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Developmental Psychologists.

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`ADEDAPO ADESINA Introduction to Psychology 2 Reaction Paper 2 Developmental Psychologists The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines development as a specified state of growth or advancement or an event constituting a new stage in a changing situation. Developmental psychologists have therefore studied and analysed development in varying yet similar perspectives with resultant theories of human development. Most prominent of these theorists and their theories are Jean Piaget (1896-1980)- Cognitive Development, Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987)- Moral Reasoning Development and Erik Erikson (1902-1994). With clear transition from one stage to another in all their theories, they can all be referred to as stage theorists. Jean Piaget's theory of Cognitive Development is such that is based on the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing, remembering and communicating (i.e. cognition) [Psychology 6th Edition by David G. Myers]. As such, it was a form of development highly based on making sense of one's past experience(s). The Moral Reasoning Development theory of Kohlberg however places a very high importance on moral reasoning, in addition to cognitive development. Kohlberg though developed the Moral Reasoning theory, he was not interested in the morality of reasoning but in the reasoning behind the morality. Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Development theory also explains various stages of development from the interrelation of social factors and individual thought and behaviour. These three therefore have so much in common with regards to their theories just as they can be contrasted. ...read more.


The psychosocial theory of Erikson can then be considered to be the most detailed and elaborate of all. In his theory, Erikson with eight stages analysed the development of man from infancy to late adulthood, clearly separating people of different age groups with the most similar types of behavoiur. Closely related to the methodology of study and the grouping into various stages is the factor responsible for the grouping, i.e. age. All the stages of the three theories are interrelated are age related thereby setting the stage for the hierarchical basis of analysis. The sequence of grouping of all the stages of the three theories are such that rise with ages. There is a noticeable progression from one stage to the other with increasing average ages of the various stages. The behaviours therefore change with increase in the average age of the various stages. This sequence is a very important one as it determines progress or development, which is not evident, unless there is an increase in age. All the theories are therefore based on increasing ages of individuals, which paves the way for a new behaviour, hence a new and higher level of progress in the hierarchy of development. However, Kohlberg's theory of Moral Reasoning Development is less "tied" to the ages unlike those of Piaget and Erikson. While he was less specific about the age ranges of individuals in his theory, Piaget and Erikson especially clearly attached ages to their own theories not using only one general term to distinguish between stages like Kohlberg used "adolescents". ...read more.


Kohlberg's theory of Moral reasoning development is therefore unique in this regard. It is the only one of the three where individuals after progressing to a higher stage in the developmental hierarchy are still capable of descending notwithstanding the age. Generally, psychologists over the years have studied human beings from individual points of view, there has been only little or no sentiments attached to morality. All the three theories have analysed human behaviour from observation and experience and have not judged some behaviour as right or wrong. While Kohlberg studied Moral Reasoning Development, there was no emphasis or judgements of actions taken by individuals but reasons for taking such actions. Similarly, Piaget who mainly studied childhood behaviours and Erikson with a more detailed analysis of development gave only little or nothing to moral issues. Development, in the field of psychology is therefore non-existent without the contribution of these great psychologists who have contributed immensely to the study of human development in the last century. Though not alone in the study of developmental psychology, their contributions have gone a long way in giving better meanings and understanding for some otherwise strange and outrageous actions or behaviour. Though much has already been achieved developmentally, there is a lot more to be done in order to complement their efforts. These will give man a better and more comprehensive understanding of his actions especially as development progresses. ...read more.

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