The Developmental Theories of Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson:
The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the developmental theories of Erik Erikson and Jean Piaget. The paper discusses the similarities and dissimilarities of both theories.
According to Clark-Stewart, Friedman and Koch (1985), theories of human development consist of models of how people change (and stay the same) over time. Both Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson have formulated theories of human development (see: Piaget, 1951, 1952; Erikson, 1950, 1964, 1973). However, the nature of each man's developmental theory differs.
According to Pervin (1981), Erikson's psychosocial developmental model is a variant of the psychoanalytic perspective. In general, the psychoanalytic perspective is a view of human development in which unconscious forces are said to motivate human behavior. Moreover, the psychoanalytic perspective views the human as a passive agent upon which these unconscious forces act.
The variance from the standard psychoanalytic perspective that is present in Erikson's perspective is the addition of a sociocultural influence. The sociocultural impact on personality was developed in Eriksonian theory based on the fact that Erikson felt the standard psychoanalytic view (as originally characterized by Freud) undervalued the influence of society on the developing personality.
For example, a girl growing up on an Indian reservation where females are trained to serve their hunter husbands would develop different skills and personality patterns from a girl who grew up wealthy in a different culture and country. Similarly, a boy growing up in rural Africa might be very different from a boy growing up in New York.
As for Piaget's theory, Clark-Stewart, Friedman and Koch (1985) state that this theory differs from the deterministic perspective of psychoanalytic theory in that it is "organistic." According to the authors, the organisti...