Theories of Development

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Theories of Development 
There are many branches of psychology. The field of human development is divided into five theory groups. The theory groups are Psychodynamic, Cognitive, Systems, Biological and Behavioral. Each theory group has many contributing theorists. Some theories overlap while others are independent. Often theories are credible whereas others cause skepticism. There are many contributors to the world of psychology with different views and beliefs about human development.  Psychodynamic Theory 

Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential contributors to the field of psychology. Freud was born in 1856, in Moravia. In 1881, Freud received a doctorate in medicine. Freud’s main focus of study was neurology; this led him to begin concentrating his research on nervous disorders. Freud’s research brought him to his psychoanalytical theory. Freud’s theory suggests that an individual’s unconscious processes or thoughts contribute to one’s personality and influences one’s behavior. Freud’s theory included the concept that personality is composed of three elements: the id (pleasure seeker), the ego (deals with reality), and the superego (one’s sense of right and wrong). Freud also believed that human development consisted of five psychosexual stages: the oral stage (birth-18 months), anal stage (18 months-3 years), phallic stage (3-6 years), latency stage (6-12 years), and the genital stage (12 years and up). The theory included the belief that if one wants to develop a healthy personality, one has to complete all five psychosexual stages successfully.  Another great contributor to the Psychodynamic field of psychology is Erik Erickson. Erickson was born in 1902, in Germany. Erickson travelled around Europe and attended the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute. Erickson was intrigued by Freud’s theory, however Erickson believed that development occurred throughout one’s lifespan and that one’s personality is shaped consciously from social interactions. Erickson developed the psychosocial theory of personality development. The theory includes eight stages of development: Trust vs. mistrust (birth-12 months), Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (12 months-3 years), Initiative vs. guilt (3-6 years), Industry vs. inferiority (6-12 years), Ego identity vs. ego diffusion (12-18 years or older), Intimacy vs. isolation (18-40 years), Generativity vs. self-absorption (40-65 years), and Integrity vs. despair (65 years and older). According to Craig and Dunn (2010),  Erickson’s theory emphasizes social interactions and argues that a distinct part of each individual is based on the culture in which the individual is raised, depending heavily on the individual’s interactions with caregivers during infancy. Social forces continue to shape personality throughout the lifespan as the individual experiences relationships with others (p.13).  Cognitive Theory 

The cognitive theory attempts to explain human behavior. This theory of psychology tries to understand the thought process behind one’s personality or behavior. Two of the main cognitive theorists are Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Both theorists have come a long way to help us understand the cognitive theory. The cognitive approach to psychology has shown a lot of advancement from the contributions made by Piaget and Vygotsky. They have set the foundation for other theorists to do more research. Vygotsky and Piaget had similar thoughts on how children learn. Both theorists believed that children learn and think differently than adults and that children learn actively, through hands-on experiences.  Piaget suggested that children think differently than adults. He developed this belief from observations and his stage theory of development. He was one of the first theorists to state that children are actively gaining their own knowledge of the world. Piaget often referred to children as “little scientists”. The reason behind the nickname is Piaget believed that children in free play were...
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