Comparing Erikson to Piaget

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A number of changes occur in one’s life from infancy to adolescence to adulthood. These changes, known as stages of development, caught the attention of theorists Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson. Piaget was primarily interested in how things were processed by individuals and concluded that development occurs in distinct, measurable, and observable stages. He also suggested that development growth had nothing to do with experience, but one’s own characteristics. Piaget’s theory of stages are Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operational, and Formal Operational (Coon & Mitterer, 2008, p. 97). Erikson, on the other hand, theorized a series of eight stages that he believed individuals go through to reach their full development. They are hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, car, and wisdom (Louw, 1998, pp. 49-50). Both theorists had the same idea that cognitive development took place in stages, but based on the number of stages developed by Piaget and Erikson, you can see that they their style of thinking on how development occurs was different. Piaget was focused on the learning stages of children and how they reason and think differently throughout different times in their lives. He also believed children couldn’t differentiate between their perspective and someone else’s until they reach a certain age, and that they all go through the stages around the same age (Coon & Mitterer, 2008, p. 99). Erikson was more focused on one’s life cycle. He believed a child’s environment has a lot to do with how they will grow, adjust, have self awareness, and learn their identity. As a result, this will have an effect on their ability to think, perceive, and remember. Although Piaget focused on ability to acquire and Erikson focused more on personal and social decisions, when it came to series of life events, they both chose to go in order of progression of age (Louw, 1998, p. 51). Piaget’s and Erikson’s theories of social and moral development are applicable to...
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