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Erik Erickson's View of Personality Development

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Generally, Erik Erickson's view of personality development makes some logical sense, however,

what he defines seems to be applicable to many social interactions that can recur throughout life.

Although we may initially encounter the learning of how we define trust and mistrust with

respect to the social environment that dominates our life during the birth-1 year time frame, which is

essentially limited to one's parents, it is my opinion that our definitions of trust and mistrust undergo

development throughout our lives with respect to each social group, social environment, and individual

with whom we interact and that distress is managed according to ones life experiences.

If a person's experience is too narrowly scoped with respect to extending full trust or to lack of

extending full trust in various circumstances then one has not developed a proper mechanism for

coping with changes in how to manage another person's or groups actions toward the self. In my view,

there is no end to this tunnel, it is a coping mechanism cyclically refined with each social interaction.

The other issue with trust is that you may trust a person or group with respect to some tasks,

while simultaneously withholding trust with respect to other tasks for that same person or group. The

trust-mistrust equilibrium schema that is cognitively defined for each known and unknown person and

group can be very unique according to the familiarity that one has with respect to each individual and


If a person does not have an inherent will to survive, it is my opinion that they would not make

it beyond the first year of life, particularly when ones life begins fraught with medical problems. So, in

my opinion, will to live would need to precede the trust-mistrust stage.

PBS or some other station once had a show regarding the orphanages of Romania and how the

lack of attention and care that was provided to these rather young children and infants caused them to

lack an understanding and concept of what love, intimacy, affection, as well as, other emotions and that

Bethany A. Kuczin-Crisanto 1 of 4this lack of understanding extended across their lifespan. So, based on this information my opinion is

to disagree entirely that the basic strength of love is not developed until young adulthood.

Also, the stage of generativity and stagnation, toward development of caring from my

experience seemed to occur at a rather young age, but seemed particularly evident during the latter

years of high school when life transitions to more work focused and life change towards having to take

on a much greater set of responsibilities, and where one makes a determination as to whether one can

achieve the skills, knowledge, and abilities to provision and succeed for ones self as well as to be able

to provide for those around you. To me, this must occur in social interactions, if for no other reason, as

a mechanism to gain status in a class-based social system.

So, generally, it is my inclination to concur with Erik Erickson's general view, but to disagree

with the aged oriented stages that he defines.

Henry Murray's Thermatic Apperception Test (TAT) seems to me an abstract mechanism by

which people are able to devise their own "story" about what meanings are described by each picture.

The figure 5.1 in the book, to me seems to reflect what the young woman is thinking. Seemingly with

a bit of wisdom, strategy,



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