Erikson, Erik H.
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Erikson, Erik H. (Homburger)(1902–94) psychoanalyst, author; born in Frankfurt, Germany (of Danish parents). He entered analysis with Anna Freud during the 1920s and graduated from the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute in 1933. After emigrating to the United States (1933), he held positions at Harvard, Yale, the Austen Riggs Center (Stockbridge, Mass.), and the University of California: Berkeley. From 1960–70 he was a professor at Harvard. His major research in developmental psychology led to his theory of eight psychosocial stages in the life cycle, from infancy through adulthood; it was Erikson who introduced the term and concept of "identity crisis." His first major book, Childhood and Society (1950; revised edition, 1963), remained among his most widely read and influential works, and unlike some of his colleagues he applied his ideas to subjects of more popular interest, as in his psychohistorical studies, Young Man Luther (1958) and Gandhi's Truth: On the Origin of Militant Nonviolence (1969).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.