Epigenetic Principle of Human Development

EpigeneticPrinciple of Human Development

EpigeneticPrinciple of Human Development

Theepigenetic principle of development was developed by Erik Erikson.This is based on the notion that all organisms are born with acertain reason or purpose and developed in the manner in which it wasintended (Santrock, 2007). This type of development is achievedthrough interaction with the environment. This implies that biologyof an individual unfolds with time depending on the socio-culturalsetting that a person is brought up. This idea helped Erikson inoutlining eight stages of human development starting from infancy toold age, leading to the development of the epigenetic model.

Eriksonequated human psychological development to the development of anembryo. The two types of development (embryo and psychological) occurin stages where the successful development at each specific stagedepends on the success of the previous stages (Frager &amp Fadiman,2013). For example, a child who develops mistrust in the first stageof development is unlikely to become autonomous in the second stageof development. This suggests that the lack of success in theprevious stages of development reduces the probability for successfuldevelopment in subsequent stages. This is based on Erikson’s notionthat everything with the capacity to grow must have a ground planwith each part having its own time of ascendancy.

Erikson’smodel holds that the capabilities acquired in each stage determinewhether an individual will develop positive psychological features inthe next stage. Successful development in each stage is in turndetermined by one’s ability to resolve crises or accomplish tasksthat are specific to each stage. A positive interaction with theenvironment leads to successful unfolding of developmental sequences,which increase the chances for a balanced psychological developmentin all stages.


Frager,R., &amp Fadiman, J. (2013). Personalityand personal growth (7th ed.).Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Santrock,J. (2007). Biologicalbeginnings:Atopical approach to lifespan development. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.