The theories of Piaget and Erik Erickson in child development - Essay Example

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Even though their approaches are both widely used in psychological practice, there are multiple discussions in scientific circles on the matter…
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The theories of Piaget and Erik Erickson in child development
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Piaget vs. Erikson Models School Jean Piaget’s and Erik Erikson’s models of development are among the core theories within the scopes of psychology as a discipline. Even though their approaches are both widely used in psychological practice, there are multiple discussions in scientific circles on the matter of which theory is more truthful, as Piaget’s theory is based on intellectual development, when Erikson’s model is based on psychological improvement of personality.
Central to the theory of Jean Piaget is the concept of equilibration, which is achieved through the interaction between the processes of assimilation and accommodation. Intelligence, having adaptive nature, provides a balance between the impact of the organism to the environment and the effects of the environment on the body. In this case, accommodation is never only the influence of the environment on the body, because the body itself initially plays an active role - modifies own actions due to information received from the external environment.
Speaking about the adaptive nature of intelligence, Piaget noted that intelligent adaptation goes beyond the purely biological adaptation. At the core of interaction with the environment are highly differentiated systems of self-regulation and cognitive processes are reflecting the functions of these systems. Interaction begins with the nervous system and through the development process, in fact, is happening self-regulation, although the development does not take place in isolation from the environment. In the process of development takes place transformation of the body as a result of epigenetic exchange with the environment. Thus Piaget’s theory is based on intellectual development and whether a person improves one’s skills and develops one’s cognitive functions depends on how his or hers brain would learn information on each stage and therefore whether assimilation and accommodation are being conducted in an appropriate way.
Erikson’s stages of psychological development differ from the Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, as they are based on different kinds of self-identification which result from age and resolution of different life challenges; Piaget’s stages are based on cognitive and natural intellectual development of a person. Thus Erikson’s eight stages of development are mostly come from social development; hence, for instance, gender self-identification appears as a consequence of comparison of a person with another person, so a child realizes that one is either boy or girl. Each of the next stages that person goes through lead a person to conclusions that come in a certain age. It happens in the following way: a person starts questioning different things and processes and eventually establishes oneself on this or that position in the life, making comparison between different people and their individual situations. It turns out that all the beliefs and ethical norms people get, according to Erikson, come from social interactions.
Although Piaget’s and Erikson’s models of early development seem to have different cores and are based on different roots (Piaget’s intelligence and Erikson’s social engagement) still they both agree in the fact that people learn and identify themselves according to their cognitive abilities, so as more they live, the more they learn from society with application of their intelligence. Hence, basically, these two theories don’t really contradict one another.
Sarah Grison, Todd Heatherton, and Michael Gazzaniga W. W. Psychology in Your Life. Norton & Company, Inc, 2014. Read More
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