Life Span Perspective on Human Development Essay

In this essay I will touch on several different theories of human development and growth as well as their theorist. I will show how hereditary and environment play a vital role in human development and identify a few aspects of life span perspectives.

Psychosexual Theory

One theorist was Sigmund Freud who believed that the development of sexual personality or libido was the development of personality. Freud beliefs were that every individual goes through five stages that further form your personality. The first stage or the earliest is the oral stage which includes sucking and drinking, sexual drive is focus around the mouth, later on leading to more aggressive biting, chewing, sucking of thumb and later years of possible cigarette smoking.

The second stage is the anal stage or the toddler stage.

His stage is actually broken down into two parts; the first part is called the expressive period in which the child takes pleasure in having a bowel movement. The other part to the second stage is the retentive stage where they will store their feces.

The Phallic stage is where children gain pleasure from stimulation there private area, this also is a time were the child will begin to identify with either mother or father depending on the sex of the child. This will help to identify gender roles. The latency stage is the puberty stage where teens find a more acceptable way channeling their sexual aggression. The last stage is the Genital stage in which the adult has reach sexual and emotional maturity.

Ego Development

Ego development theory was created by Erik Erikson. Erikson believed our personality is formed from opposites such as dependant or independent, aggressive person or passive person, are just an example of a few. Erikson stated that some of these traits you are born with others are learned. Erikson based his theory off the study of the Sioux Indians during this study he learned that behavior and the Indians culture played a great part in there world. Erikson organized life in stages from birth to death, in this theory Erikson theorized that children who had a difficult childhood, versus a child who did not have so many challenges.

First stage birth to 18 months trust versus mistrust in this stage we as babies will either learn to trust and have confidence or mistrust and have a feel of worthlessness. Early childhood stage 18 months to 3 years Autonomy versus shame, in this stage children start to master some of the skills on their own their independency kicks in and it also at this stage they may be easily shamed. Ex. (toilet training). 3 years to five years is the intuitive versus guilt, 6 years to 12 years is the industry versus inferiority, 12 to 18 years identity versus role and then there are three more stages after that.

Environmentalist Theory

John Watson, Skinner believed that a child environment shapes what they learn and environment. Depending on how and where you were raised will determine how you react to things. It was believed that be more stable learning environment will help develop normal stages of growing up. Children seem to learn best through rote activities were the recite colors, alphabet, numbers their address and telephone. When children don’t take to this form of learning they are said to have a learning problem or disability such as ADD.


In conclusion I agree with every theory except for Sigmund Freud psychosexual theory, I felt a little uncomfortable with some of the points, I do not believe that any part of the sucking, drinking, or chewing as a infant has anything to do with sexual drive. I think it all had to do with surrounding to your environment weather you be an adult of infant. The Theory that I agree with the most is John Watson, Skinner the environmentalist theory, I believed that children learns through things being repetitive, I feel that a good environment breeds a stable child then there are the exceptions.

Carlson, Neil R. Psychology: The Science of Behavior. Boston: Allyn, 1990
Gleitman, Henery. Psychology. New York: Norton, 1991
Western, Drew. Psychology: Mind, Brain, Culture. New York, 1999.

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