CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISM ANYONE??!!
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) founded the discipline of psychoanalysis and is widely known for his view on basic human motivation as the "sexual drive". His theory describes the developmental process as an unconscious act. Understanding the basic necessities of life being food, shelter and warmth; Freud believed fulfilling these instincts, through development, constructed the foundations for human sexuality. As a result of his close observations, Freud went on to fabricate his five stage theory, encompassing oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital stages which in conjunction we know as the Psychosexual theory. The first stage; "Oral stage", begins at infancy and ends at approximately eighteen months. This stage focuses on pleasure being centered around the mouth, "sucking and biting are favorite activities" (Boeree, 2009).
According to Freud early experiences played a huge role in personality, and a child's personality is mostly established by the age of five, although Freud's idea concerning orality and anality have been extremely influential, his theory seems to overemphasize the role of sexuality in human psychological development and experience (Quigley, 1998). Inevitably, research has failed to support the linking of specific conflicts during these stages to later personality traits.
A wider perspective of development throughout the lifespan is demonstrated in the Piagetian Theory, of cognitive development. The Swiss psychologist and philosopher, Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is well-known for his work towards the cognitive sciences. Arguably one of his most important contributions involves his theory of cognitive development. In this theory, thinking progresses through four distinct stages between infancy and adulthood. Children are naturally curious, Educational Psychologist Huitt, W., & Hummel, J. (2003) suggest that as schemes become increasingly more complex, (i.e., responsible for more complex behaviors) they are termed structures. As one's structures become more complex, they are organized in a hierarchical manner. The four major stages of Piaget's theory are Sensorimotor, Pre-operational, Concrete operational and Formal operational stage.
Piaget's first, and most basic, contribution to the study of infant cognition was that infants do, in fact, think. The "Sensorimotor stage" begins at conception and ends round about twenty-four months, the child continues on demonstrating intellect through uses of sense and motor skills. Although knowledge of the world is little, the child is still developing and "is learning through active interaction with the environment" (Keeble-Devlin, 2011).
Piaget's approach has proved remarkably valuable, For example, "it is now well documented that children across cultures accomplish certain Piagetian tasks approximately at the ages and in the sequence predicted" (Brainerd, 1978; DeLemos, 1969). A broader perspective of child development is reflected in Erikson's theory, his theory describes the impact of social experience across the whole lifespan and is heavily influenced by ones ego identity. This main element suggests "the conscious sense of self that we develop through social interaction" (Cherry, 2005).
Erik Erikson (1902-1994) a psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his eight stage theory of psychosocial development. Erikson believed that individual development takes place in a social context, and that it is a lifelong process. Erikson also state's that "development occurs through a series of basic crises of issues, through the lifespan" (Berger, 1991) Erikson's first Psychosocial stage is "Trust versus Mistrust". This first stage occurs from birth until about eighteen months. During the first year of life infants rely on others for their basic needs, the positive outcome of this stage is a sense of trust, if the child is cared for in a warm, caring environment they are apt to trust the environment. Likewise, if the parent is angry, anxious or incapable of meeting the child's needs, the child may develop a sense of mistrust.
Erikson's theory continues on through childhood to adulthood, and in sequence carry on as follows: Autonomy vs. Shame/Doubt, Initiative vs. Guilt, Industry vs. Inferiority, Identity vs. Role confusion, Intimacy vs. Isolation, Generatively vs. Stagnation and Integrity vs. Despair (Keeble-Devlin, 2011). Each stage in the psychosocial theory is concerned with becoming adept in an area of life. If the stage is handled well, the person will feel a sense of mastery, "which he sometimes refers to as ego strength or ego quality" (Cherry, 2005)
Through analyzing and comparing these theories, scientists are able to better understand how child development occurs and the process it takes in creating a functional human being.