For this report, we will discuss Erikson’s theory as it relates to 2 specific stages of his theory of psychosocial development and 2 specific examples of characters at these stages. The writer has chosen 2 characters which in her opinion have a lot of complex characteristics that help illustrate interesting concepts and ideas related to Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. This information can be used accordingly in advertising campaigns targeted at the demographic in the mentioned stages. The first character is “David” from the movie Artificial Intelligence and the second character is “Tom Wingo” from Pat Conroy’s novel “The Prince of Tides” and the movie by the same name. In the case of David from Artificial intelligence, I will be referring to the stage of Competence: Industry vs. Inferiority (Latency, 5-12 yrs.) and in the case of Tom from the prince of Tides I will be referring to Generativity Vs. Stagnation (Adulthood 25-64 yrs.). Stage Descriptions:
Latency 5-12 yrs.
Ego Development Outcome: Industry vs. Inferiority
Basic Strengths: Method and Competence
In This stage, also referred to as Latency, humans have the capacity to learn, many new skills and knowledge capable of learning, thus developing a sense of industry. This also is a very social developmental stage. Should the child experience unresolved feelings of inadequacy and inferiority in their respective peer groups, he or she will potentially have serious problems in terms in self-esteem and confidence. (1)
Middle Adulthood: 35 to 55 or 65
Ego Development Outcome: Generativity vs. Self-absorption or Stagnation Basic Strengths: Production and Care
At this stage the industrious aspect is more prevalent. To Erikson observed middle-age is when the adult focuses with creative and meaningful work and with issues surrounding our family. The main objective is to propagate culture and instill values of within the family and beyond while working to achieve a stable environment. Strength comes through care of others and the creation of things to improve society, which Erikson calls generativity. Humans in this stage will fear inactivity and not having a sense of meaning. Adults at this stage experience major life changes (mid-life crisis) and struggle to find new meanings and purposes. Not passing this stage successfully, can lead to self-absorption and stagnation. (2)
In the future severe global warming has flooded parts of the earth and there has been a large reduction of the human population. Robots called Mecha are advanced humanoids with the capability of emulating thoughts and emotions. David is created to simulate a human child and to display love for its human family. Although Initially intimidated, the mother eventually warms to him after activating his imprinting protocol, which irreversibly causes David to project love for her, the same any child would love a mother. (3) Tom:
Tom Wingo is a teacher from South Carolina who travels to New York to speak with his twin sister's psychiatrist, Susan Lowenstein. Tom does not like New York and reluctantly accepts, but mostly to take the chance to be alone and far from a life that does not satisfy him. Throughout their meetings, a romantic relationship develops and Tom also becomes engaged in his own therapy by sharing stories and secrets from his traumatic and violent childhood. (4). David in Latency
One of the reasons I chose David as an interesting character is that he is in fact not a human but a robot of this age range, with the ability to learn and develop human emotions. This can have enlightening implications on Erikson’ stages a will see below. David on the surface does exhibit some the characteristics of this stage. For him, the crucial question of “Can I make it in the World of people and Things” is in fact the purpose of his existence. He is programmed to interact as a “normal boy” and learn and adapt to a family life where he is in fact a type of...
References: 1. Erikson, Erik H, Childhood and Society (1950)
2. Erikson, Erik H, Childhood and Society (1950)
3. Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.I._Artificial_Intelligence
4. Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince_of_Tides
5. Erikson, Erik H, Childhood and Society (1950). Ch. 11
6. Sokol, Justin, Graduate journal of Counseling Psychology 2009.
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