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Erikson's Theory and Stage Development

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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 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 in the Library article search engine Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection.

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?

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Solution Preview

Your tentative outline might be something to the effect...

I. Introduction
II. Erikson Psychosocial Theory of Development
a.Stage 1
b.Stage 2
c.And so on...
III. Characters at each Stage
IV. Empirical Evidence
V. Conclusion

Let's look at some information that you can consider for each section of the outline through looking at the following question.

Scenario:
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:

1. Give a description of Erikson's theory, including the stages of development using the criteria listed above.

Briefly, Erikson's theory consists of eight stages of development. Each stage is characterized by a different conflict that must be resolved by the individual. When the environment makes new demands on people, the conflicts arise. "The person is faced with a choice between two ways of coping with each crisis, an adaptive, or maladaptive way. Only when each crisis is resolved, which involves a change in the personality, does the person have sufficient strength to deal with the next stages of development" (Schultz and Schultz, 1987). If a person is unable to resolve a conflict at a particular stage, they will confront and struggle with it later in life. (http://web.cortland.edu/andersmd/ERIK/stageint.HTML).

Erikson's theory is concerned with the ego, the development of the self. 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. (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/erikson.html)

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. (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/erikson.html)

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. (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/erikson.html)

Chart 1: Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development (see attached file)

Chart 2: Erikson's Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development (see attached file)

1. 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. ...

Solution Summary

Referring to an advertising project, this solution describes Erikson's theory, including the stages of development and identifies a movie and television character for each stage of the theory. It also looks at research to provide support for Erikson's theory.

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