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Erik Erikson’s theory of personality

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Topic: Psychology Presentation on a theory of personality.

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Erik Erikson’s theory of personality

  1. 1. Erik Erikson’s Theory:Theory of Psychosocial Stages
  2. 2. Introduction  Erik Erikson was an ego psychologist.  He emphasized the role of culture and society and the conflicts that can take place within the ego itself.  Erik Erikson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order, and builds upon each previous stage. This is called the epigenic principle.
  3. 3. Psychosocial Stages  He assumes that crisis occurs at each stage of development and they are of the psychosocial nature.  Successful completion of each stage leads to a healthy personality and acquisition of basic virtues.  Failure to complete the stage successfully can lead to inhibition in completion of other stage and an unhealthy personality.
  4. 4. Trust vs. Mistrust  This is stage takes place during the first year of life or so.  The infant looks towards the caregiver for stability as he/she is unaware of the world.  If the infant receives care which is reliable and consistent then a sense of trust is available and in harsh and inconsistent care, mistrust is developed.  Success in this stage will lead to a virtue of hope.
  5. 5. Autonomy vs. Shame  This is a stage which lasts between the ages of 18months and three.  The child learns to play with toys, wear their clothes themselves etc. thus discovering their skills and attaining independence and autonomy.  If the children are encouraged in this stage, they become confident and secure in their ability.  If they are discouraged, they lack self-esteem and feel a sense of shame.  Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of will.
  6. 6. Initiative vs. Guilt  This is a stage around the ages three continuing to five where children assert themselves more frequently.  Children make friends, plan activities allowing them to develop a sense of initiative and developing their abilities to lead others.  If the children are criticized or controlled they make become followers and develop a sense of guilt and may feel like a nuisance to others.  Success in this stage will lead to a virtue of purpose.
  7. 7. Industry(competence) vs. Inferiority  Children are aged 5 to 12 years in this stage and are learning to read, write, do sums etc.  The child’s peer group creates a significant source of the child’s self esteem.  If they are encouraged for their initiative they feel industrious and competent to achieve their goals.  If the opposite happens, they begin to feel inferior and doubt their own abilities and not reach their potential.  Success in this stage will lead to competence.
  8. 8. Ego Identity vs. Role Confusion  This is a stage during adolescence i.e. age 12- 18 years.  Children begin to look at future in terms of career, relationships, family etc. the adolescent re-examines their identity to figure out what their who he/she is.  He says that the adolescent may feel uncomfortable about their body till until they can adapt the changes.  Role confusion involves the individual not being sure about themselves or their place in society.  Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of fidelity.
  9. 9. Intimacy vs. Isolation  This stage occurs during young adulthood i.e. ages 18-40years where we begin to share ourselves more intimately with others.  Successful completion in this stage can lead to a comfortable relationship, a sense of commitment, safety and care etc.  Avoiding this can lead to isolation, loneliness and sometimes depression.  Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of love.
  10. 10. Generativity vs. Stagnation  This stage occurs during middle adulthood i.e. ages 40-65years.  We establish a career, develop relationships, begin families etc.  We give back to society by raising our children, being productive at work, and becoming involved in community service etc.  Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of care.
  11. 11. Ego Integrity vs. Despair  This occurs at the age of 65+ where we become senior citizens and we tend to slow down our productivity and explore life as a retired person.  If we see our life as productive, successful we are able to develop integrity.  If we see our lives unhappy and are dissatisfied with the goals we have achieved, we develop despair, hopelessness and can become depressed.  Success in this stage leads to the virtue wisdom.
  12. 12. Strengths of the Theory Limitations of the Theory  It provides a broad framework which shows the development throughout the entire lifespan.  It also allows us to emphasize the social nature of human beings and the important influence that social relationships have on development.  He is vague about the causes of development.  Erikson does not explicitly explain how the outcome of one psychosocial stages influence personality at a later stage.  The theory fails to detail exactly what type of experiences are necessary at each stage in order to successfully resolve the conflicts and move to the next stage.
  13. 13. Thank you!

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