A Comparison of Piaget, Freud, and Erikson

Essay by Steve BalboniUniversity, Master'sA+, June 1996

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The field of psychology may have grown to be respected as a science.

Objectivity and the scientific method are both part of the psychologist's mode

of operation. However, even the greatest of psychologists can only theorize

about what makes human beings act the way they do. Absolutes are not part

of psychology . Everything is relative and open to speculation. Theorists give

us their views or ideas about life.

In the field of psychology, there have been many different areas of

interest. Human development is one of the most popular areas of interest for

those who study psychology. Freud, Erikson and Piaget are all great theorists

with different ideas concerning human development. Each theorist developed

ideas and stages for human development. Their theories on human

development had human beings passing through different stages. Each theory

differed on what these stages were. These theories also differed with their

respect towards paradigmatic assumptions, learning and development, and

relationship towards educational practice.

Freud is known as the father of psychology. Although some of his

work has been dismissed, most of it still holds weight in the world of

psychology. Freud believed that human development was fueled by inner

forces. He believed the most powerful of all inner forces was our sexual

being. Freud linked everything with sex. This includes any bodily pleasure

whatsoever. Thus, when Freud discusses the sexual needs of children, they

are not the same kind of sexual needs that an adult would experience.

Children experienced sexual gratification in different ways. Sucking their

thumbs or retaining their excrement could be seen as sexual gratification for

small children. Freud also specified certain areas of our body as erogenous

zones. Those areas included the mouth and genitals. This all fit in to Freud's

obsession with sex. An obsession that could be linked to...