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Piaget's theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence, first developed

by Jean Piaget. It is primarily known as adevelopmental stage theory, but in fact, it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans come gradually to acquire, construct, and use it. To Piaget, cognitive development was a progressive reorganization of mental processes as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience. Children construct an understanding of the world around them, then [1] experience discrepancies between what they already know and what they discover in their environment. Moreover, Piaget claims the idea that cognitive development is at the center of human organism and language is contingent on cognitive development. Below, there is first a short description of Piaget's views about the nature of intelligence and then a description of the stages through which it develops until maturity. Nature of intelligence: operative and figurative intelligence[edit] Piaget believed that reality is a dynamic system of continuous change, and as such is defined in reference to the two conditions that define dynamic systems. Specifically, he argued that reality involves transformations and states. Transformations refer to all manners of changes that a thing or person can undergo. States refer to the conditions or the appearances in which things or persons can be found between transformations. For example, there might be changes in shape or form (for instance, liquids are reshaped as they are transferred from one vessel to another, humans change in their characteristics as they grow older), in size (e.g., a series of coins on a table might be placed close to each other or far apart) in placement or location in space and time (e.g., various objects or persons might be found at one place at one time and at a different place at another time). Thus, Piaget argued, that if human intelligence is to be adaptive, it must have functions to represent both the transformational and the static aspects of reality. He proposed that operative intelligence is responsible for the representation and manipulation of the dynamic or transformational aspects of reality and that figurative intelligence is responsible for the representation of the static aspects of reality.

Operative intelligence is the active aspect of intelligence. It involves all actions, overt or covert, undertaken in order to follow, recover, or anticipate the transformations of the objects or persons of interest. Figurative intelligence is the more or less static aspect of intelligence, involving all means of representation used to retain in mind the states (i.e., successive forms, shapes, or locations) that intervene between transformations. That is, it involves perception, imitation, mental imagery, drawing, and language. Therefore, the figurative aspects of intelligence derive their meaning from the operative aspects of intelligence, because states cannot exist independently of the transformations that interconnect them. Piaget believed that the figurative or the representational aspects of intelligence are subservient to its operative and dynamic aspects, and therefore, that understanding essentially derives from the operative aspect of intelligence. At any time, operative intelligence frames how the world is understood and it changes if understanding is not successful. Piaget believed that this process of understanding and change involves two basic functions: Assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation and accommodation[edit] Through studying the field of education Piaget focused on accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation, one of two processes coined by Jean Piaget, describes how humans perceive and adapt to new information. It is the process of taking ones environment and new information and fitting it into pre-existing cognitive schemas. Assimilation occurs when humans are faced with new or unfamiliar information and refer to previously learned information in order

to make sense of it. Accommodation, unlike assimilation is the process of taking one's environment and new information, and altering one's pre-existing schemas in order to fit in the new information. Through a series of stages, Piaget explains the ways in which characteristics are constructed that lead to specific types of thinking; this chart is called Cognitive Development. To Piaget, assimilation is integrating external

elements into structures of lives or environments or those we could have through experience. It is through assimilation that accommodation is derived. Accommodation is imperative because it is how people will continue to interpret new concepts, schemas, frameworks, etc. Assimilation is different from accommodation because of how it relates to the inner organism due to the environment. Piaget believes that the human brain has been programmed through evolution to bring equilibrium, and to move upwards in a process to equilibrate what is not. The equilibrium is what Piaget believes ultimately influences structures because of the internal and external processes through assimilation and accommodation. Piaget's understanding is that these two functions cannot exist without the other. To assimilate an object into an existing mental schema, one first needs to take into account or accommodate to the particularities of this object to a certain extent; for instance, to recognize (assimilate) an apple as an apple one needs first to focus (accommodate) on the contour of this object. To do this one needs to roughly recognize the size of the object. Development increases the balance or equilibration between these two functions. When in balance with each other, assimilation and accommodation generate mental schemas of the operative intelligence. When one function dominates over the other, they generate representations which belong to figurative intelligence. Sensorimotor stage[edit] The sensorimotor stage is the first of the four stages in cognitive development which "extends from birth to the acquisition of language".
[4] [3]

"In this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating experiences

(such as seeing and hearing) with physical, motoric actions. Infants gain knowledge of the world from the physical actions they perform on it. An infant progresses from reflexive, instinctual action at birth to the beginning of symbolic thought toward the end of the stage. Piaget divided the sensorimotor stage into six sub-stages":

from birth until the


age of two, infants have only senses: vision, hearing, and motor skills, such as grasping, sucking, and stepping.

The first stage is called the Sensorimotor stage (birth to about age 2). In this stage knowledge of the world is limited (but developing) because its based on physical interactions/experiences. The child learns that he is separate from his environment and that aspects of his environment continue to exist even though they may be outside the reach of his senses. Behaviors are limited to simple motor responses caused by sensory stimuli. In this stage according to Piaget, the development of object permanence is one of the most important accomplishments at the sensorimotor stage. (Object permanence is a childs understanding that objects continue to exist even though they cannot be seen or heard). Preoperational stage[edit] Piaget's second stage, the Pre-operational Stage, starts when the child begins to learn to speak at age 2 and lasts up until the age of 7. During the Pre-operational Stage of cognitive development, Piaget noted that children do not yet understand concrete logic and cannot mentally manipulate information. Childrens increase in playing and pretending takes place in this stage, however the child still has trouble seeing things from different points of view. The children's play is mainly categorized by symbolic play and manipulating symbols. Such play is demonstrated by the idea of checkers being snacks, pieces of paper being plates, and a box being a table. Their observations of symbols exemplifies the idea of play with the absence of the actual objects involved. By observing sequences of play, Jean Piaget was able to demonstrate that towards the end of the second year, a qualitatively new kind of psychological functioning occurs, this is known as the Pre-operational Stage. Concrete operational stage[edit]

The concrete operational stage is the third of four stages from Piaget's theory of cognitive development. [17] This stage, which follows the preoperational stage, occurs between the ages of 7 and 11 years and is

characterized by the appropriate use of logic. During this stage, a child's thought processes become more mature and "adult like." They start solving problems in a more logical fashion. Abstract, hypothetical thinking has not yet developed, and children can only solve problems that apply to concrete events or objects. Piaget determined that children are able to incorporate inductive reasoning. Inductive reasoning involves drawing inferences from observations in order to make a generalization. In contrast, children struggle with deductive reasoning, which involves using a generalized principle in order to try to predict the outcome of an event. Children in this stage commonly experience difficulties with figuring out logic in their heads. For example, a child will understand A>B and B>C, however when asked is A>C, said child might not be able to logically figure the question out in their hea Formal operational stage[edit] The final stage is known as Formal operational stage (adolescence and into adulthood): Intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. At this point, the person is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning. During this time, people develop the ability to think about abstract concepts. Piaget believed that deductive logic becomes important during the formal operational stage. This type of thinking involves hypothetical situations and is often required in science and mathematics. Abstract thought emerges during the formal operational stage. Children tend to think very concretely and specifically in earlier stages. Children begin to consider possible outcomes and consequences of actions. Problem-solving is demonstrated when children use trial-and-error to solve problems. The ability to systematically solve a problem in a logical and methodical way emerges.

In Freudian psychology, psychosexual development is a central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess an instinctual libido (sexual energy) that develops in five stages. Each stage the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital is characterized by the erogenous zone that is the source of the libidinal drive. Sigmund Freud proposed that if the child experienced sexual frustration in relation to any psychosexual developmental stage, s/he would experience anxiety that would persist into adulthood as a neurosis, a [1][2] functional mental disorder. Background[edit] Sigmund Freud (18561939) observed that during the predictable stages of early childhood development, the child's behavior is oriented towards certain parts of his or her body, e.g. the mouth during breast-feeding, the anus during toilet-training. He proposed that adult neurosis (functional mental disorder) often is rooted in childhood sexuality, therefore, said neurotic adult behaviors were manifestations of childhood sexual fantasy and desire. That is because human beings are born "polymorphously perverse", infants can derive sexual pleasure from any part of their bodies, and that socialization directs the instinctual libidinal drives into adult heterosexuality.

Given the predictable timeline

of childhood behavior, he proposed "libido development" as a model of normal childhood sexual development, wherein the child progresses through five psychosexual stages the oral; the anal; the phallic; the latent; and the genital in which the source pleasure is in a different erogenous zone. Freudian psychosexual development[edit] Sexual infantilism: in pursuing and satisfying his or her libido (sexual drive), the child might experience failure (parental and societal disapproval) and thus might associate anxiety with the given erogenous zone. To avoid

anxiety, the child becomes fixated, preoccupied with the psychologic themes related to the erogenous zone in question, which persist into adulthood, and underlie the personality and psychopathology of the man or woman, as neurosis,hysteria, personality disorders, et cetera.


Age Range

Erogenous zone

Consequences of psychologic fixation

Orally aggressive: chewing gum and the ends of pencils, etc. Oral Birth1 year Mouth Orally Passive: smoking, eating, kissing, oral sexual practices [4] Oral stage fixation might result in a passive, gullible, immature, manipulative personality.


13 years

Bowel and bladder elimination

Anal retentive: Obsessively organized, or excessively neat Anal expulsive: reckless, careless, defiant, disorganized, coprophiliac

Oedipus complex (in boys and girls); according to Sigmund Freud. Phallic 36 years Genitalia Electra complex (in girls); according to Carl Jung. Latency 6puberty Dormant sexual feelings Sexual unfulfillment if fixation occurs in this stage.


Puberty death

Sexual interests mature

Frigidity, impotence, unsatisfactory relationships

Oral stage[edit] Main article: Oral stage The first stage of psychosexual development is the oral stage, spanning from birth until the age of two years, wherein the infant's mouth is the focus of libidinal gratification derived from the pleasure of feeding at the mother's breast, and from the oral exploration of his or her environment, i.e. the tendency to place objects in the mouth. The id dominates, because neither the ego nor the super ego is yet fully developed, and, since the infant has no personality (identity), every action is based upon the pleasure principle. Nonetheless, the infantile ego is forming during the oral stage; two factors contribute to its formation: (i) in developing a body image, he or she is discrete from the external world, e.g. the child understands pain when it is applied to his or her body, thus identifying the physical boundaries between body and environment; (ii) experiencing delayed gratification leads to understanding that specific behaviors satisfy some needs, e.g. crying gratifies certain needs.

Weaning is the key experience in the infant's oral stage of psychosexual development, his or her first feeling of loss consequent to losing the physical intimacy of feeding at mother's breast. Yet, weaning increases the infant's selfawareness that he or she does not control the environment, and thus learns of delayed gratification, which leads to the formation of the capacities forindependence (awareness of the limits of the self) and trust (behaviors

leading to gratification). Yet, thwarting of the oral-stage too much or too little gratification of desire

might lead to an oral-stage fixation, characterised by passivity, gullibility, immaturity, unrealistic optimism, which is manifested in a manipulative personality consequent to ego malformation. In the case of too much gratification, the child does not learn that he or she does not control the environment, and that gratification is not always immediate, thereby forming an immature personality. In the case of too little gratification, the infant might become passive upon learning that gratification is not forthcoming, despite having produced the gratifying behavior. Anal stage[edit] Main article: Anal stage The second stage of psychosexual development is the anal stage, spanning from the age of eighteen months to three years, wherein the infant's erogenous zone changes from the mouth (the upper digestive tract) to the anus (the lower digestive tract), while the ego formation continues. Toilet training is the child's key anal-stage experience, occurring at about the age of two years, and results in conflict between the Id (demanding immediate gratification) and the Ego (demanding delayed gratification) in eliminating bodily wastes, and handling related activities (e.g. manipulating excrement, coping with parental demands). The style of parenting influences the resolution of the Id Ego conflict, which can be either gradual and psychologically uneventful, or which can be sudden and psychologically traumatic. The ideal resolution of the IdEgo conflict is in the child's adjusting to moderate parental demands that teach the value and importance of physical cleanliness and environmental order, thus producing a self-controlled adult. Yet, if the parents make immoderate demands of the child, by over-emphasizing toilet training, it might lead to the development of a compulsive personality, a person too concerned with neatness and order. If the child obeys the Id, and the parents yield, he or she might develop a self-indulgent personality characterized by personal slovenliness and environmental disorder. If the parents respond to that, the child must comply, but might develop a weak sense of Self, because it was the parents' will, and not the child's ego, who controlled the toilet training. Phallic stage[edit] Main article: Phallic stage The third stage of psychosexual development is the phallic stage, spanning the ages of three to six years, wherein the child's genitalia are his or her primary erogenous zone. It is in this third infantile development stage that children become aware of their bodies, the bodies of other children, and the bodies of their parents; they gratify physical curiosity by undressing and exploring each other and their genitals, and so learn the physical (sexual) differences between "male" and "female" and the gender differences between "boy" and "girl". In the phallic stage, a boy's decisive psychosexual experience is the Oedipus complex, his sonfather competition for possession of mother. This psychological complex derives from the 5th-century BC Greek mythologic characterOedipus, who unwittingly killed his father, Laius, and sexually possessed his mother, Jocasta. Analogously, in the phallic stage, a girl's decisive psychosexual experience is the Electra complex, her daughtermother competition for psychosexual possession of father. This psychological complex derives from the 5th-century BC Greek mythologic Electra, who plotted matricidal revenge with Orestes, her brother, against Clytemnestra, their mother, and Aegisthus, their stepfather, for their murder of Agamemnon, their father, (cf. Electra, by Sophocles).
[6][7][8] [5]

Initially, Freud equally applied the Oedipus complex to the psychosexual development of boys and girls, but later developed the female aspects of the theory as the feminine Oedipus attitudeand the negative Oedipus

complex; yet, it was his studentcollaborator, Carl Jung, who coined the term Electra complex in [10][11] 1913. Nonetheless, Freud rejected Jung's term aspsychoanalytically inaccurate: "that what we have said about the Oedipus complex applies with complete strictness to the male child only, and that we are


right in rejecting the term 'Electra complex', which seeks to emphasize the analogy between the attitude of the two sexes".

Oedipus : Despite mother being the parent who primarily gratifies the child's desires, the child begins forming a discrete sexual identity "boy", "girl" that alters the dynamics of the parent and child relationship; the parents become the focus of infantile libidinal energy. The boy focuses his libido (sexual desire) upon his mother, and focuses jealousy and emotional rivalry against his father because it is he who sleeps with mother. To facilitate uniting him with his mother, the boy's id wants to kill father (as did Oedipus), but the ego, pragmatically based upon the reality principle, knows that the father is the stronger of the two males competing to possess the one female. Nevertheless, the boy remains ambivalent about his father's place in the family, which is manifested as fear of castration by the physically greater father; the fear is an irrational, subconscious manifestation of the infantile Id.

Electra : Whereas boys develop castration anxiety, girls develop penis envy that is rooted in anatomic fact: without a penis, she cannot sexually possess mother, as the infantile id demands. Resultantly, the girl redirects her desire for sexual union upon father; thus, she progresses towards heterosexual femininity that culminates in bearing a child who replaces the absent penis. Moreover, after the phallic stage, the girl's psychosexual development includes transferring her primary erogenous zone from the infantile clitoris to the adult vagina. Freud thus considered a girl's Oedipal conflict to be more emotionally intense than that of a boy, resulting, potentially, in a submissive woman of insecure personality.

Psychologic defense : In both sexes, defense mechanisms provide transitory resolutions of the conflict between the drives of the Id and the drives of the Ego. The first defense mechanism is repression, the blocking of memories, emotional impulses, and ideas from the conscious mind; yet it does not resolve the IdEgo conflict. The second defense mechanism is Identification, by which the child incorporates, to his or her ego, the personality characteristics of the same-sex parent; in so adapting, the boy diminishes his castration anxiety, because his likeness to father protects him from father's wrath as a rival for mother; by so adapting, the girl facilitates identifying with mother, who understands that, in being females, neither of them possesses a penis, and thus they are not antagonists.

Dnouement : Unresolved psychosexual competition for the opposite-sex parent might produce a phallicstage fixation leading a girl to become a woman who continually strives to dominate men (viz. penis envy), either as an unusually seductive woman (high self-esteem) or as an unusually submissive woman (low self-esteem). In a boy, a phallic-stage fixation might lead him to become an aggressive, over-ambitious, vain man. Therefore, the satisfactory parental handling and resolution of the Oedipus complex and of the Electra complex are most important in developing the infantile super-ego, because, by identifying with a parent, the child internalizes morality, thereby, choosing to comply with societal rules, rather than having to reflexively comply in fear of punishment. Latency stage[edit] Main article: Latency stage The fourth stage of psychosexual development is the latency stage that spans from the age of six years until puberty, wherein the child consolidates the character habits he or she developed in the three, earlier stages of psychologic and sexual development. Whether or not the child has successfully resolved the Oedipal conflict, the instinctual drives of the id are inaccessible to the Ego, because his or her defense mechanisms repressed them during the phallic stage. Hence, because said drives are latent (hidden) and gratification is delayed unlike during the

preceding oral, anal, and phallic stages the child must derive the pleasure of gratification from secondary process-thinking that directs the libidinal drives towards external activities, such as schooling, friendships, hobbies, etc. Any neuroses established during the fourth, latent stage, of psychosexual

development might derive from the inadequate resolution either of the Oedipus conflict or of the Ego's failure to direct his or her energies towards socially acceptable activities. Genital stage[edit] Main article: Genital stage The fifth stage of psychosexual development is the genital stage that spans puberty and adult life, and thus occupies most of the life of a man and of a woman; its purpose is the psychologic detachment and independence from the parents. The genital stage affords the person the ability to confront and resolve his or her remaining psychosexual childhood conflicts. As in the phallic stage, the genital stage is centered upon the genitalia, but the sexuality is consensual and adult, rather than solitary and infantile. The psychological difference between the phallic and genital stages is that the ego is established in the latter; the person's concern shifts from primary-drive gratification (instinct) to applying secondary process-thinking to gratify desire symbolically andintellectually by means of friendships, a love relationship, family and adult responsibilities.

Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, as articulated by Erik Erikson, explain eight stages through which a healthily developing humanshould pass from infancy to late adulthood. In each stage, the person confronts, and hopefully masters, new challenges. Each stage builds upon the successful completion of earlier stages. The challenges of stages not successfully completed may be expected to reappear as problems in the future. However, mastery of a stage is not required to advance to the next stage. Erikson's stage theory characterizes an individual advancing through the eight life stages as a function of negotiating his or her biological forces and sociocultural forces. Each stage is characterized by a psychosocial crisis of these two conflicting forces (as shown in the table below). If an individual does indeed successfully reconcile these forces (favoring the first mentioned attribute in the crisis), he or she emerges from the stage with the corresponding virtue. For example, if an infant enters into the toddler stage (autonomy vs. shame & doubt) with more trust than mistrust, he or she carries the virtue of hope into the remaining life stages. The stages[edit]

Approximate Age


Psycho Social Crisis


Significant Relationship[2]

Existential Question[2]


02 years


Basic Trust vs. Mistrust


Can I Trust the World?

Feeding, Abandonment

24 years


Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt


Is It Okay To Be Me?

Toilet Training, Clothing Themselves

45 years


Initiative vs. Guilt


Is It Okay For Me To Do, Move and Act?

Exploring, Using Tools or Making Art

512 years


Industry vs. Inferiority

Neighbors, School

Can I Make It In The World Of People And Things?

School, Sports

1319 years


Identity vs. Role Confusion

Peers, Role Model

Who Am I? What Can I Be?

Social Relationships

2024 years


Intimacy vs. Isolation Friends, Partners

Can I Love?

Romantic Relationships

2564 years


Generativity vs. Stagnation

Household, Workmates

Can I Make My Life Count?

Work, Parenthood



Ego Integrity vs. Despair

Mankind, My Kind

Is It Okay To Have Been Me?

Reflection on Life

Hopes: Trust vs. Mistrust (Oral-sensory, Birth-2 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Can I Trust the World?

The first stage of Erik Erikson's theory centers around the infant's basic needs being met by the parents and this interaction leading to trust or mistrust. Trust as defined by Erikson is "an essential truthfulness of others as well as a fundamental sense of one's own trustworthiness."

The infant depends on the parents, especially the mother, for

sustenance and comfort. The child's relative understanding of world and society come from the parents and their interaction with the child. If the parents expose the child to warmth, regularity, and dependable affection, the infant's view of the world will be one of trust. Should the parents fail to provide a secure environment and to meet the child's basic needs a sense of mistrust will result. withdrawal, and a lack of confidence.
[4] [5]

Development of mistrust can lead to feelings of frustration, suspicion,

According to Erik Erikson, the major developmental task in infancy is to learn whether or not other people, especially primary caregivers, regularly satisfy basic needs. If caregivers are consistent sources of food, comfort, and affection, an infant learns trust- that others are dependable and reliable. If they are neglectful, or perhaps even abusive, the infant instead learns mistrust- that the world is in an undependable, unpredictable, and possibly a dangerous place. While negative, having some experience with mistrust allows the infant to gain an understanding of what constitutes dangerous situations later in life.

Will: Autonomy vs. Shame & Doubt (Muscular-Anal, 2-4 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Is It OK to Be Me?

As the child gains control over eliminative functions and motor abilities, they begin to explore their surroundings. The parents still provide a strong base of security from which the child can venture out to assert their will. The parents' patience and encouragement helps foster autonomy in the child. Children at this age like to explore the world around

them and they are constantly learning about their environment. Caution must be taken at this age while children may explore things that are dangerous to their health and safety. At this age children develop their first interests. For example, a child who enjoys music may like to play with the radio. Children who enjoy the outdoors may be interested in animals and plants. Highly restrictive parents, however, are more likely to instill in the child a sense of doubt, and reluctance to attempt new challenges. As they gain increased muscular coordination and mobility, toddlers become capable of satisfying some of their own needs. They begin to feed themselves, wash and dress themselves, and use the bathroom. If caregivers encourage self-sufficient behavior, toddlers develop a sense of autonomya sense of being able to handle many problems on their own. But if caregivers demand too much too soon, refuse to let children perform tasks of which they are capable, or ridicule early attempts at self-sufficiency, children may instead develop shame and doubt about their ability to handle problems. Purpose: Initiative vs. Guilt (Locomotor-Genital, Preschool, 4-5 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Is it OK for Me to Do, Move, and Act?

Initiative adds to autonomy the quality of undertaking, planning and attacking a task for the sake of just being active and on the move. The child is learning to master the world around them, learning basic skills and principles of physics. Things fall down, not up. Round things roll. They learn how to zip and tie, count and speak with ease. At this stage, the child wants to begin and complete their own actions for a purpose. Guilt is a confusing new emotion. They may feel guilty over things that logically should not cause guilt. They may feel guilt when this initiative does not produce desired results. The development of courage and independence are what set preschoolers, ages three to six years of age, apart from other age groups. Young children in this category face the challenge of initiative versus guilt. As described in Bee and Boyd (2004),

the child during this stage faces the complexities of planning and developing a sense of judgment.

During this stage, the child learns to take initiative and prepare for leadership and goal achievement roles. Activities sought out by a child in this stage may include risk-taking behaviors, such as crossing a street alone or riding a bike without a helmet; both these examples involve self-limits. Within instances requiring initiative, the child may also develop negative behaviors. These behaviors are a result of the child developing a sense of frustration for not being able to achieve a goal as planned and may engage in behaviors that seem aggressive, ruthless, and overly assertive to parents. Aggressive behaviors, such as throwing objects, hitting, or yelling, are examples of observable behaviors during this stage. ** Preschoolers are increasingly able to accomplish tasks on their own, and can start new things. With this growing independence comes many choices about activities to be pursued. Sometimes children take on projects they can readily accomplish, but at other times they undertake projects that are beyond their capabilities or that interfere with other people's plans and activities. If parents and preschool teachers encourage and support children's efforts, while also helping them make realistic and appropriate choices, children develop initiative- independence in planning and undertaking activities. But if, instead, adults discourage the pursuit of independent activities or dismiss them as silly and bothersome, children develop guilt about their needs and desires. Competence: Industry vs. Inferiority (Latency, 5-12 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Can I Make it in the World of People and Things?

The aim to bring a productive situation to completion gradually supersedes the whims and wishes of play. The fundamentals of technology are developed. To lose the hope of such "industrious" association may pull the child back to the more isolated, less conscious familial rivalry of the Oedipal time.
[citation needed]

"Children at this age are becoming more aware of themselves as individuals." They work hard at "being responsible, being good and doing it right." They are now more reasonable to share and cooperate. Allen and Marotz (2003)

also list some perceptual cognitive developmental traits specific for this age group. Children grasp the

concepts of space and time in more logical, practical ways. They gain a better understanding of cause and effect, and of calendar time. At this stage, children are eager to learn and accomplish more complex skills: reading, writing, telling time. They also get to form moral values, recognize cultural and individual differences and are able to manage most of their personal needs and grooming with minimal assistance. independence by talking back and being disobedient and rebellious. Erikson viewed the elementary school years as critical for the development of self-confidence. Ideally, elementary school provides many opportunities for children to achieve the recognition of teachers, parents and peers by producing things- drawing pictures, solving addition problems, writing sentences, and so on. If children are encouraged to make and do things and are then praised for their accomplishments, they begin to demonstrate industry by being diligent, persevering at tasks until completed, and putting work before pleasure. If children are instead ridiculed or punished for their efforts or if they find they are incapable of meeting their teachers' and parents' expectations, they develop feelings of inferiority about their capabilities.
[1] [7]

At this stage, children might express their

At this age, children start recognizing their special talents and continue to discover interests as their education improves. They may begin to choose to do more activities to pursue that interest, such as joining a sport if they know they have athletic ability, or joining the band if they are good at music. If not allowed to discover own talents in their own time, they will develop a sense of lack of motivation, low self-esteem, and lethargy. They may become "couch potatoes" if they are not allowed to develop interests. Fidelity: Identity vs. Role Confusion (Adolescence, 13-19 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Who Am I and What Can I Be?

The adolescent is newly concerned with how they appear to others. Superego identity is the accrued confidence that the outer sameness and continuity prepared in the future are matched by the sameness and continuity of one's meaning for oneself, as evidenced in the promise of a career. The ability to settle on a school or occupational identity is pleasant. In later stages of Adolescence, the child develops a sense of sexual identity. As they make the transition from childhood to adulthood, adolescents ponder the roles they will play in the adult world. Initially, they are apt to experience some role confusionmixed ideas and feelings about the specific ways in which they will fit into society and may experiment with a variety of behaviors and activities (e.g. tinkering with cars, baby-sitting for neighbors, affiliating with certain political or religious groups). Eventually, Erikson proposed, most adolescents achieve a sense of identity regarding who they are and where their lives are headed. Erikson is credited with coining the term "Identity Crisis."

Each stage that came before and that follows has its own

'crisis', but even more so now, for this marks the transition from childhood to adulthood. This passage is necessary because "Throughout infancy and childhood, a person forms many identifications. But the need for identity in youth is not met by these."

This turning point in human development seems to be the reconciliation between 'the person one

has come to be' and 'the person society expects one to become'. This emerging sense of self will be established by 'forging' past experiences with anticipations of the future. In relation to the eight life stages as a whole, the fifth stage corresponds to the crossroads:

What is unique about the stage of Identity is that it is a special sort of synthesis of earlier stages and a special sort of anticipation of later ones. Youth has a certain unique quality in a person's life; it is a bridge between childhood and adulthood. Youth is a time of radical changethe great body changes accompanying puberty, the ability of the mind to search one's own intentions and the intentions of others, the suddenly sharpened awareness of the roles society has offered for later life.

Adolescents "are confronted by the need to re-establish [boundaries] for themselves and to do this in the face of an often potentially hostile world."

This is often challenging since commitments are being asked for before particular

identity roles have formed. At this point, one is in a state of 'identity confusion', but society normally makes allowances for youth to "find themselves," and this state is called 'the moratorium': The problem of adolescence is one of role confusion a reluctance to commit which may haunt a person into his mature years. Given the right conditionsand Erikson believes these are essentially having enough space and time, a psychosocial moratorium, when a person can freely experiment and explore what may emerge is a firm sense of identity, an emotional and deep awareness of who he or she is.

As in other stages, bio-psycho-social forces are at work. No matter how one has been raised, ones personal ideologies are now chosen for oneself. Often, this leads to conflict with adults over religious and political orientations. Another area where teenagers are deciding for themselves is their career choice, and often parents want to have a decisive say in that role. If society is too insistent, the teenager will acquiesce to external wishes, effectively forcing him or her to foreclose on experimentation and, therefore, true self -discovery. Once someone settles on a worldview and vocation, will he or she be able to integrate this aspect of self-definition into a diverse society? According to Erikson, when an adolescent has balanced both perspectives of What have I got? and What am I going to do with it? he or she has established their identity:

Dependent on this stage is the ego quality of fidelitythe ability to sustain loyalties freely pledged in spite of the inevitable contradictions and confusions of value systems. (Italics in original)

Given that the next stage (Intimacy) is often characterized by marriage, many are tempted to cap off the fifth stage at 20 years of age. However, these age ranges are actually quite fluid, especially for the achievement of identity, since it may take many years to become grounded, to identify the object of one's fidelity, to feel that one has "come of age." In the biographies Young Man Luther and Gandhi's Truth, Erikson determined that their crises ended at ages 25 and 30, respectively: Erikson does note that the time of Identity crisis for persons of genius is frequently prolonged. He further notes that in our industrial society, identity formation tends to be long, because it takes us so long to gain the skills needed for adulthoods tasks in our technological world. So we do not have an exact time span in which to find ourselves. It doesn't happen automatically at eighteen or at twenty-one. A very approximate rule of thumb for our society would put the end somewhere in one's twenties.

Love: Intimacy vs. Isolation (Young adulthood, 20-24, or 20-40 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Can I Love?

The Intimacy vs. Isolation conflict is emphasized around the age of 30. At the start of this stage, identity vs. role confusion is coming to an end, though it still lingers at the foundation of the stage (Erikson, 1950). Young adults are still eager to blend their identities with friends. They want to fit in. Erikson believes we are sometimes isolated due to intimacy. We are afraid of rejections such as being turned down or our partners breaking up with us. We are familiar with pain, and to some of us, rejection is painful; our egos cannot bear the pain. Erikson also argues that "Intimacy has a counterpart: Distantiation: the readiness to isolate and if necessary, to destroy those forces and people whose essence seems dangerous to our own, and whose territory seems to encroach on the extent of one's intimate relations" (1950).

Once people have established their identities, they are ready to make long-term commitments to others. They become capable of forming intimate, reciprocal relationships (e.g. through close friendships or marriage) and willingly make the sacrifices and compromises that such relationships require. If people cannot form these intimate relationships perhaps because of their own needs a sense of isolation may result. Care: Generativity vs. Stagnation (Middle adulthood, 25-64, or 40-64 years)[edit]

Existential Question: Can I Make My Life Count?

Generativity is the concern of guiding the next generation. Socially-valued work and disciplines are expressions of generativity. Simply having or wanting children does not in and of itself achieve generativity. The adult stage of generativity has broad application to family, relationships, work, and society. Generativity, then is primarily the concern in establishing and guiding the next generation...the concept is meant to include...productivity and creativity.

During middle age the primary developmental task is one of contributing to society and helping to guide future generations. When a person makes a contribution during this period, perhaps by raising a family or working toward the betterment of society, a sense of generativity- a sense of productivity and accomplishment- results. In contrast, a person who is self-centered and unable or unwilling to help society move forward develops a feeling of stagnation- a dissatisfaction with the relative lack of productivity. Central tasks of middle adulthood

Express love through more than sexual contacts. Maintain healthy life patterns. Develop a sense of unity with mate. Help growing and grown children to be responsible adults. Relinquish central role in lives of grown children. Accept children's mates and friends. Create a comfortable home. Be proud of accomplishments of self and mate/spouse. Reverse roles with aging parents. Achieve mature, civic and social responsibility. Adjust to physical changes of middle age. Use leisure time creatively.

Wisdom: Ego Integrity vs. Despair (Late adulthood, 65-death)[edit]

Existential Question: Is it OK to Have Been Me?

As we grow older and become senior citizens we tend to slow down our productivity and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life. If we see our life as unproductive, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness. The final developmental task is retrospection: people look back on their lives and accomplishments. They develop feelings of contentment and integrity if they believe that they have led a happy, productive life. They may instead develop a sense of despair if they look back on a life of disappointments and unachieved goals. This stage can occur out of the sequence when an individual feels they are near the end of their life (such as when receiving a terminal disease diagnosis). Development of Freudian theory[edit] Erikson was a student of Sigmund Freud, whose psychoanalytic theory and psychosexual stages contributed to the basic outline of the eight stages, at least those concerned with childhood. Namely, the first four of Erikson's life stages correspond to Freud's oral, anal, phallic, and latency phases, respectively. Also, the fifth stage of adolescence is said to parallel the genital stage in psychosexual development: Although the first three phases are linked to those of the Freudian theory, it can be seen that they are conceived along very different lines. emphasis is not so much on sexual modes and their consequences as on the ego qualities which emerge from each stages. There is an attempt also to link the sequence of individual development to the broader context of society.

Erikson saw a dynamic at work throughout life, one that did not stop at adolescence. He also viewed the life stages as a cycle: the end of one generation was the beginning of the next. Seen in its social context, the life stages were linear for an individual but circular for societal development:

In Freud's view, development is largely complete by


adolescence. In contrast, one of Freud's students, Erik Erikson (1902-1994) believed that development continues throughout life. Erikson took the foundation laid by Freud and extended it through adulthood and into late life. Value of the theory[edit] One value of this theory is that it illuminates why individuals who have been thwarted in the healthy resolution of early phases (such as in learning healthy levels of trust and autonomy in toddlerhood) had such difficulty with the crises that came in adulthood. More importantly, it did so in a way that provided answers for practical application. It raised new potential for therapists and their patients to identify key issues and skills which required addressing. But at the same time, it yielded a guide or yardstick that could be used to assess teaching and child rearing practices in terms of their ability to nurture and facilitate healthy emotional and cognitive development. Every adult, whether he is a follower or a leader, a member of a mass or of an elite, was once a child. He was once small. A sense of smallness forms a substratum in his mind, ineradicably. His triumphs will be measured against this smallness, his defeats will substantiate it. The questions as to who is bigger and who can do or not do this or that, and to whom these questions fill the adult's inner life far beyond the necessities and the desirabilities which he understands and for which he plans.