Psychology Erick Erikson's Theory of Socioemotional Development Term Paper

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Erick Erikson's Theory of Socioemotional Development

Erik Erikson, American psychoanalyst, is known in the field of psychology for his contribution in studying the socioemotional aspect of development among humans. Called the theory of socioemotional development, Erikson posits in his theory that, "people grow and develop "socialized by and socialize others -- parents, siblings, peers, teachers... processes that involve changes in an individual's relationships with other people, changes in emotion, and changes in personality" (Santrock, 2001:338). Erikson identified different dichotomies that specifically delineate positive and negative aspects of socioemotional developments among individuals. These dichotomies are placed at various levels, where different socioemotional characteristics are manifested at each level of the individual's development.

Erikson's theory is an essential tool to understanding human behavior because it serves as a guideline for people to understand the different changes in socioemotional characteristics of people as they grow older. Of course, there are certain exceptions or people who deviate from the normative socioemotional development that Erikson formulated in his theory, but in general, his studies provide an overview of the nature of human personality and behavior at each stage of his/her development.

This paper aims to discuss and analyze the relevance and significance of Erik Erikson's theory of socioemotional development to the behavioral development of the individual. Each level/stage and dichotomies present in this theory is explained and applied in the context/perspective of behavioral development. This paper posits that through Erikson's theory, individuals have a better understanding of what is the normative and healthy way to develop socioemotionally as one adapts to biological, psychological and social changes through the years.

In Erikson's theory, he identifies 8 (eight) stages of socioemotional development, wherein there are positive (normative) and negative (deviant) traits of an…

Sources Used in Documents:


Dundy, E. (1976). "Life is all ups and no downs on this carousel." New York Times Web site ( Available at

Santrock, J. (2001). Psychology. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Book Co.

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