Emotional and Psychological Development Theorists

Three theorists specifically associated with emotional and psychological development are Erik Erikson, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth.

Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson built upon Sigmund Freud's work. He identified eight different stages across the lifespan. He believed that in each stage we face a crisis that needs to be resolved in order for us to develop socially and emotionally.
Each stage has a positive or negative outcome, though we tend not to be at either end of the spectrum. The outcome of the stage is determined by our environment, and the care giving strategies or experiences to which we are exposed.

John Bowlby

John Bowlby examined the attachment relationship between parents and their children. He identified four phases in which attachment develops. He believed that children are born with a variety of behaviours that encourage parents and others to be near to them. These proximity-seeking behaviours include laughing, gurgling and crying. Attachment of the child and parent develops over a period of time and is mainly achieved by the routine care giving tasks that parents and children are
involved in (Berk, 1996).

Mary Ainsworth

Mary Ainsworth built upon bowlby's work in the 1970's. She developed an experiment to test the quality of the attachment relationship between mothers and their children.The Strange Situation will determine whether the infant is securely attached, insecurely attached or avoidant of the parent (Berk, 1996).

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