Erik Erikson. Image in the public domain from Wikimedia Commons
Biograhy and Overview The Notable Names Database (NNDB) presents this thorough profile of Erik Erikson.
e-Textbook From the electronic textbook created for undergraduate and graduate courses in Personality Theories by George Boeree of Shippensburg University.
Lecture Doug Davis, Haverford College, shares his lectures on Freud, Erikson, and more from his Foundations of Personality class.
More or Less Actualized? Psychologist Ann Reitan reflects on Abraham Maslow's notion of self-actualization. First, she explains what it is, then she muses on what it means for different people at different times in their lives, drawing on the work of Eric Erikson. Finally, she suggests that self-actualizing people may find meaning at lower levels of the hierarchy, such as when their needs are being threatened. She gives examples of people who she believed were actualizing while facing death (e.g., Viktor Frankl), fearing for their safety (e.g., Nelson Mandela), losing their freedom (e.g., Ghandi), and experiencing mental illness (e.g., Sylvia Plath). From Brain Blogger, January 8, 2013.
Erik Erikson Obituary. Erik H. Erikson, the psychoanalyst who profoundly reshaped views of human development, died yesterday at the Rosewood Manor Nursing Home in Harwich, Mass. He was 91. From The New York Times, May 13, 1994.
Overview Biography, Time Line, and Bibliography compiled by Wendy Sharkey at Muskingum College.
Psychosocial Development Craig Cramer, Bernadette Flynn, and Ann LaFave created this website in 1997 as for Psychology 501 at SUNY Cortland. It presents an excellent overview and critique of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development in tabular form.
Psychosocial Theory of Erikson Doug Davis of Haverford College and Alan Clifton of Clark University wrote this very advanced outline of Erickson's theories including a discussion of zones, modes and modalities, ego psychology, and an extensive description of the 8 stages of development.
Assignments, Exercises, and Activities
Ages in Stages: An Exploration of the Life Cycle based on Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Human Development Margaret Krebs-Carter designed this activity for High School English or Developmental Psychology classes and gives this description: How does age make a difference in the way we act/think/feel? Erik Erikson, the well-known teacher and psychiatrist who popularized the term “identity crisis” claims that we are greatly affected by the developmental changes that we undergo as we mature. This curriculum unit pursues the question of age differences by focusing on Erik Erikson’s theory of human development—the eight stages. Included in this unit are: 1) brief explanations of the eight stages; 2) recommended readings—short stories, plays, and novels—that illustrate the emotional crises that occur during these eight stages; 3) activities to introduce the new concepts; 4) suggestions of theoretical material for students to read; 5) a description of how to structure the classroom in order to teach a class in which group participation is encouraged.
Psychosocial Stages Edmund Sass, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, Collegeville, MN uses this exercise in his classes: Each of the situations below represents a negative outcome of one of Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Stages. Determine which psychosocial stage resulted in each set of behaviors described below; speculate as to what circumstances may have resulted in the negative outcome; and describe what behaviors would be indicative of a positive outcome of that same stage.
The Soundtrack of Your Life Describes an activity where students identify eight major events in their lives (e.g., deaths, first car, entering high school, etc.) and find songs (music and lyrics) to correspond to these events, designing an imaginary soundtrack of their lives. Students write about the experience, submit their compilations, and/or present a song to the class with an explanation of its import. Originally designed to be a writing assignment, with some additional guidance this activity can be used to illustrate narrative psychology, the self, Erikson's stages, and other theories of personality psychology.
Various Activities Visit this page to see classroom activities submitted by high school and college teachers. Add your own activities for inclusion here.
Identity Crisis: David Doug Davis, Haverford College, shares these notes from his Foundations of Personality class. This study is based on a case presented by M.B. Bowers. (1974). Retreat from sanity: The structure of emerging psychosis. Baltimore: Penguin.
Identity Crisis: Nancy Doug Davis, Haverford College, shares these notes from his Foundations of Personality class. This study is based on a case presented by M.B. Bowers. (1974). Retreat from sanity: The structure of emerging psychosis. Baltimore: Penguin.
Current Researchers and Research Teams
Foley Center for the Study of Lives In the tradition of Henry A. Murray and Erik Erikson, the Foley Center at Northwestern University studies psychological and social development in adulthood.
Examples and Illustrations
Parents Can Play An Active Role In The Identity Formation Of Their Adolescent Children Science Daily, from August 27, 2008, summarizes research by Elli Schachter of Bar Ilan University and Jonathan Ventura of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mainstream belief regarding identity theory tends to portray adolescents as the sole agents involved in their identity development. However, a new article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence reveals that parents are concerned, involved, and reflective participants in their children's identity formation
Stages Here's a listing of people -- both fictional and real -- who are good examples of personality development at the various stages. Add your own examples here!
Erik Erikson's Psychoanalytic Ego Psychology by Michael T. Hynan, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Slide Presentation Lecture and lecture notes by Sandra K. Webster, Westminster College.
Tests, Measures, and Scales
Trust Scale Ron Okada, at York University, Toronto maintains this collection of tests that students can use in research including the Authoritarianism-Rebellion Scale, Survey of Recent Life Experiences, The Body Esteem Scale, The Body Awareness Scale, Personal Attribute Questionnaire, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Current Thoughts Scale, Trust Scale and much, much more.
Erik Erikson's 8-Stages Hoedown Undergraduate Matthew Volkmann made this video for his Ed Psych class at the University of Iowa. In it, he describes Erikson's stages of identity development. The video runs 5 minutes, 20 seconds and starts with a loud scream). P. S. Matthew proudly reports that he got an A on this project!
Erikson’s Eight Stages of Life Michael Brit, former professor of psychology, broadcasts a podcast about psychology called The Psych Files. This show (Episode 21) contains audio interviews with people at different stages of life, each of whom talk about the issues they are facing in their lives at that time. There is also a fascinating clip (in the public domain) of the actor John Wayne from the later stages of his life in which he appears to be more on the Despair side of Erikson's Integrity vs. Despair stage. The episode concludes with a 91 year old who has a firm sense of Integrity as he looks back at his life. Also, this episode includes a mnemonic device which should help teachers and students alike to remember the order of the eight stages.
Identity through the lifespan The song One Hundred Years by Five For Fighting captures what it's like to be 15 and madly in love and then follows that love through an imagined life time. Check out the lyrics here. Would make a good introduction to identity, Erikson, and personality stability and change. First link was to the original, try this unusual montage here.
Integrity vs. Despair: Johnny Cash Hurt The images of an aged Johnny Cash singing the song Hurt interspersed with images of him as a young man poignantly illustrate the despair aspect of Erikson's Developmental Stage Integrity vs. Despair: What have I become? My sweetest friend. Everyone I know goes away in the end. And you could have it all: my empire of dirt. Music and lyrics by Trent Reznor. (4 minutes, 2 seconds).
The Psych Files: The Brains Behind Erikson Parts 2 (Episode 24) and 3 (Episode 25) Michael Brit, former professor of psychology, broadcasts a podcast about psychology called The Psych Files. What is happening in your brain as you progress through life? In this episode [Part 2] we take a look at some of the changes that occur in your brain from birth to age 12. We finish off this series [Part 3] looking at your brain as you develop by examining what is happening in your brain as you age from adolescence to older adulthood. Also: an impersonated celebrity endorsement from Star Trek’s George Takai. (Part 1, Episode 22 shows how to use Timeliner to compare timelines that focus on different aspects of life - in this case I merge Erikson’s stages with significant events in my life and then with some of the significant physical changes that occur in everyone’s life as we age.'')