Discovering Erik Homburger Erikson

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What was Erikson's contribution to psychology?

What was Erikson's educational background?

What was Erikson's ethnicity and family background?

What was Erikson's area of specialization?

What was Erikson's contribution to the field of religion?

What was the title of Erikson's Pulitzer Prize-winning book?

What was Erikson's wife's profession?

Where did Erikson pass away?

What were some of Erikson's major works?


Erik Homburger Erikson: A Life Summary

  • Erik Homburger Erikson was a German-American psychoanalyst and essayist known for his theory on psychological development of human beings and coining the phrase identity crisis.
  • Despite lacking a university degree, he served as a professor at prominent institutions, including Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, and Yale.
  • Erikson was born to a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish Danish father in Germany, and his mother later married a Jewish pediatrician, Theodor Homburger, who adopted Erikson when he was nine years old.
  • The development of identity was one of Erikson's greatest concerns in his own life, and he changed his last name to Erikson from Homburger during his job at Yale.
  • Erikson specialized in child analysis and underwent a training analysis with Anna Freud.
  • In the United States, Erikson became the first child psychoanalyst in Boston and held positions at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Judge Baker Guidance Center, and at Harvard Medical School and Psychological Clinic.
  • Erikson's theory of development includes various psychosocial crises where each conflict builds off of the previous stages, and the result of each conflict can have negative or positive impacts on a person's development.
  • Erikson's psychology of religion emphasizes how religious tradition can have an interplay with a child's basic sense of trust or mistrust and how human individual and social life is characterized by ritualization.
  • Erikson won a Pulitzer Prize and a US National Book Award in category Philosophy and Religion for Gandhi's Truth (1969), which focused more on his theory as applied to later phases in the life cycle.
  • Erikson married Canadian-born American dancer and artist Joan Erikson in 1930 and they had four children together.
  • He died on 12 May 1994 in Harwich, Massachusetts, and is buried in the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Harwich.
  • Erikson's major works include "Childhood and Society," "Identity: Youth and Crisis," and "The Life Cycle Completed."
  • Erikson's psychobiographies on Martin Luther and Mohandas K. Gandhi demonstrate how childhood development and parental influence, social and cultural context, even political crises form a confluence with personal identity.


How much do you know about Erik Homburger Erikson, the renowned German-American psychoanalyst and essayist? Test your knowledge on his life and contributions to psychology with this quiz. From his theory on psychological development to his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, "Gandhi's Truth," learn fascinating facts about Erikson's personal life and professional achievements. Take this quiz and discover how much you truly know about this influential figure in the field of psychology.

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