Psychology Topics

Freud's Psychoanalytic Theory: Gender Development

Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of gender development suggests that gender development takes place during the third stage of his psychosexual theory of personality development. He called this the phallic stage, which occurs between three and six years old. During this stage, the child’s libido is focused on his or her genitals. Development of gender in psychoanalytic theory is different for boys and for girls: boys experience the Oedipus complex and identify with their father and take on a male gender role; girls experience the Electra complex (see Jung) and identify with their mother and take on a female gender role.

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