Critical Analysis of the Theories Proposed by Freud, Erickson, and Piaget

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There are a vast amount of theories that describe the development of a human from gestation to death. Despite the theories that are provided there will be a description of Freud’s, Erikson's, and Piaget's theories that are in regard of development plus similarities and differences. There will be an explanation on how these early theories were created, and why there is a concern related to race, gender, socioeconomic status, and further areas of diversity that these theories were developed for.

The theorists by the names of Freud, Erickson, and Piaget helped theorize development and can be very important and there will be an explanation to go alongside the research. The id, ego, and superego are the result of the interactions of your brain and cause human behavior. (Boundless,2016) The id, the most primordial of the three types of compositions, is connected with instantaneous appeasement of primary physical needs and the urges you to do take when you are apt to procure it. It works externally of conscious thought. Imagine your id perambulated past an unco consuming some sort of treat. Id would possibly take the treat for out of pleasure and not moral reasoning. It doesn’t know or mind that it is ill-mannered to remove a treat or something that belongs to another individual. Your id would have no mind retrieving the treat. The superego is concerned with social rules and morals—similar to what many people call their ”conscience mind” They also call this a “moral direction.” This will be developing as a young child learns what their way of life considers to be correct and wrong. Imagine if your superego strolled past the same stranger, the superego would abstain from retrieving their treat as your conscious understand that it would be rude. Yet, consider if your id and superego were involved and the id was powerful enough to supersede your superego, you would still take the treat or something that does not belong in your hands. After the fact, guilt and shame or both over your actions that were troublesome would haunt you. If you walked past the stranger with a treat that doesn’t belong to you once again, your ego would arbitrate the discordant between your id and superego. You would decide to go buy a treat instead of taking one. This will mean that you may not get it right then, but you will get it in a morally right way. Fulfillment for satisfying your wish for a treat all while evading a discomfited situation in the social context and situation can cause a sentiment of indignity. Freud had a strong belief that id, ego, and superego are in conflict constantly. He believes a person of mature age’s conduct and personality are the outcomes of adversity that are childhood internal struggles. This is presently described as anxiety, depression, and not healthy behavioral issues or mental illness. The “structural theory” of character grants great importance on how quarrels among the parts of the mind. Those of the behavior. Those of the shape. Lastly, there is personality. The conflicts are most of the time unconscious. Freud enticed multitudinous conventioneers that redesigned his psychoanalytic theories to generate modern theories of personality. Among other theorists from derivative of Freud were recognized as Neo-Freudians. These individuals expanded on Freud’s ideas. They concurred that youngster experiences are imperative. They expanded on Freud’s ideas by showing the importance of focusing on cultural influences and sociological influences in conjunction with biological influences. (Boundless,2016) During this time period, a child is presented with social expectations and biological drives. Successful navigation of internal conflicts like the ones presented above will lead to mastery for each developmental stage. This will ultimately become a fully mature character and personality. Freud’s ideas have been met with criticism because of his use of psychosexuality as the main driver of human personality development phases. In order for a theory to have scientific validity, it must be able to disprove it with experimental evidence. A good amount of Freud’s notions are not falsifiable (Piaget,n.d) Which means they could not be correct. Empirical data is important when testing a theory.

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Erickson is an individual who has similar and different traits. Everyone has their own unique traits and identity. Identity is composed of many different personality traits that can be considered bad or good. These personality traits can also be natural or acquired. They vary from one person to another based on the degree of influence that the environment has on the individual. Erik Erikson created psychosocial theory considered with more explanation of childhood and adult development. The stages represent transitions based on conflict or crisis. Conflict is needed to move from one stage to the next one. Erik Erikson proposed the Psychosocial of Development. A theory of development, which suggested that in sociocultural development we emphasize the sociocultural determinants of an individual’s development. There are eight stages. In countering a crisis, we are left but with no choice rather than to face it and think of ways to find a solution. The failure to overcome a crisis may lead you to a significant impact on our psychological development. According to Erik Erikson’s theory, we all will eventually encounter a specific crisis that contributes to our psychosocial growth. This happens at the end of each of Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. It can be beneficial and detrimental to the stages of psychosocial development.

We move on to another theorist: Piaget. Piaget (1936) was the first psychologist to make a systematic study of cognitive development. According to the Essay on The Developmental Theories of Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, and Erik Erikson, “His contributions include a stage theory of child cognitive development, detailed observational studies of cognition in children, and a series of simple but ingenious tests to reveal different cognitive abilities.” (Piaget,n.d) What Piaget was interested in doing was not quantifying how well minors could count or spell. He even wasn’t interested in getting the minors to solve problems as a technique of grading their I.Q. What he was more interested in was the way in which fundamental concepts like the very idea of number, time, quantity, causality, justice, and so on emerged. Before Piaget’s work, the common assumption in psychology was that children are merely less competent thinkers than adults. Piaget showed that young children think in strikingly different ways compared to adults. According to Piaget, children are born with a very basic mental structure that is genetically inherited and evolved through evolution on which all subsequent learning and knowledge are based. Piaget’s theory differs from others. It is concerned with mostly children. This theory will focus on development. This is opposed to learning. Development does not address the learning of information or specific behaviors. Marked by qualitative differences, it proposes discrete stages of development. Rather than a gradual increase in the number of complications of concepts, behaviors, ideas, etc. There are four specific phases and children develop their ways of thinking and processing into info through organization and adaptation. Adults help develop schemas, which are frameworks that help adults organize and interpret information.

The theories I am about to present are to help you realize why they were important and why they were created. These early theories were created to help with race issues when it comes to conflict and walking away. Gender does the same exact thing. Childhood in Erik Erikson’s conflict is the need to move from stage one to the next stage. Conflict or crisis instead or walking away. Children think through organization and adaptation and they can effectively get through these social problems. Socioeconomic status helps when you can effectively speak through adaptation and socialize and develop. There is also injustice and inequality that can help to prove why these were created. Socioeconomically struggling individuals will have inequality and injustice when it comes to development in school, life, etc. Gender has inequality and it can affect development as well as many other concepts. Development and learning can have a huge effect on a child or grown adult.

Major similarities and differences in these theories consist of Freud being obsessed with sexuality when Erickson and Piaget were not. Erickson had a key development system that also includes crisis and conflict. Freud also had crises and conflicts in his theory. He also used iq, superego, and ego to make decision-making, rather than the other two theorists. Piaget was concerned with children like Erickson and Freud was in the phallic stage. Piaget was concerned about development like Erickson. However, Piaget was concerned about IQ levels and how they process information. Erickson does, however, point out that kids do learn at a certain level, but Piaget was not about learning. It was about development.

The theories of Freud, Erickson, and Piaget of development can be very tedious and there was an explanation to go along with the research. Despite the theories that are provided there will be a description of Freud’s, Erickson,’s, and Piaget's theories regarding development and similarities and differences. There will be an explanation how these early theories were created, and why there is a concern related to race, gender, socioeconomic status, and other areas of diversity in how these theories were developed.

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Critical Analysis of the Theories Proposed by Freud, Erickson, and Piaget. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Critical Analysis of the Theories Proposed by Freud, Erickson, and Piaget.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Critical Analysis of the Theories Proposed by Freud, Erickson, and Piaget. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
Critical Analysis of the Theories Proposed by Freud, Erickson, and Piaget [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:

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