Models of Human Development

There are several hypotheses that try to explain human progression. Several concepts have explained different aspects of human nature, such as emotional, social, and cognitive growth. Jean Piaget was a psychologist from Switzerland who was known for having pioneered a cognitive growth theory for human advancement (Chung, 2018). In addition, Erik Erikson was an analyst who developed the theory of psychological growth (Chung, 2018). This paper explores civilization from the perspective of both Jean Piaget and Erik Erikson while also explaining the concept of grieving.

Piaget’s theory of human development states that children acquire knowledge by interacting and manipulating their environment. He also stated that children undergo four phases to become mentally developed (Chung, 2018). The theorist believed that these stages are preoperational, concrete operational, sensorimotor, and formal operational stages (Chung, 2018). Sensorimotor is the first phase where the child is introduced to the world and interacts with it through listening, grasping, and sucking (Chung, 2018). The preoperational phase comes second, and it is where the child starts to use words and pictures to exemplify objects (Chung, 2018). Children develop logical thinking at the concrete operational phase, while at the formal operational phase, they start to develop and use abstract thinking (Chung, 2018). Jean Piaget remains one of the most prominent figures whose ideas and concepts laid the foundation for understanding child development.

Erikson’s perspective of psychosocial growth includes several concepts of human growth. His theory of development revolves around the human personality (Chung, 2018). The theorist states that social interaction and relationships have an impact on the growth and development of humans. Erikson’s postulation of the personality is explained under different stages. In these stages, he maintained that individuals encounter a conflict that acts as a turning point in their development (Chung, 2018). In Erikson’s perspective, these conflicts are focused on either improving a psychological quality or declining to improve it (Chung, 2018). At this point, the possibility for personal development is high, but so is the possibility of failure. Therefore, Erikson’s theory gives a clear insight into the human personality by explaining its development through various stages.

Erikson’s postulation has a more comprehensive explanation of growth than Piaget’s idea. One of the strengths of the former is that it gives a clear insight into development throughout a human being’s entire life. It also enables sociologists to understand humanity’s social nature and the significant influence which social relationships have on development (Chung, 2018). Therefore, Piaget’s theory is limited because it focuses on children while ignoring the rest of life’s stages. This theory also ignores the influence of social connections or the cultural element impacting psychological development. Therefore, Erikson’s concept remains a better model, which explains humans’ psychosocial nature, as Piaget’s idea has several weaknesses limiting its explanation of human development.

In relation to human growth, the process of grief undergoes five significant stages, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Helping someone who has just suffered a significant loss requires patience and understanding. Some practical ways of supporting a grieving person would be to assist with funeral plans, watching their children, taking them to a restaurant, and advising them to join a support group. Furthermore, one should be vigilant of the signs and symptoms of depressions, such as drug abuse, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and many more (Chung, 2018). Grieving children should be allowed to attend the funeral at their will, and they should also be assisted to find ways of memorializing the deceased. With such assistance, the affected person should be able to undergo the process of bereavement successfully.

In conclusion, this paper has explored human development from the viewpoint of both Erikson and Piaget while also exploring the concept of mourning and how to help a grieving person. The scientists’ theories offer different standpoints of cognitive and psychosocial development. While they may have varying strengths and weaknesses, Erikson’s psychosocial idea of human growth has more convincing standpoints than Piaget’s cognitive theory.


Chung, D. (2018). The eight stages of psychosocial protective development: Developmental psychology. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 8(6), 369-398. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. "Models of Human Development." September 15, 2023.