Psychology: Human Development

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Psychology: Human Development

The field of psychology may have grown to be respected as a science. Objectivity and the scientific method are both part of the psychologist's mode of operation. However, even the greatest of psychologists can only theorize about what makes human beings act the way they do. Absolutes are not part of psychology . Everything is relative and open to speculation. Theorists give us their views or ideas about life.

In the field of psychology, there have been many different areas of interest. Human development is one of the most popular areas of interest for those who study psychology. Freud, Erikson and Piaget are all great theorists with different ideas concerning human development. Each theorist developed ideas and stages for human development. Their theories on human development had human beings passing through different stages. Each theory differed on what these stages were. These theories also differed with their respect towards paradigmatic assumptions, learning and development, and relationship towards educational practice.

Freud is known as the father of psychology. Although some of his work has been dismissed, most of it still holds weight in the world of psychology. Freud believed that human development was fueled by inner forces. He believed the most powerful of all inner forces was our sexual being. Freud linked everything with sex. This includes any bodily pleasure whatsoever. Thus, when Freud discusses the sexual needs of children, they are not the same kind of sexual needs that an adult would experience. Children experienced sexual gratification in different ways. Sucking their thumbs or retaining their excrement could be seen as sexual gratification for small children. Freud also specified certain areas of our body as erogenous zones. Those areas included the mouth and genitals. This all fit in to Freud's obsession with sex. An obsession that could be linked to the era that Freud lived in. It was a very conservative period in history. Sexual feelings were often repressed.

Freud's theory on human development could be labeled the psychosexual stages of development. Freud believed human beings passed through different stages in their life based on which part of their body gave them sexual gratification. Freud's psychosexual stages of development are five in total.

The Oral stage takes place from birth to about one year. During this stage, a child is orally oriented. The mouth is the child's erogenous zone. Everything a child touches is put in his mouth. Freud believes children do this because it gives them pleasure. When a child sucks his thumb, it does so because it gives it gives him gratification. According to Freud, the gratification is sexual.

The second stage in Freud's psychosexual development theory takes place between the ages of two and three years of age. The erogenous zone shifts location, thus moving from one stage to another. The second erogenous zone in Freud's stages of human development is the anal region. Freud believes children experience sexual gratification during bowel movements and when they withhold bowel movements. Some children may even experience pleasure handling, looking at, or thinking about their own feces.

Once the Anal stage of development has been completed, the next stage of development for Freud is the Phallic Stage. This usually occurs at about three years of age. The shift in erogenous zones moves from the anal region to the genital organs. This stage is also known as the Oedipal Stage of psychosexual development. This name comes from the legendary king, Oedipus, who killed his father and married his mother. During this stage children take interest in their sexual organs. Soon they notice differences and similarities between themselves and their parents. Each sex wants to be with the parent of the other sex, for girls this is referred to as the elektra complex. Once the children realize they can not be with their mother or father,...
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