Cultural Influences On Identity Development Essay

1593 words - 6 pages

The question we are answering is, how does culture influence identity development? By the end of this paper you would be able to conclude that no matter what the surroundings of an individual is it will have some sort of an effect on either the physical or mental aspects of an individual. In order to answer this question we must understand how identity is developed, what culture consists of and concluding how culture influences identity development.
First and Foremost in order to know what motivates identity development we must understand how identity is developed. Identity development starts with infants discovering of self which continues throughout childhood and become the focus of adolescence. According to Erik Erikson the goal of adolescence is achieving a coherent identity and avoiding identity confusion. Identity consists of many aspects; physical and sexual identity, beliefs, ethnics background and much more. Adolescence explores these aspects of identity as they move into early adulthood, although sometimes there are things that influence change in these aspects of their identity as life conditions and situations alter. Identity Development begins with children’s awareness and that the belief that they are unique individual’s and not exactly the same as their friends. This alertness is evident when infants start to recognize themselves. For example, a research experiment that Took place to support this idea was when researchers placed a red dot on a child’s nose, two year olds who see themselves in a mirror will touch their noses (Bullock and Lutkenhaus 1990),this shows that they recognize themselves in a mirror image . Also Words like “Me” and “I” and “Mine” are said very early in children’s language showing a sense of self. These beliefs and findings are very dependable on Erikson’s psychosocial stage of autonomy versus shame and doubt, when infants realise and establish their identity as independent persons. During childhood, self – awareness continues both growing and changing. Children at young Ages describe themselves in terms of observable characteristics and behaviours, including physical attributes. Between ages six and twelve, children begin to include less concrete aspects of the self in their descriptions. School aged children talk about Their feelings (“I love my cat” ) and how they fit into their social world (“I’m the best defence on my team”).The cognitive, physical and social changes of adolescence allow the teenager to develop identity that will serve as a basis for their adult lives. In relation to Erikson this part of identity development would fall s under the identity versus role confusion stage, adolescents description of self-expands to include personality traits (“I’m positive”) and attitudes (“I don’t like stuck – up people”). The emergence of abstract reasoning allows adolescents to think about the future and experiment with different identities.
James Marcia a clinical and developmental psychologist also...

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