Final Outline And Annotated Bibliography Psychology Essay

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Everyone has their own theories of why things are the way they are. Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, and Erik Erikson are three men that have outstanding theories about human development; all with their own little thoughts about why theirs is the way it should be. The theories of these men outline and help suggest who we are as people and why we are that way. This paper objective is to weigh, compare, and evaluate the expectations and statements of these theorists. Each developmental theory explains in a series of age-related changes that happen over the course of a life span. Piaget, Kohlberg, and Erikson are famous for describing their theories in a series of stages. People pass through stages in a specific order that is often related to a person's age, and therefore as development is discontinuous, it has dissimilar capacities developing within each stage.

Body Paragraph # 1

Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss psychologist who studied children. Piaget's theory states that as children develop biologically they also meet specific cognitive goals and that developments of adaptive behaviors are connected to mental development. Piaget believed that it occurred in specific chronological stages and that children's minds were not capable to reason like adults, in that their minds grow gradually. Piaget's theory assumes that development is unidirectional with all children reaching each stage at approximately at the same age.

Topic Sentence: Children's development is unidirectional and children reach each stage at about the same age.

Supporting Evidence:

"A necessary outcome of development is the ability to solve problems in their environments and adapt to those environments, which change, as people themselves also change. Second, Piaget proposed that child development is a process of construction that is based on organism-environment interactions in various conditions. Third, he posited that socialization factors - including cooperation, discussions, oppositions, exchanges and the like - play a role in cognitive development." (Maynard, 2008)

Body Paragraph #2

Lawrence Kohlberg was a Jewish American psychologist who is known for following Piaget's theory of cognitive development to create his theory on morality. Kohlberg believed that people progressed in their moral reasoning, for example ethical behavior through a series of stages. He believed that there were six identifiable stages, which could be more commonly classified into three levels: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional.

Topic Sentence: Kohlberg believed that people progressed through ethical behavior through stages.

Supporting Evidence:

"Recent management behavior such as the PINTO gasoline tank decision has received a great deal of notoriety" (Baxter, Gerald, & Rarick, 1987). People are asking question whether such behavior can result in moral behavior, and if this behavior reflects the proper education in moral behavior. Answers to these questions might point to an approach out of the moral obscurities giant corporations have asked the world.

Body Paragraph #3

Erik Erikson was a German-born American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst who were known for his theory on psychosocial development of human beings. Erikson unlike Piaget believed that there are eight stages of life. They had similar beliefs in charting the development of children and both eventually rejected Freud's model of the mind. Erikson believed that people would pass through 8 stages of life from infancy to adulthood, each stage if successful would build on to the next, however it was not successfully completed than it was expected for problems to reoccur in the future.

Topic Sentence: Erikson believed there were eight stages of life.

Supporting Evidence:

Suicide is a problem in the United States and one factor underlying suicide concerns the failure to construct a healthy identity (Portes, Sandhu, & Longwell-Grice, 2002). It is suggested that because a person does not successfully go through the eight stages of life, they may not understand whom they are which can lead to suicide.


In conclusion, Piaget, Erikson, and Kohlberg are just three of the theorists who can provide a wide-ranging outlook in human development. Remember that people pass through stages in a specific order that is often related to a person's age, and therefore as development is discontinuous, it has dissimilar capacities developing within each stage.

Annotated Bibliography

Maynard, A. E. (2008). What we thought we knew and how we came to know it: Four decades of

cross-cultural research from a piagetian point of view. Human Development, 51(1), 56-65. Retrieved September 8, 2012, from

The author covers the Piagetian theory regarding adaption and constructionism and how they are compatible with a cross-cultural approach when studying cognitive development. The author offers insight into historical research, narrative and discourse research and cognitive developmental neuroscience. This author has helped shed some light on the processes and mechanisms of developmental changes regarding relationship to culture.

Hinde, E. R., & Perry, N. (2007). Elementary teachers' application of jean piaget's theories of

cognitive development during social studies curriculum debates in arizona. The Elementary School Journal, 108(1), 63. Retrieved September 8, 2012, from

The author explores Piaget's theories concerning cognitive development to contradict proposed social studies standards in Arizona. Piaget's work is described on how children learn. The data consists of written comments on the standards submitted by 50 public reviewers and copies of draft standards containing all proposed and accepted changes from the beginning of the public review period (March 1-25, 2005) until the Arizona Department of Education presented the standards to the state board of education for approval. The analysis found that teachers frequently referred to Piagetian theory and developmentally appropriate practices to refute the new standards.

Hye-Jeong Baek. (2002). A comparative study of moral development of korean and british

children. Journal of Moral Education,31(4), 373-391. Retrieved September 8, 2012, from

The author explored Kohlberg's theory of moral development in relation to Korean and British children. One hundred twenty eight Korean and British children aged 7-16 years were interviewed individually using Kohlberg's moral dilemmas. Original it was thought that children in both cultural groups would develop moral stages at similar rates however, they did not. It was found that Kohlberg's system could be used to examine children's general moral stage but was inadequate to understand fully Korean children's moral reasoning.

Baxter, G. D., & Rarick, C. A. (1987). Education for the moral development of managers:

Kohlberg's stages of moral development and integrative education. Journal of Business Ethics, 6(3), 243-243. Retrieved September 9, 2012, from

In this the author explains Kohlberg's stages of moral development and his theory on movement from one stage to another via an internal cognitive reorganization suggest that an educational package containing a strong integrative element can be used to educate managers to be moral agents. The benefits of an integrated general education curriculum include 1. It helps people focus on the questions they ask. 2. It teaches the ability to synthesize. 3. It benefits faculty as well as students in ways such as providing relief from the tedium that often accompanies traditional offerings. The increase in cognitive skills that an integrated curriculum would offer would mean the attainment of the universal ethical principles orientation.

Portes, P. R., Sandhu, D. S., & Longwell-Grice, R. (2002). Understanding adolescent suicide: A

psychosocial interpretation of developmental and contextual factors. Adolescence, 37(148), 805-14. Retrieved September 9, 2012, from

The author uses Erikson's theories on identity development as an outline to explain and examine the motives for suicide among young adults and adolescents and why they are susceptible to suicide. Suicide is a tragedy and Erikson's thoughts and ideas help us to better understand why adolescents respond to suicide and engage in ending their lives.

Markstrom, C. A. (1999). Religious involvement and adolescent psychosocial

development. Journal of Adolescence, 22(2), 205-221. Retrieved September 9, 2012, from

This study was done to figure out if religious involvement is associated with psychosocial maturity of adolescents as explained in Erikson's psychosocial theory. The author evaluates the involvement in church attendance, bible study participation and youth group involvement to better understand the relationship to ego strengths, ideological and ethnic forms of identity, general self-esteem, and school self-esteem.