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Piaget vs. Erikson

By | September 2012
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All developmental theories attempt to provide a context for understanding how individual experiences and behavior change over time. Theories are practical in that they provide a framework for interpretation and research, as well as a coherent set of assumptions that aid inquiry. Cognitive theories believe that a person’s thought processes have an important effect on his or her understanding of the world, and thus on the person’s development. 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.They both formed very important theories as to the thought development throughout the lifespan. Although, their theories were similar in a way, they were very much different. The validity of their theories in reference to today’s children is questionable but very much still applicable. 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 (Johnson&Zimbardo,2012). Piaget valued increasingly advanced ways of thinking and evaluating complexities. A person's achievement could be scientically measured rather than being how he felt about life. Erik Erikson, on the other hand, theorized a series of eight stages that he believed individuals go through to reach their full development. They are trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation and ego integrity vs. despair. Both theorists had the same idea that cognitive development took place in stages, but based on the number of stages developed by...

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