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Chapter 9


Course Code
Marc A Fournier

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B30: Personality
Chapter 9: Developmental Stages and Tasks
Martin Luther was living out a rather conventional life story of the good monk” – devoted to the Catholic Church
and properly respectful of the authority of the Roman Pope.
He struggled daily with the Devil, seeing him, fleeing him, fighting him, debating him, hating him,
fearing him as a real person with superhuman power.
He cast his enemies in the guise of the Devil, responding to them in the same way he daily responded to
the old evil foe.
By the time of his fit in the choir (his first event where he questioned who he was and began the struggle
of identity), he began to view the Roman Church as the enemy rather than the saviour, groping furiously for
an alternative image of self with which to build a new identity.
He believed men and women encounter God in the here and now- personally, rather than through the
institutions of the church- through Gods son Jesus; men and women need only accept Jesus- have faith that
Jesus is the son of God in order to be redeemed
oThis religious insight consolidated his new identity
It is during this critical period in the human lifespan, Erikson argued that many of us first confront the
problem of identity
oEriksons concept of identity is a characteristic developmental adaptation
oIt is an aspect of personality that involves the resolution of important life tasks during a particular
stage of development
Martin Luther seemed to move from high achievement motivation in his youth and early adulthood to high
power motivation.
In terms of social-cognitive adaptations, he had a relatively simply construct system that was dominated
by the bipolarity of God vs. the Devil.
The strongest intellectual influence on Erik Erikson was Sigmund Freud.
Freud argued that the ultimate forces behind human behaviour and experience are unconscious sexual and
aggressive drives.
oFreud used the word libido to refer to the energy that he believed was derived from sexual drives.
oHe set forth 5 stages of the libidos development

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oIn each stage the libido expresses itself through a particular zone of the body, called an erogenous
zone (includes mouth, anus, genitals)
Eriksons major innovation was to take Freuds psychosexual stages of the libido and transform them into a
developmental model of psychosocial tasks
He identified 8 stages of human development and their corresponding psychosocial tasks.
At each of Eriksons stages, changes within the individual and within the individuals social world
combine to create a central conflict that defines the stage.
The conflict must be addressed, though not necessarily resolved, within the given stage, says Erikson,
before the individual may move to the next stage.
The 1st stage is the oral stage is completely dependent on caregivers for the satisfaction of basic bodily needs.
He agreed with Freud that for the first year of life the libido is centered in the oral zone as sucking at the
mothers breast or bottle becomes the starting point of sexual life.
These relationships determine the extent to which the infant will experience basic trust or security on the
one hand and mistrust or insecurity on the other.
The 2nd stage is the anal stage, the toddlers sensual energy is expressed mainly in holding in and letting go of
Successful toilet training signals a certain degree of mastery over the sexual instinct in that the libido
comes under the control of socially prescribed schedules.
One of the first great accomplishments of the self, suggesting a sense of autonomy and self mastery

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Erikson interpreted this stage as autonomy vs shame and doubt, this stage when the toddler seeks to
establish him or herself as an independent and competent agent in the environment.
The toddler struggles to attain a degree of freedom, independence, and mastery of the self, and to avoid
humiliation, shame, doubt, and other experiences in which the childs budding sense of self sufficiency is
oAdvances in locomotion, language and exploratory play provide these opportunities to conquer this.
The 3rd stage is the phallic stage; the libido is centered in the genital region.
Because children may unconsciously experience sexual feelings toward one parent and aggressive towards
the other, Freud named this dynamic the Oedipus complex
Eriksons 3rd stage of the life cycle is preoccupied with questions of power
Initiative vs. guilt is the basic psychosocial issue for the preschool boy and girl.
oBoys tend to adopt a more intrusive mode of operation- Eriksons concept for a young boys
characteristically phallic and aggressive approach to the world.
oWhereas girls tend to adopt the inclusive mode of operation-involving teasing, demanding and
grasping in an attempt to snare others.
The 4th stage is the latency stage, where the libido is rarely expressed in an overt manner.
The elementary school years are a time of expanding socialization as children come to internalize the
values, norms, rules, and skills offered by society.
For Erikson, the this child has begun a very important phase in which he/she will repeatedly face the
challenges of industry vs inferiority- when they receive systematic instruction from social institutions and
beings to learn how to use the tools and adopt the characteristic roles of society.
Wider society becomes significant; they learn proper modes and manners in and out of the workplace.
For Erikson, the early stages are but a prelude to the main act of late adolescence and young adulthood, a period in
the life course that many social scientists today called emerging adulthood- This is the stage within
which the issue of identity is first confronted.
The first four stages of childhood leave the person with a unique pool of resources and handicaps, strengths and
weaknesses that will be called upon in the making of an identity.
The 5th stage (out of childhood and into adulthood), is the genital stage- the end of development.
Erikson too viewed puberty as an ending and a transformation
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