Freud & Piaget

When reviewing the work of Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget two things come to mind immediately where their similarities are concerned-both had a major, lasting and profound impact on the field of psychology and both received considerable criticism regarding their theories. Freud is considered the father of psychoanalysis, an analysis that was based on childhood development and psychosexual stages. However, Piaget was the ultimate developmentalist, "During the 1960s and 1970s, his theory of cognitive development dominated the landscape the way Freud's account of psychosexual development had a generation before," (Brainerd, 1996: 191). For all the criticisms of their work, both Freud and Piaget so influenced their respective fields of psychology that today their thoughts and concepts are so widespread and pervasive in the field as to be almost hidden, "Freud has been credited for having revolutionized how we think. Acceptance of various parts of his system of thought has come to be so widespread as to be almost anonymous"; and, "Assessing the impact of Piaget on developmental psychology is like assessing the impact of Shakespeare on English or Aristotle on philosophy-impossible. The impact is too monumental to embrace and at the same time too omnipresent to detect, "(O'Brien, 1992: 611; Flavell, 1996: 202). This discussion will compare and contrast the theories of Freud and Piaget, who, except for



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