Comparison and Contrast of Psychosexual Development and Cognitive Development

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Psychologists have played a vital role in the development of theoretical frameworks that seeks to explore the learning and growth process. Different theories focus on the process of development and learning with interest on normal and abnormal growth.  Every theorist has his or her own belief in creating the meaning of factors surrounding growth. The theories may differ though some similarities can be cited (Corno & Anderman, 2015). The paper seeks to address similarities between the theory by Freud on the Psychosexual Development and the theory by Jean Piaget on Cognitive development. It will further provide a hypothetical scenario of a missed stage and how one can go about such anomalies in the developmental process.

Comparison and contrast

    Freud is the father of the psychosexual theory of development. According to Freud, personality develops through five stages in the life of a child.  The theorist focuses on the impact of psychological development on the change in sexual behavior. Unlike Piaget’s, it is not focusing on the learning process. Nevertheless, the two theorists analyze stages of growth and impact on the individual.  They also include the influence of environment in the developmental process in exploring their theories. These five stages comprise of the oral stage, phallic stage, genital stage, anal stage and the latency stage. A dysfunction or difficulty in passing the stages may cause fixation at the stage of reference. At the oral stage, the child’s point of pleasure is the mouth. The child is always interest in activities generating pleasure in the mouth, for instance, sucking thumb. The stage occurs between births to about two years (infant) (Zimmerman, 2012).

    The anal stage shifts to elimination independence occurring between age two to three (toddler). It entails new freedoms such as the elimination of feces. In phallic stage, the child begins to become aware of their sexual identifications usually age three to six (preschool). The latency stage involves playing with other children with a focus on adapting to the environment, occurs from age six to puberty (school-aged). The last stage is the genital stage where the child begins interpersonal relations with individuals of different sex (adolescence). The main difference in the two theories is that Feud focuses on sexual development regarding psychology while Paget’s concentrates on mental development. Additionally, Feud arrives at the behavior of the child following success or fixation at the stages whereas Piaget central point of reference is the impact of the stages on thinking and learning abilities of the individual (Schultz & Schultz, 2016).

    Piaget’s Theory dwells on cognitive development. Just like the Feud’s Theory, the theory also provides a chronological change in the capabilities associated with learning and adaptation in the environment. Unlike the theory of psychosexual development, Piaget’s focus is learning and cognitive changes and not merely growth. Piaget uses a four-stage theory in explaining cognitive growth. The stages comprise; sensorimotor, concrete operational, and the preoperational stage, and the formal operational phase. The first stage; sensorimotor stage is marked with object permanence occurring between births to about two years (infant). In preoperational stage, the child begins to view things symbolically between age two to seven (toddler and pre-school) (Zimmerman, 2012).

    The concrete operation marks beginning of logical thought usually age seven to eleven (school-aged). The formal operational stage, eleven years and above, people begin to think more maturely from abstract concepts (adolescence and above). In Feuds theory the first stages represent infant, toddler, preschool, school-aged and adolescence stage. It similarly applies to Piaget’s case with basis linked to age. Therefore, meeting the requirements as per the described stages means one has successfully passed through these five stages. Analytically, Piaget stages of development focus on learning and educational implications while Feud dwells on personality implications (Schultz & Schultz, 2016).

Example of a Unique Developmental Milestone

    An individual of nine years of age may be fixated at anal stage. The individual may present will anal repulsive behaviors such inability to control elimination either through urination or defecation. The person may show some conditions of being dirty, consciously wetting on their pants, disorganized and untidy. The person is however beyond anal stage with age three as the limit. In this scenario, the child has an abnormal developmental milestone. To assist the child pass through the stage, training and psychological preparation are essential. Teaching on elimination pattern and response to the stimuli is vital. Learning such will improve their elimination habit which the person should have achieved at that age (Corno & Anderman, 2015).

Work cited

Corno, L., & Anderman, E. M (Eds). (2015). Handbook of Educational Psychology. Routledge.

Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S.E (2016). Theories of Personality Cengage Learning. 2016.

Zimmerman, B.J (2012). A Social cognitive view of self-regulated academic learning. Journal of education psychology 81 (3), 329.

October 13, 2023



Child Development

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