As the paper highlights Erikson’s stages are conceptualized as crises which need to be resolved before progressing to the next stage. From birth to 1 year the crisis to be resolved is between Basic Trust vs. Mistrust. From age 2 to 3 it is Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt. Between age 4 to 5 it is Initiative vs. Guilt, and between 6 and 12 it is Industry vs. Inferiority. The next stage with which this essay is primarily concerned is between age 13 and 19 (the teenage years of adolescence). Here the crisis is between Identity vs. Role confusion. For the sake of completeness the crises in the next three stages are: Ages 20-24, Intimacy vs. Isolation. Ages 25-64, Generativity vs. Stagnation and lastly, Age 65 until death, Ego Integrity vs. Despair. According to some analysts, Erikson’s stages can be divided into groups of four. The first 4 deals with the individual figuring out the world, while the last four deals with figuring out yourself. Therefore adolescence is regarded as the first stage when individuals begin to start figuring out who they really are and their role in society.
According to the paper Piaget’s theory has been described as ’cognitive constructivist’ because of its biological and cognitive bias, and has been criticized for this. Other theorists like Vygotsky have advocated ’social constructivism’ emphasizing the social nature of growing and learning. Both aspects of learning and human development are important. Erikson has emphasised the psychosocial nature of human growth and is founded on Freud‘s psychoanalytic theory of the oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital periods of human growth. For our purposes it is necessary to contrast Piaget’s Formal Operational stage with Erikson’s Identity vs. Role Diffusion stage. When a child reaches adolescent years, according to Piaget, it can think logically in the abstract and can hypothesize the future. The adolescent becomes concerned with ideological problems. Again, the critics argue that Piaget’s postulation of schemas is too rigid.