Social Development

Erik Erikson

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Stage 1: Trust vs Mistrust

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Basic Trust

Basic trust is the unconscious sense of trust formed in infancy by appropriate experiences with responsible caregivers. Infants that develop strong basic trust will sense that the world is predictable.
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Attachment is an emotional connection with another person. It is a result of infants being reliant on caregivers. Infants demonstrate attachment by showing signs of distress when separated from their caregivers.
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Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is positive attachment formed by the reliable care given by responsible caregivers. Infants with secure attachment have a strong sense of basic trust.

Insecure Attachment

Insecure attachment is negative attachment formed by the unreliable care given by irresponsible caregivers. Infants with insecure attachment do not have a strong sense of basic trust.

Stranger Anxiety

Stranger anxiety is the fear of strangers that infants usually display.
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Stage 2: Autonomy vs Shame and Doubt

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Parental Neglect

Parental neglect is when a caregiver does not provide proper, responsible care for a child. It can greatly affect the psychological development of a young child.
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Stage 3: Initiative vs Doubt

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Stage 4: Industry vs Inferiority

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Self-concept is a sense of one's own identity and personal worth, and it usually has developed by the end of stage 4.
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Stage 5: Identity vs Role Confusion

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Identity is one's sense of self. According to Erikson, and adolescent's task is to form identity by integrating different roles.

Stage 6: Intimacy vs Isolation

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Intimacy is the ability to form emotionally close relationships. This develops in young adulthood.

Stage 7: Generactivity vs Stagnation

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Social Clock

The social clock is the culturally preferred timing of social events (marriage, parenthood, and retirement). In a stage where one has gotten halfway through life, the failure to reach these social events in a culture's preferred timing can result in lowering of self esteem.
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Stage 8: Ego Integrity vs Despair

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Harlow's Research

The Surrogate Monkey Experiment

This experiment, that tested which (of two) artificIal mothers baby monkeys preferred, showed that infants are attached to a preferable sense of touch and supports the importance of nurture. Infants prefer security created by comfort.
Harlow's Studies on Dependency in Monkeys


Imprinting is the process by which certain animals form attachments during the critical period. For example, baby ducks will follow the first moving object they see.
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Critical Period

The critical period is the period shortly after birth when an organism's exposure to certain experiences produces proper developments. During this period, neural connections rapidly multiply.