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 Was an Austrian neurologist.
 Founder of psychoanalysis.
 Offered the real first theory of personality development.
 Argued that adult neurosis (functional mental disorder) often is rooted in childhood sexuality.

 Based on Freud’s observations of mentally disturbed adults.
 Adult behavior is the result of instinctual drives that have a primary sexual nature (libido) from within the
person and conflicts that develop between these instincts (id), reality (ego), and society (superego).

 A central element of the psychoanalytic sexual drive theory, that human beings, from birth, possess
an instinctual libido (sexual energy) that develops in five stages: oral, anal, phallic, latent, genital.
 During the predictable stages of early childhood development, the child's behavior is oriented towards
certain parts of his or her body.
 Being unsatisfied at the particular stages can result fixation. On the other hand, being satisfied can result a
healthy personality.
 If the child experienced sexual frustration (a sense of dissatisfaction stemming from a discrepancy between
a person's desired and achieved sexual activity) in relation to any psychosexual developmental stage, they
would experience anxiety that would persist into adulthood as a neurosis.

Basic Divisions of Childhood

Stage Age Period
Neonate First 28 days of life
Infant 1 mo – 1 yr
Toddler 1 – 3 yr
Preschooler 3 – 5 yr
School-age Child 6 – 12 yr
Adolescent 13 – 20 yr

 The first stage of psychosexual development.
 Infant: From 1 month to 1 year of age.
 Mouth is the focus of libidinal gratification.
 Infants suck for enjoyment or relief of tension, as well as for nourishment.

 Weaning is the child's key oral-stage experience.

 The id (disorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives)
dominates. (Nonetheless, the infantile ego is forming during this stage).
 Results from thwarting (preventing accomplishment) of the oral-stage — too much or too little
gratification of desire.
 The neglected child might become a psychologically dependent adult continually seeking the oral
stimulation denied in infancy, thereby becoming a manipulative person in fulfilling his or her needs,
rather than maturing to independence.
 The over-protected child might resist maturation and return to dependence upon others in fulfilling
his or her needs.
 Theoretically, oral-stage fixations are manifested as garrulousness (talkativeness), smoking,
continual oral stimulus (eating, chewing objects), and alcoholism.
 Psychologically, the symptoms include a sarcastic, oral sadistic personality, nail biting, oral sexual
practices (fellatio, cunnilingus, analingus, irrumatio), et cetera.

 The second stage of psychosexual development.
 Toddler: From the age of twelve months to three years.

 Anus is the primary erogenous zone (an area of the human body that has heightened sensitivity).

 Pleasure is derived from controlling the bladder and the bowel movement.

 The ego formation continues.

 Toilet training is the child's key anal-stage experience.

 The anal stage coincides with the start of the child's ability to control their anal sphincter, and therefore
their ability to pass or withhold feces at will. If the children during this stage can overcome the conflict it will
result in a sense of accomplishment and independence.

 Conflict occurs between the id (demanding immediate gratification) and the ego (demanding delayed
gratification) in eliminating bodily wastes, and handling related activities (e.g. manipulating excrement,
coping with parental demands).

 If the parents make immoderate demands of the child, by over-emphasizing toilet training, it might
lead to the development of a compulsive personality, a person too concerned with neatness and
 If the child obeys the id, and the parents yield, they might develop a self-indulgent personality
characterized by personal slovenliness (untidy, negligence) and environmental disorder. If the
parents respond to that, the child must comply, but might develop a weak sense of self, because it
was the parents' will, and not the child's ego, which controlled the toilet training.

 If a parent praises the child and gives rewards for using the toilet properly and at the right times
then the child will successfully go through the stage. However, if a parent ridicules and punishes a
child while he or she is at this stage, the child can respond in negative ways.

 Anal-retentive personality results if the parents tried forcing the child to learn to control their bowel
movements, the child may react by deliberately holding back in rebellion. They will form into an
adult who hates mess, is obsessively tidy, punctual, and respectful to authority. These adults can
sometimes be stubborn and be very careful with their money.

 Anal-expulsive personality results when toddlers relieved themselves at inappropriate times. As

children, they soiled their pants whenever they pleased in rebellion against using the toilet. They
did not like to be ordered how and when they should use the toilet. As adults, they will want to
share things with their peers and give things away. They can sometimes be messy, disorganized, and
rebellious. They will also be inconsiderate of others' feelings.


 The use of positive reinforcement after using the toilet at the appropriate times encourages positive
outcomes. This will help reinforce the feeling that the child is capable of controlling their bladder.
The parents help make the outcome of this stage a positive experience which in turn will lead to a
competent, productive, and creative adult. This stage is also important in the child's future
relationships with authority.
 Parents need to be very careful in how they react to their children during this sensitive stage. During
this stage children test their parents, the authority figures, on how much power they really have as
opposed to how much room the child has to make his or her own decisions.

 The third stage of psychosexual development.
 Preschooler: Ages of three to five years.
 Genitalia are his or her primary erogenous zone.
 Masturbation is common.
 Children become aware of their bodies, the bodies of other children, and the bodies of their parents.
 Children gratify physical curiosity by undressing and exploring each other and their genitals, and so learn
the physical (sexual) differences between "male" and "female" and the gender differences between "boy"
and "girl".
 A boy's decisive psychosexual experience is the Oedipus complex, his son–father competition for possession
of the mother.
 A girl's decisive psychosexual experience is the Electra complex, her daughter–mother competition for
possession of the father.
 Could lead to egoism, low self-esteem, flirtatious and promiscuous females, shyness, worthlessness
and men that treat women with contempt.


 The fourth stage of psychosexual development.
 School-age child: From the age of six to twelve years.
 Libido is diverted into concrete thinking (literal thinking that is focused on the physical world).
 The child derives pleasure of gratification from secondary process-thinking that directs the libidinal drives
towards external activities, such as schooling, friendships, hobbies, etc.
 Any neuroses established during this stage, might derive from the inadequate resolution either of the
Oedipus/ Electra conflict or of the Ego's failure to direct his or her energies towards socially acceptable
 The fifth stage of psychosexual development.
 Adolescent: From the age of thirteen to twenty years.
 Purpose: Psychological detachment and independence from the parents.
 Main events: establishment of new sexual aims and the finding of new love objects.
 Affords the person the ability to confront and resolve his or her remaining psychosexual childhood conflicts.
 Centered upon the genitalia, but the sexuality is consensual and adult, rather than solitary and infantile.
 The ego is established.
 The person's concern shifts from primary-drive gratification (instinct) to applying secondary process-
thinking to gratify desire symbolically and intellectually by means of friendships, a love relationship, family
and adult responsibilities.

You can remember the order of these stages by using the mnemonic:
“Old (oral) age (anal) pensioners (phallic) love (latent) grapes (genital)”