks of adolescence, that is, in finding out who she is and how she fits into the larger society. The relationship she has or had with the child's father may have been immature on one or both sides, and if they don't marry, she will have to deal with the problems of finding and developing a relationship as well. The infant, on the other hand, has the simple, straight-forward needs that infants have, and the most important of these is a mother with the mature abilities and social support a mother should have. If the mother's parents step in to help, as one would expect, then they, too, are thrown off of their developmental tracks, back into a life-style they thought they had passed, and which they might find terribly demanding. And so on....

The ways in which our lives intermesh are terribly complex and very frustrating to the theorist. But ignoring them is to ignore something vitally important about our development and our personalities.



The first stage The first stage, infancy or the oral-sensory stage, is approximately the first year or year and a half of life. The task is to develop trust without completely eliminating the capacity for mistrust. If mom and dad can give the newborn a degree of familiarity, consistency, and continuity, then the child will develop the feeling that the world -- especially the social world -- is a safe place to be, that people are reliable and loving. Through the parents' responses, the child also learns to trust his or her own body and the biological urges that go with it. If the parents are unreliable and inadequate, if they reject the infant or harm it, if other interests cause both parents to turn away from the infants needs to satisfy their own instead, then the infant will develop mistrust. He or she will be apprehensive and suspicious around people. Please understand that this doesn't mean that the parents have to be perfect. In fact, parents who are overly protective of the child, are there the minute the first cry comes out, will lead that child into the maladaptive ...

Solution Summary

This solution describes Erikson's theory and gives an example of how to apply a character to the stage of development. It also explains how to analyze empirical evidence in terms of the theory's strengths, weaknesses, and the conclusions drawn.