Eriksons Psychosocial Theory and Tajfels Public Identity

Part I.

This essay provides concise explanations of two paradigms used to explore personality, Erikson's Psychosocial Theory and Tajfel's Social Id Theory (SIT). After that it explores how each theory has been used to build up understanding of personality. A psychological methodology is a theory formed by the psychologist, providing an explanation of a subject from a specific view point. No specific approach is correct nor can be substantiated. Ideas may be modified or turned down and are required to exceed commonsensical information with aiding scientific evidence. Personality is a multifaceted concept, subject to significant interest and research aiding humans to comprehend sense of home and what makes each individual unique.





Theory DevelopmentThe routine of enquiry provides a foundation for the process of theory development, underpinning the ideas detailed here and illustrating the regular cycle producing new questions and evidence to further study and understanding.


(The Pattern of Enquiry, Pheonix & Thomas, p6)

Erickson was the main proponent of the psychosocial theory. He explored personal information from a personal perspective as a personal development process comprising eight stages within a person's life. He claimed that identification is developed by internal make-up and social connection. He emphasized the necessity for an "ego identification" (center personality) to be achieved during adolescence. Erikson believed that this was an experimental time (moratorium). For many however, this is an interval of identity problems whereby difficulty arises in discovering a particular identification, thus delaying achievement individuality which he termed Role Diffusion. Erikson recognized identity as a continuing process borne from life experience. Identity for Erikson was "development of a stable, constant and reliable sense of who we live and that which you stand for in the world which makes sense for us as well as for our community". (Pheonix 2007, pg 53).

James Marcia implemented Erikson's work growing this paradigm. Preserving focus on adolescence he lengthened adolescent era as 13 to 25 and produced innovative, flexible Identification Status Interviews. These interviews were semi-structured; some questions were designed in advance. The purpose, to extract all the information as possible. Interviews were noted, transcribed and listened to many times before analysis. This produced qualitative data. Commonalities were noted and converted into quantitative evidence. This process is frustrating therefore only small examples were interviewed. Marcia adopted the outsider viewpoint to analyse internal experience dependent on exploration options and dedication. He created four identification statuses.

Levels of Exploration








Neither exploring nor investing in ideals/ goals.


Searching for an identity to commit to



Making commitments without exploring options


A stronger personal information, achieved after Moratorium

Marcia proposed that having fixed normative adolescent turmoil, the ideal journey was from moratorium to achievement. However, achievement implies that once individuality is achieved it becomes fixed. Difficulty can come up when determining relative data and the insider's viewpoint could be misinterpreted by the researcher as an outsider. The psychosocial theory is "explicitly concerned with bodily aspects of identity because the body impacts the psychosocial issues we face. " (Pheonix 2007, pg 82)

The psychosocial concept furthers understanding of identification, offering explanations for various aspects of life and current interpersonal issues, for example bullying. Erikson argued "young people may over identify with cliques and crowds. To be a defence against thoughts of loss of id". (Pheonix 2007, pg 56). He explains this could lead to clannish behaviour.

The second theory is Henri Tajfel's Social Personality Theory (SIT). Henri Tajfel, after surviving the Holocaust, he looked for to recognize the minimum conditions necessary for the formation of group identification and understand the consequences of prejudice among groupings. He used the experimental method to instigate SIT. Tajfel arbitrarily divided 14-15 -year-old children into groups, to create artificial 'Minimal Teams' and leading the guys to trust allocation to a group was scheduled to artistic desire. These boys were given duties of allocating points independently to pairs of or males in their "own" group (the ingroup), pairs of guys in the "other" group (the outgroup) and one member of each artist's group. The children were not able to allocate details to themselves. The use of a full outsider viewpoint throughout evaluation the unambiguous results confirmed that the young boys despite having nothing to get exhibited ingroup favouritism whenever the ability arose. The findings of the and later experimental methods frequently exemplify the prevalence of intergroup discrimination.

Tafjel's theory deduces that there are two components: cultural and personal. Public personality produces subjective emotional benefits such as sense of security and owed, by self-categorising into a group, principally if the chosen group depicts a higher position and positive image. This group evaluation can create discrimination and hierarchy. Therefore, substantially impacting on the non-public identity, impacting thoughts about others and how one person pertains to another. Humans endeavour to accomplish, preserve or increase cultural position and self-worth via communal competition, creativity and mobilisation. Tafjel's paradigm proposes opportunity of numerous group identities. Fluidity of SIT is evident in possession of multiple public identities and the procedure of communal mobilisation, competition and ingenuity. SIT also considers impairment as significant to personality "importance of embodiment is implicit in its concern with intergroup discrimination" (Pheonix 2007, pg 82). This permits the consideration of these with disability and discourse analysis products understanding to why modern culture deems those individuals/groups to "suffer" with disabilities and exactly how this idea has been produced.

Both Erikson and Tafjel's paradigms have been produced by others to increase understanding of identity. Marcia understood the value of adolescence when contemplating individuality, however Marcia long this for the categorisation of adolescence, when normative problems generally occurs. He built semi-structured interviews attaining an enhanced perception into someone's choices and commitments and drew correlation between them. The paradigm explores someone's life experience and likelihood of inner conflict due to these experiences, furthering knowledge the upheaval of adolescence the knock-on effect of life experience both positive and negative. Tafjel's paradigm explores the personal information achieved through group relationships and furthers understanding of discrimination, through the necessity for electricity and position. These theories also aid understanding of sociable issues such as bullying and disabilities. Used together these ideas further understanding of identity on an individual and cultural level and illustrates that no person has one set identity, they also aid us to understand how an personality may change when contemplating a person who suddenly finds them self impaired. Both methods adopt the routine of enquiry and both methods portray diversity in furthering our knowledge of personal information and demonstrate that several paradigms co-exist.

(1080 words)


Pheonix, A. (2007). Identities and diversities. In Miell, A. Pheonix, & K. Thomas (Eds), Mapping Psychology (2nd Model. , pp. 45-92). Milton Keynes: The Open up University.

Part II.

Question 1.

(a) i. Roger could use deception, providing he could justify there is not an appropriate substitute and it as necessary to the research to a committee of peers. The BPS Suggestions allow for deception in "exceptional circumstances to maintain the integrity of research or the efficiency of professional services" (BPS, 2009b. 14 (xii) (a) p. 7). Roger would need to gain consent from the kids and up to date consent from parents/guardians and clarify their right to withdraw. He'd need to debrief the kids on the real nature of the study and further clarify why these were deceived, in appropriate language for their years. (100 words)

ii. Roger's review expects children to become aggressive after looking at the clip this indicates harmful effects. Roger has a responsibility to protect the children from physical and mental damage. Within the debrief will need to discuss with the children, the knowledge of the study and screen any unforeseen negative effects, however "in some circumstances, the verbal information of the nature of the inspection wouldn't normally be sufficient to get rid of all opportunity of harmful aftereffects". (BPS 2009a p. 1). (75 Words)

iii. To be able to observe the children in the institution playground Roger should seek honest approval from an appropriate body, for example a professor. "Unless those detected give their consent to being discovered, observational research is merely appropriate in situations where those witnessed would be prepared to be viewed by strangers", (BPS 2009a 9. 1 pg5). It could not be likely that strangers would take notice of the institution playground. Roger also needs to gain consent from the parents/guardians of the children. ( 76 words)

(b) Roger would need to ensure autonomy of the kids, they need to not feel pressurised in to the study. He would need to make clear their right to withdraw. He is obliged to not to breach their confidentiality (unless it is for his or her own safeness for example child mistreatment). The children also have the right to be told the results of the study and he must be sure these are anonymous. Roger is wanting the children to be aggressive with one another. This places the child/ren vulnerable to physical and/or mental injury. A kid (or group of) may reveal the real dynamics of the analysis and could react aggressively in order to get Roger's attention. A kid (or group of) may discover fun in being extreme thus continuing after the study. If a child/ren involves any injury or it is foreseeable that they could Roger should terminate this analysis. (149 words)

Question 2.

(a) i Informed consent was not obtained for the true study first. However, due to the nature of the study it was essential to deceive the individuals. Therefore it wouldn't normally have been possible to gain informed consent. A thorough debrief was given and no participants raised concerns in mention of the study. (53 Words)

(a) ii The analysts conducted an "extensive" debrief at the initial opportunity relative to the BPS rules. During that debrief the research workers should have explained to the individuals the right to withdraw at this stage. A participant can withdraw anytime. "Within the light of connection with the exploration, or consequently of debriefing, the participant gets the to withdraw retrospectively any consent given, and require that their own data, including recordings, be demolished. " (BPS 2009a 6. 2 p. 4). (81 words)

(a) iii The risk of physical injury was no greater than in normal life. However, members could support mental harm when they learn of the results as they may learn that they are no altruistic person, this might have a negative impact on self-worth. Furthermore, the analysis stated that the countless of the individuals who did not stop came out "aroused and anxious". Due to the set up of the test an ambulance may have been needlessly called. (77words)

(a) iv. Although reference point was created to "divinity students at Princeton University or college" this could not sufficiently filter it right down to the exact consequence of one particular specific. Nor could it filter it right down to the exact test of people who participated in the analysis. The violation of confidentiality is not substantive.

(49 Words)

(a) v. The study says an "extensive" debrief was given. Due to the problem of deception and the real nature of this review, the debrief needed to be thorough. The written text states that the explanation for deception was explained and nothing of the individuals showed unease. Providing that members were also explained to their right to withdraw, to confidentiality and consented there should be no significant problem with the debrief. (69 words)

(b) The research objectives might not have been satisfied if the members had not been deceived. However, deception is considered as a violation of autonomy. Therefore, if the debrief is not complete, the results of the analysis could cause individuals to go through long-term psychological harm. This is because when the individuals learn the results they may learn that they are no altruistic person that could have a negative impact on their sense of do it yourself. Furthermore it might lead to resentment of the experts and eliminate any trust in the clinical community. Whilst deception is admissible it is merely when there is no other solution to obtain the experiment results and "Debriefing will not give a justification for unethical areas of any inspection" (BPS 2009a 5. 2 p. 4). Although participants did not come to any injury or complain about the analysis, there's a chance another group would. Ethical guidelines is there for the security of both celebrations and really should be used. (160 words)

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