Psychology: Human Development


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 the era that Freud lived in. It was a very conservative
period in history. Sexual feelings were often repressed.
Freud's theory on human development could be labeled the psychosexual
stages of development. Freud believed human beings passed through different
stages in their life based on which part of their body gave them sexual
gratification. Freud's psychosexual stages of development are five in total.
The Oral stage takes place from birth to about one year. During this
stage, a child is orally oriented. The mouth is the child's erogenous zone.
Everything a child touches is put in his mouth. Freud believes children do this
because it gives them pleasure. When a child sucks his thumb, it does so
because it gives it gives him gratification. According to Freud, the
gratification is sexual.
The second stage in Freud's psychosexual development theory takes place
between the ages of two and three years of age. The erogenous zone shifts
location, thus moving from one stage to another. The second erogenous zone in
Freud's stages of human development is the anal region. Freud believes children
experience sexual gratification during bowel movements and when they withhold
bowel movements. Some children may even experience pleasure handling, looking at,
or thinking about their own feces.
Once the Anal stage of development has been completed, the next stage of
development for Freud is the Phallic Stage. This usually occurs at about three
years of age. The shift in erogenous zones moves from the anal region to the
genital organs. This stage is also known as the Oedipal Stage of psychosexual
development. This name comes from the legendary king, Oedipus, who killed his
father and married his mother. During this stage children take interest in their
sexual organs. Soon they notice differences and similarities between themselves
and their parents. Each sex wants to be with the parent of the other sex, for
girls this is referred to as the elektra complex. Once the children realize they
can not be with their mother or father, they identify with the parent of the
same sex.
The next stage is called the stage of Latency. This stage is
characterized by a lack of change or absence of erogenous zones. After the
realization that the child can not be with a parent sexually, the child shifts
its attention to same-sexed relationships. Boys will shift their sexual urges
and drives to something acceptable, such as sports. This is a time of relative
calm.
The last stage of Freud's psychosexual development is the Genital Stage.
The erogenous zone returns in a very powerful way in the genital organs. This
stage takes place from puberty into adulthood. This stage is marked by true
sexual desire and sexual relationships.
Erikson took Freud's ideas and enhanced them. He added stages for the
adult years. He also shifted his attention to identity rather than sexuality.
Erikson developed the psychosocial