Psychological and Sociological Perspectives On Human Development and Behaviour.

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Cherine Docherty - HNC Social Care

In my portfolio, I am going to analyse the psychological factors influencing the development and needs to the individual throughout the life cycle and the sociological factors contributing to the understanding of the development of the individual. I am going to base my portfolio into seven different chapters;

My first chapter I will analyse the development of the infancy stage, speaking about Freud and Erikson's theories, I will also speak about single parent families, one cause and effect of discrimination, and I will include my own personal experience;

My second chapter I will analyse the development of the childhood stage, speaking about Freud and Erikson's theories, I will also speak about the nuclear family in this chapter;

My third chapter I will analyse the development of adolescence, speaking about Freud and Erikson's theories;

My fourth chapter I will analyse the development of adulthood, speaking about Maslow and Erikson's theories;

In my fifth chapter I will analyse the development of the older adult, speaking about Maslow and Erikson's theories, I will also speak about the extended family and one cause and effect of discrimination.

Throughout these five chapters I will also include in each one; socialisation, poverty, PICES and I will portray a mind map at the beginning of each chapter.

In my sixth and seventh chapter, I will speak about nature/nurture and I am going to draw a diagram revealing some poverty statistics in recent years. At the very end of my portfolio, I am going to draw up a conclusion reflecting on my portfolio.

From infancy through to adolescence, I will be talking about Freud and Erikson's theories. Erikson's core tendency was "similar to Freud, but with a definite emphasis on some proportion of functioning that is not determined by the attempt to avoid conflict between the individual and society". ( HTML). Erikson's core characteristics were also similar to Freud "except that the ego is considered to be partially innate and there is less emphasis on all behaviour being defensive". ( HTML).

Erik Erikson was a personality in principle develops according to steps predetermined in the growing person's readiness to be driven toward, to be aware of and to interact with a widening social radius. Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 15, 1902. He later died in Harwich, Massachusetts, 1994.

Sigmund Freud was born in 1856 and later died in1939; he was a physiologist, medical doctor, psychologist and father of psychoanalysis. He is generally recognised as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the twentieth century.


In this chapter, I am going to write about Erikson and Freud's theories in infancy. I am also going to write how an infant will socialise and how poverty would affect an infant. In this chapter, I will also talk about Single Parent Families and I will include my own personal experience.

Firstly, I am going to write about Erikson's theory on infancy. Erikson split infancy into two stages, early infancy and late infancy.


This starts from age's birth to one year, children begin to learn the ability to trust others based upon the consistency of their caregiver(s). If trust develops successfully, the child gains confidence and security in the world around him and is able to feel secure even when threatened. Unsuccessful completion of this stage can result in ability to trust, and therefore a sense of fear about the inconsistent world. It may result in anxiety, heightened insecurities, and an over feeling of mistrust in the world around them. Then there is:


This stage starts between the ages of one to three, children begin to assert their independence, by walking away from their mother, picking which toy to play with, and making choices about what they like to wear, to eat, etc. If children in this stage are encouraged and supported in their increased independence, they become more confident and secure in their own ability to survive in the world. If children are criticized, overly controlled, or not given the opportunity to assert themselves, they begin to feel inadequate in their ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent on others, lack self-esteem, and feel a sense of shame or doubt in their own abilities.

Sigmund Freud also had two stages to infancy, which are the oral and anal stage:

ORAL STAGE (Age 0 - 1.5)

Erogenous Zone in Focus: Mouth

Gratifying Activities: Nursing - eating, as well as mouth movement, including sucking, gumming, biting and swallowing.

Interaction with the Environment: To the infant, the mother's breast not only is the source of food and drink, but also represents her love. Because the child's personality is controlled by the id and therefore demands immediate gratification, responsive nurturing is key. Both insufficient and forceful feeding can result in fixation in this stage.

Symptoms of Oral Fixation:

* Smoking

* Constant chewing on gum, pens, pencils, etc.

* Nail biting

* Overeating

* Drinking

* Sarcasm ("the biting personality") and verbal hostility

Then there is the:

ANAL STAGE (AGE 1.5 - 3)

Erogenous Zone in Focus: Anus

Gratifying Activities: Bowel movement and the withholding of such movement.

Interaction with the Environment: The major event at this stage is toilet training, a process through which children are taught when, where, and how excretion is deemed appropriate by society. Children at this stage start to notice the pleasure and displeasure associated with bowel movements. Through toilet training, they also discover their own ability to control such movements. Along with it becomes the realization that this ability gives them power over their parents. This is, by exercising control over the retention and expulsion of faeces, a child can choose to either grand or resist parents' wishes.

Anal Fixation

* Anal-Expulsive personality: If the parents are too lenient and fail to install the society's rules about bowel movement control, the child will derive pleasure and success from the expulsion. Individuals with a fixation on this mode of gratification are excessively sloppy, disorganized, reckless, careless and defiant.

* Anal-Retentive personality: If a child receives excessive pressure and punishment from parents during toilet training, he will experience anxiety over bowel movements and take pleasure in being able to withhold such functions. Individuals who fail to progress pass this stage is obsessively clean and orderly, and intolerant of those who are not. They may also be very careful, stingy, withholding, obstinate, meticulous, conforming and passive-aggressive.

An infant develops in several ways; there is physical development, cognitive development, intellectual development, emotional development and last of all social development we can sometimes refer to this as PICES or SPICE.

When an infant is developing physically, "you will notice that there is increasing control over the body beginning with control of head and upper body. This progresses for the infant's ability to sit independently, then to crawl, then to pull up onto two feet and stand, then to walk with help, perhaps in a walker or pushing a trolley. Then that remarkable day arrives, usually between ten and eighteen months, when the child takes those first independent steps. Hand movements become finer with the ability to grasp things and then to finely hold objects in a pincer grip at around nine months old." (Janet Miller 2003, p98) An infant will physically develop through play and learning to do things by themselves. At around seven months, a baby will learn to turn over from back to front. The baby will try to sit upright but probably flop backwards and forwards. By the time, the infant reaches about thirteen-fourteen months he/she will be walking independently and trying to eat his/her own food with its own cutlery. At about a year and a half the child will be running about interacting with others often fallen down over his/her own feet. The child will be playing with his/her own toys building little castles with toy bricks. By about two years old the child will be running about very confidently learning that he/she is big enough to run away from his/her parents, and even climbing over the cot. The child will now be playing and interacting very independently with other children learning new games and making a mess. By this age, the child has feelings and will often laugh at things.

Over the page I have attached a picture of Tia aged one and as you can see, she is a happy, energetic toddler who greets everyone with a smile. She loves playing with her toys, exploring handbags, dancing, singing along to nursery rhymes and babbling on the phone. Tia is tall for her age and she is starting to speak some words clearly.

As you can see from Tia, it is at this stage of an infant's life that they start physically interacting with others and exploring new things. At the age of one, Tia is starting to say some words; some infants are quicker than others are at learning to speak. At this age infants are really just finding their feet; they tend to walk around furniture holding on and grasping on to anything they can find.

When an infant is intellectually developing, they start to think, language development is important to them and some aspects of play and the whole process of learning and understanding about the world. The five senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing are used to learn about and explore surroundings. An infant intellectually develops by imitating everything around them. If the infant sees his/her mother/carer doing something then the infant will imitate this. Even although adults and older children may not realise it they are having an effect upon a baby. "What they do is very important from the earliest days of the child's life, not only in terms of the child's emotional security but also in terms of intellectual growth." (Janet Miller 2003:98) There is evidence that babies imitate their mother's mouth movements from the age of about a month, even though they cannot speak; similarly, body movements are imitated and learned. By about eighteen months old an infant will start to remember where objects belong, they also explore new environments with great interest and can manipulate building blocks so that they become towers. By this age the infant will be learning new words and trying to remember what everything means for example, if an infant wants its bottle he/she will have to remember what he/she done the last time to get the bottle; the infant will become familiar with words like 'bo bo' (bottle) and 'te te's' (sweets).

When an infant is emotionally developing, (1) "they will begin to gain a sense of him or herself from other people and things, so that somewhere between six months and a year a separate identity begins to emerge. Crying changes in nature becomes a call for someone else. Smiling, which has probably been present as a sign of pleasure from the first month of life, becomes increasingly a response to other people. Crying and smiling are the baby's main ways of communicating pain and pleasure and need a response in order that the child can begin to gain knowledge of communication as an exchange. At this stage, too the child begins to test the world, to throw things away which are then put back, to get anxious if the closest person to her goes out, and to be reassured when she or he returns. As long as the person does come back, the child learns to trust other people, to see that they can be relied upon, and to form a close bond with at least one significant other person. Initial synchrony helps in this bonding process, though bonding at this stage is entirely possible for children who have had early health difficulties and/or have been separated from their parents. Continued separation though, increases the difficulties of bonding once a child reaches the stage of seeing him/herself as separate". In my opinion, bad parents can emotionally hurt a child. Not all parents are bad, but in reality, some are. If there are two parents who are constantly arguing in front of the child then this can disturb the child emotionally. The child can then act very unhappy and never settled; I think you will notice this if the child cries all the time - if the child is getting the proper care and always reacts unhappy then the child may be emotionally disturbed.

At the age of about ten months, an infant will start to interact with others; they always want to be playing and communicating with others; this is their social development. If an infant has brothers or/and sisters they can communicate socially by playing with toys together; building castles from toy bricks and playing 'mummy and daddy' with their dolls. Small children often play hide and seek, they often chase each other about their houses playing 'tig' and other social games. (2) "Most people who have been with small babies a lot will be convinced that they are sociable from a very early age. Whether or not they have any sense of a separate identity, a small baby's smiles and cries elicit responses from others to play, to comfort or to just smile back...From about eight months onwards the young child begins to spread his or her sociability to other people, though will often seek the reassurance and closeness of the most meaningful person if threatened or unsure (or hungry or uncomfortable or tired)."

Within western culture, play is an important factor within infancy. The infant has really just found his or her feet and loves to run about and interact with others. The infant will learn from others around him or her and often pick these things up. What they learn in society they tend to copy and do the same as others around them. Infants are easily amused; the adults who are caring for the infants will usually teach them things; the parent will often play with the infant and teach him or her how to live and fit into society the best way possible.

Within Western society, play is an important factor of the infant's development. For example, just being at nursery will meets all of the infant's developmental needs. Being at nursery will meet the infant's cultural needs by playing with other children, running about and interacting. Nursery will meet the need of the infant's social needs by being involved in activities with friends and teachers, playing little games. Being at nursery will meet the need of the infant's emotional needs by not having mummy or daddy around; they might get upset that their parents are not with him/her. Nursery will meet the needs of the infant's intellectual needs by learning how to count, draw and paint. Therefore, as I have written, nursery does have quite a large impact on the infant's life.

Through out the chapter I have wrote about how an infant develops. In some parts of the world, infant's rights to develop are taken away from them. If a child is in poverty then they are not going to grow, they will find it hard to socialise and not all their basic needs are being met. (3) "In Intervida USA, infants get top priority because they are the most vulnerable population in conditions of poverty. Currently, there are hundreds of millions of children whose development is gravely compromised by malnutrition, disease, exploitation and lack of educational sources...the state of infancy in the world is highly troubling, as these sobering facts indicate:

* In developing countries, malnutrition is one of principal factors contributing to over half the deaths of children less than five years of age.

* Malnutrition in expectant mothers is the principal cause of disease and health problems hindering the healthy development of 177 million children.

* To reduce the morbidity and mortality rates of children less than five years of age, proper medical attention is crucial; nevertheless 2.4 billion people lack access to health care.

* One-third of all births go unregistered: these children will have greater difficulties in accessing basic health and education services."
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All over the world people live in poverty, some live in absolute poverty and some in relative poverty. (4) A definition of absolute poverty assumes that it is possible to define a minimum standard of living based on a person's biological needs for food, water, clothing and shelter. ... (Relative) poverty is defined in relation to a generally accepted standard of living in a specific society at a specific time and goes beyond basic biological needs." Many people take the view that poverty has been eliminated from this country. "Such people are usually rich and not too aware ...

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