Comparing Piaget's Psychosocial Theory

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According to Eric Erikson, a German psychoanalyst, everyone must pass through a series of eight developmental stages throughout their lives. These stages are called psychosocial theory, which per Berger (20114) is, “A theory of human development that holds that irrational, unconscious drives and motives, often originating in childhood, underlie human behavior” (p. 23). According to Jean Piaget, a Swiss scientist, there are four stages that take place from birth to adulthood. These stages are known as cognitive theory. Cognitive theory states that each individual’s ideas and beliefs are important and that thoughts and expectations affect actions (Berger, 2014, p.29).
The first stage of Erikson’s psychosocial theory is trust versus mistrust, which takes place during infancy, from birth to approximately 18 months old. During this stage babies will either trust that that their basic needs will be cared for or they will develop mistrust about the care of others (Berger, 2014, p.24). Piaget’s first stage of cognitive theory is sensorimotor, which takes place from birth to approximately two years of age. Piaget breaks down sensorimotor into six stages.
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The easiest difference to see is that psychosocial theory has eight stages where cognitive theory only has four. Another difference is Piaget felt that learning declined with age, and Erikson’s view was that everyone experiences a series of psychosocial crises as they mature. Erikson believes that a person will face each developmental crisis and may not resolve crisis, but can pass to the next stage, where Piaget believes if person does not pass previous developmental stage they will never achieve complete maturation. Per Light (1973), ”Piaget treats affective development as an adjunct to cognitive development, while Erikson deals with affective development in its own

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