Friday, January 8, 2010

The Psych Files: Mnemonic Device for Erikson's Eight Stages of Development

Michael Britt of The Psych Files has developed a clever mnemonic to help remember Erik Erikson's stages of psychosocial development. Michael uses common household items within a peg word mnemonic to help students remember all eight stages.

While the video can be found on a number of websites, I thought I would go straight to the primary source. Go to to view the clip.

Perhaps Michael, a follower of the THSP blog, would like to comment on how he developed the mnemonic and additional mnemonics on The Psych Files website.


mbritt said...

Thanks Kent for highlighting this episode of my podcast. This video on Erikson's stages and the other video on using mnemonics to memorize the parts of the brain are among the most popular episodes on the podcast. I think this is because the mnemonics are immediately useful to students on their psych tests.

As for how I developed these mnemonics: well, I've been a fan of mnemonics ever since a friend turned me on to the classic book on mnemonics, called The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas. I was stuck in Grand Central Station one day waiting for a train and I had the book on me. In about one hour I was able to memorize all 50 states using the keyword technique. It's pretty powerful.

The keyword technique is more useful than acronymns (Every Good Boy Does Fine) because keywords are more visual and, as you'll see in the Parts of the Brain video (episode #72, which you can find by clicking on the blue Video globe on the site), the keywords help students remember what the parts of the brain DO, not just help them memorize the names of the parts of the brain.

I've received emails and comments on the blog itself from many students and teachers about how useful (and wacky) these mnemonics episodes are and that's been very satisfying. Hope you enjoy them as well and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes or sign up for the email notifications whenever I release a new episode, which is about 3x a month!

Thanks again Kent,


Mr. John said...

My classes love this video when I show it in class. They remember the stages throughout the year. Plus it makes them laugh quite a bit, especially "dis pear."
Thanks Michael!

Kate Vines said...

Thank you for this entertaining video! As a nursing student, Erickson's stages of development are very important, and I had trouble remembering the first five. I will never forget the image of Shia LeBeouf sitting in a tree with a quilt wrapped around it!
Katy Vines