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Learning and Cognitive Theories Comparison – Psychology

Feud’s theory

During the oral stage in Feud’s theory the baby’s body responds to pleasurable sensation through the gums, tongue and mouth. At the anal stage, pleasurable sensations mainly emanates from the anus of the baby. The most vital body part is the penis. Genital stimulation generates a lot of pleasure for a baby at phallic stage. The latency phase is referred to as an interlude and not a stage in development. Sexual energy is no visible during these age ranges.

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Children mainly concentrate with sports or school work. At the genital stage, pleasurable sensations are mainly derived from the genitals. This is the adolescent stage of development. The whole of the adulthood stage is associated with the genital stage. Love and proper working are two major ingredients of a healthy lifestyle between 18 and 40 years (Shaffer & Kipp, 2013).

Erikson’s theory

Trust and mistrust stage takes place from birth to about two years. Children acquire the ability to either trust or mistrust certain individuals especially in regards to the provision of the needs. They sincerely value to be provided with genuine physical contact, cleanliness, warmth and nourishment (Gibbs, 2003). Shame and doubt versus autonomy is witnessed from the age of about 1.5 years.

Children either gain confidence that they can accomplish certain activities without being assisted (autonomy) or they begin to doubt their abilities (shame). From 3-6 years, they prefer to engage themselves in activities that adults do. When they go overboard beyond the restrictions put by parents or caregivers, they end up with a sense of guilt. Productivity and competence become the core concerns of children. They desire to acquire and perfect new life skills.

However, they may develop inferiority complex when they fail to achieve their goals from 7-11 years. The adolescent stage is associated with personality confusion because children attempt to find out their real identities. They also streamline their career and political prospects and belief systems. They find it cumbersome to make valid decisions. Love and intimate relationships are sought by the young adults. They may also isolate themselves from each other especially when they suspect that they can be shunned from 18-40 years.

Piaget’s theory

Infants between 0 to 2 years mostly respond through reflexive action. The body acts as the centre of perception. The external environment is acknowledged through objects (Beilin & Pufal, 2013). Objects are associated with words. A child also experiences rapid development of language and explores the environment by being inquisitive at the re-conceptual stage. Gradual decline in egocentric thinking is experienced. Repetition of words is enjoyed by children at this stage.

Children can also do simple numeric counting between 3 and 6 years. Ability to work out difficult challenges can be witnessed from 7 years onwards. A child also begins to comprehend relationships, the difference between left and right. Punishment is identified by children as a corrective measure when they become immoral. The orientation adopted is that of obedience and punishment at the ages of 3-6 years.

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Kohlberg’s theory

Development of the moral standards is experienced from birth to about 3 years. During the post-conventional stage, the social contract orientation is embraced by individuals in this stage. Religious reflection and ethical principle alignment are vital features for this stage (Gibbs, 2003).


Beilin, H. & Pufal, B. P. (2013). Piaget’s Theory: Prospects and Possibilities. Washington DC: Psychology Press.

Gibbs, J. C. (2003). Moral development and reality: beyond the theories of Kohlberg and Hoffman. New York: Sage Publishers.

Shaffer, D. R. & Kipp, K. (2013). Developmental Psychology: Childhood & Adolescence: Childhood and Adolescence. Belmont, CA: WadsWorth Cengage Learning.

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