In the history of psychology, there have been many different fields of interest. Human development, especially, has been one of the interesting fields of study for many psychologists. Freud, Erikson, and Piaget are all great theorists with similar, but different, ideas of human development. Their theories on human development had human beings passing through different stages as aging. Although the three theorists have common relations that they developed their ideas and theory stages for human development through the lifespan, each theory represents own uniqueness on what these stages were and what they focus on and where they relate human development too.
Freud is known as the father of psychology. According to Freud, he believed that human development was fueled by inner forces (Essay UK, 2014). He believed our sexual being was the most powerful of all inner forces throughout human development. That being said, Freud linked everything with sex. Thus, nowadays, Freud’s theory on human development is labeled the psychosexual stages of development. According to Berger, the author of The Developing Person Through the Life Span, Freud believed “human beings passed through different stages in their life based on which part of their body gave them sexual gratification (Berger, 2014).”
Erikson developed his theory inspired by Freud. Not only Erickson focused on child development, but he also added stages for the adult years. He focused on identity rather than sexuality, unlike Freud. Later now, Erikson’s theory is known as the psychosocial stages of development. He is also known for his eight stages of life; trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus identity confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation, and integrity versus despair (Berger, 2014).
Piaget also believed in developmental theory like Freud and Erikson. Her stages are recognized as the cognitive stages. These stages are based on what the child can do. That being said, Piaget’s theory is focused on the learning and development of the child. According to Piaget, a child passes through four stages as growing up. Although both Piaget and Freud were interested in the child’s abilities and senses, Piaget did not relate the stages with sexual desires unlike Freud was. Piaget believes the four stages of development which is known as the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete operational stage, and the formal operational stage (Berger, 2014). These three theories on human development each have their own good points and frauds. In other words, each of these theories has some value because they are not totally wrong but also are known to receive some criticism as theory is not a science, thus cannot be applied to some cases. To make a conclusion, Although each theory of Freud, Erickson, and Piaget is similar in its timetable and sequence of life events, they are differed by their own focuses. Freud focuses on sex, Erikson focuses on the social ability, and Piaget focuses on the child’s cognition and senses.