Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories

Developmental theories provide a set of guiding principles and ideas that describe and explain human development. Some developmental theories, like Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, concentrate on the development of a specific quality (Međedović, 2018). Other developmental theories, like Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, highlight the progress that occurs over the course of a person’s lifespan. The discussion of four development theories is provided below.

Freud’s Psychosexual Theory

According to Freud, personality develops through a series of childhood stages in which pleasure-seeking energies from the child become focused on certain erogenous areas. The five phases of human development identified by Freud’s psychosexual theory are oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital (Međedović, 2018). These psychosexual stages concentrate on various aspects of wants, needs, and desires and represent the major developmental stages of a person from birth to maturity. A real-world example is that if an infant experience a traumatic event, the event is suppressed, and when a child becomes an adult, they react to trauma without knowing.

Erickson’s Psychosocial Development Theory

Erikson’s theory narrates people’s progress through the phases of growth depending on how they respond to societal problems all through their lives. Erikson argued that personality evolved in a predetermined order through eight stages of psychosocial development, from infancy to adulthood. The individual goes through a psychological crisis at each stage, which may or may not affect how their personality develops. Infancy, toddlerhood, preschool, early school years, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood are the eight stages (Međedović, 2018). Adult who is satisfied with their lives and believes they have achieved success is an example of this. My grandma may serve as a physical illustration of this. She had breast cancer and was on her deathbed for a few months since her health was slowly deteriorating.

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

Bandura’s social learning theory entails observation and modeling which play a key role in how and why people learn. According to the social learning theory, people learn social conduct by seeing and imitating the behaviors of others. The idea that learning is the direct outcome of interacting with the environment is just one aspect of Bandura’s theory. One of the key principles of Bandura’s social learning theory is observational learning (Babakr et al., 2019). Bandura also emphasized that in order to observe and mimic the behavior in any way, four requirements must be met: motivation, retention, reproduction, and attention. A real-life example is that Social learning can be used effectively in the workplace to perceive and model productive behaviors.

Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory

The theory tends to suggest that children’s intelligence evolves as they grow Children’s intellectual development is not only about knowledge acquisition; they also need to build skills. For instance, a kid’s cognitive growth involves more than simply knowledge acquisition; the young person also has to create or build a mental image of the world. Children go through a number of stages as they grow cognitively via the combination of innate abilities and external circumstances (Babakr et al., 2019). The sensorimotor stage, preoperational stage, concrete operational stage, and formal operational stage are the four stages of this theory. An extreme example is when a young child who has been playing with a toy animal for a while begins to understand what the toy is and remembers their past experiences with it.

Concepts of Nature vs. Nurture

According to Freud’s viewpoint on this subject, both nurture and nature have a role in how people grow. According to Freud, repressed memories and strong, uncontrolled innate drives exist in human nature (Lerner, 2018). Because some of the innate drives have been developed via one’s upbringing, they can only occur through nurture. He suggests that people are born with the id. This is the instinctual aspect of the mind that needs satisfaction immediately. While recognizing the significance of nature and the structures of the psyche, Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development stresses the study of a child’s social environment in development and hence emphasizes nurture. Like Freud, Erikson was primarily interested in how personality and behavior are shaped after birth, specifically throughout childhood.

According to Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, behavior may be observed, imitated, and used as a model for learning. The results of Bandura’s famous Bobo doll experiment, conducted in 1961, show that our environment has an impact on how we behave. Human behavior truly has an effect on genes, and genes have an intended design to be altered by nurture (Lerner, 2018). Jean Piaget believed in both nature and nurture. He also believed that we would not be here if it were only one or the other because nature and nurture are both what make us who we are, not one or the other.

Concept of Continuity vs. Discontinuity

According to Freud, childhood development is discontinuous; each of us must go through a number of stages, and if we don’t get the right care and parenting during one of those periods, we risk being trapped or obsessed there. Erikson outlines distinct stages of psychological development, which is why his stages are seen as discontinuous (Lerner, 2018). According to the discontinuity theory, development happens more quickly and in a series of distinct, age-specific life phases known as stages. These stages result in a variety of behaviors. Equally, since learning is constant and progressive without clear stages, Bandura’s social learning theory is continuous. The theory bases its assumptions on the idea that learning comes through first-hand interaction with the environment (Lerner, 2018).. Piaget’s stages of development are what make it to be discontinuous development theory.

Concept of Active vs. Passive

According to Freud’s Project writings, the brain should be seen as a fundamentally dynamic and active organ rather than as passive and static, with all of its functions being determined reflexively (Lerner, 2018). Erikson emphasized that children are active, interested explorers who are intelligent, adaptable by nature, and influenced by social and cultural forces rather than being seen as passive individuals led by their impulses and formed by their parents. According to the social cognitive learning theory, people are more than just passive observers of their own growth. Assimilation and accommodation, in Piaget’s view, need an active learner rather than a passive one since problem-solving abilities cannot be taught; rather, they must be acquired.

Strongest Theory as an Explanation of Development

Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory is considered the best since it is the most widely accepted theory of cognitive development is still Piaget’s. Piaget focuses on how children think as they become older. He views the child as a researcher who learns via experiences. Children are driven to learn even in the absence of guidance or incentives from others. The cognitive theory looks at how a person’s mental processes change through time (Babakr et al., 2019). Our knowledge of children’s intellectual development has been aided by Piaget’s theory of cognitive development.

Piaget’s greatest strength was his research which has allowed educators, psychologists, and parents to have a greater understanding of a child’s developmental level. The idea also provides developmental psychology with a novel and contemporary perspective (Babakr et al., 2019). Additionally, Piaget’s cognitive development theory has helped individuals better understand how thinking evolves over time. Additionally, Piaget’s theory ignores how social and cultural development affects development. Each of the development theories discussed in this study contributes to our knowledge of human development


Babakr, Z., Mohamedamin, P., & Kakamad, K. (2019). Piaget’s cognitive developmental theory: Critical review. Education Quarterly Reviews, 2(3). Web.

Lerner, R. M. (2018). Concepts and theories of human development. Routledge. Web.

Međedović, J. (2018). What can human personality psychology learn from behavioral ecology? Journal of Comparative Psychology, 132(4), 382–394. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 17). Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 17). Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories.

Work Cited

"Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories." PsychologyWriting, 17 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories'. 17 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories." September 17, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories." September 17, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Freud’s, Erickson’s, Bandura’s, and Piaget’s Developmental Theories." September 17, 2023.