Personal Portrait

Topics: Developmental psychology, Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, Erik Erikson Pages: 8 (1777 words) Published: June 2, 2012
Personal Portrait

Barbara Cooper

CST5003 – Survey Research in Human Development and Behavior

Instructor: Dr. C. R. Auxier

Capella University

October 31, 2010


In this paper I will attempt to develop a personal portrait of my life integrating developmental theory, moral development, gender and cultural influences.

Theorist Erik Erikson’s developmental theory is best known for its theories on personality. He believed that an individual’s personality is developed in a series of stages impacted by social experiences throughout the whole life span. His model of development was the first offered by a theorist that extended over the entire life span. The massive influence of culture on behavior led Erikson to place more emphasis on the external world and believed that the course of an individual’s development is determined by the interaction of the body, mind, and cultural influences (Harder, 2002). He organized life into nine stages, from birth to death.

In comparison, psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development holds that moral reasoning has stages also, and are the basis for one’s ethical behavior and continues throughout an individual’s lifetime.

Below, I will attempt to analyze my life stage by stage according to Erikson’s developmental theory and compare it to Kohlberg’s developmental model of moral development.


Develop a personal portrait integrating developmental theory, moral development, and gender and cultural influences:

Part 1: Analyze your life stage by stage, according to Erik Erikson’s developmental theory, and discuss milestones and successes in each stage.

Stage 1

Infancy: (Trust vs. Mistrust)

Of course, there’s not much I can remember about myself during this time, but from what my parents and others have told me I learned quickly, was very alert to my surroundings, and quite independent. One of the milestones I accomplished during this time was walking, which I began to do at 8 months. I believe that this was an early sign that I was a driven person, I trusted myself, and had hope. I also believe that because I had parents who loved and cared for me it gave me confidence and I learned to trust, I felt safe and that life was okay.

Stage 2

Early Childhood: (Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt)

Again, this was a very early period of my life, which I don’t remember much, so I have to depend on what I was told by others, such as my parents. I think that because I began walking at such an early age, earlier than most, my self-control, courage, and will was rather apparent. It was during this time that I began to talk, was potty-trained, and began to learn right from wrong. I really believe that it was during this time that my self-esteem began to develop. I also think that during this stage is when I began to recognize the loving relationship with my parents and how significant it was to my development.

Stage 3

Play Age: (Initiative vs. Guilt)

I can remember my mother telling me that once I knew how to talk I discovered the word “why” and wanted to know about everything. I believe it was during this period that I began playing with dolls and other toys and taking the initiative to play out roles as I saw them being played out by the adults around me. I began to recognize a sense of purpose as I began to assert control over my immediate environment.

Stage 4

School Age: (Industry vs. Inferiority)

At this stage in my life, I believe new social and academic challenges were most important to me. Being able to learn, create, and accomplish new skills and knowledge, resulted in me developing a sense of industry. It was a time that success gave me a sense of competence, while on the other hand, if I experienced failure or inadequacy in my endeavors, it left me with a feeling of inferiority.

It was also during this stage, that...
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