Freud vs Piaget

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When comparing the work of Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget two things come to mind, they both had a lasting and profound impact on the field of psychology and both received a great amount of criticism regarding their theories. Freud is considered the founder of psychoanalysis, which is based on childhood development and psychosexual stages. Piaget was the top developmentalist of the 1960s and 1970s. His theory of cognitive development was as well studied as Freud's theory of psychosexual development was a generation before. While they both had many criticisms of their work, both Freud and Piaget influenced their respective fields of psychology so much that today their thoughts and concepts are still studied and referenced everyday. Freud’s theories have revolutionized how we think. The impact Piaget has had on developmental psychology has guided social norms of human development and education. This essay will compare and contrast the theories of Freud and Piaget. In examining the Freudian view of human development, the main characteristic of human development is one of a primitive and sexual nature. Freud defines the id as a unconscious part of the mind focused on the primitive self and is the source of the demands of basic needs. Freud explains that the mind of an infant consists only of the id, driving the basic needs for comfort, food, warmth, and love. In later stages of early development, as a child’s mind begins to grow, the ego is formed. The ego is defined as the connection between consciousness and reality that controls one’s thought and behavior. In late pre-school years a child begins to develop what is called a superego. At this stage values are internalized, and the complex connection between the id, ego, and supere... ... middle of paper ... ...s. Throughout the stages of development Freud argues that the powerful human influence came from the parents. Piaget believed that peers are as important or more important than parents are. They both agree that a young child is affected by his parents’ standards, but he is not simply a passive recipient of those standards. Piaget did seem to build on one of Freud’s ideas in that while Freud was only interested in moral feelings like guilt and shame, Piaget expanded his theory to look at the development of moral judgment. Piaget and Freud’s theory are universally known and used in every aspect of human development. While parts of each are used to guide the current theories of human development, ultimately the Freudian and Piagetian theory are very different and have different explanations for what is characteristically observed through human growth and development.

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