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Freud, Erikson and Piaget

How do the theories of Freud, Erikson & Piaget relate to the topic of human development? How are they different and similar?

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Freud, Erikson & Piaget: Developmental Theories

Developmental theories are theories that explore the mechanisms behind human growth - how we learn, how we develop and become the individuals that we are. Such theories are important in the study of developmental psychology which studies how human beings develop throughout the stages of a lifetime from infancy to reaching the elderly years. The focus is not only regarding the physical development but encompasses the social, cognitive and emotional development of individuals as they journey through life. What developmental theories provide are frameworks from which to explore the question of human development. Some of the key theorists in this are whose ideas had a great impact in the field are Sigmund Freud, Erik Erickson and Jean Piaget. This paper will look at the thinkers and their theories, how they are similar and how they differ from each other.

Sigmund Freud:

Psychologists point to Sigmund Freud as part of the triumvirate who established the field of psychology (the other 2 being Carl Jung and Alfred Adler). Freud's insight into the creation of human personality, human sexuality, desires and their relation to identity and behavior are seen as fundamental development theories because it explains how the human mind works. Central to the question of the human mind is the ego, for the ego is central to the inner mechanisms of the human mind. Freud presented the framework of the 'id, ego and super ego'. Sigmund Freud's belief is that personality revolves and emanates from the interaction of this structure with reality.

1. Id: This is the unorganised and even unrealised elements of personality that influence and move the basic needs, wants and desires of man; the id is driven by the 'pleasure principle' where the ideal is to avoid as much pain and difficulty as possible and to gain as much pleasure at the least possible difficult manner.

2. Ego: The conscious part of the psychic apparatus, it is aware of the world and its realities; it answers the demands of the id by working to achieve them in ways that reality and convention allows, constantly working towards achieving the most possible gain with minimized difficulty and grief. The ego attempts to mediate the demands of the id with that of reality via defensive, perceptual, cognitive, intellectual and emotional functions.

3. Super-Ego: The super ego is the ethical element, the conscience of the system. It is the opposite of the ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides a discussion of the psychological and developmental theories of Sigmund Freud, Erik Erikson and Jean Piaget as they relate or explain human development.