Episode 68: Mnemonic Device for Erikson’s Eight Stages of Development


Memorize Erik Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial Development once and for all! In this video episode I have a little fun using the peg word mnemonic device and ordinary household objects to show how mnemonics work and how to apply them to the challenge of memorizing Erikson’s eight stages.

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Here are the mnemonics I used in the video:

  1. Bun (Trust vs. Mistrust) a "rust" colored bun
  2. Shoe (Autonomy vs. Shame) an "auto" shoved inside of a shoe. The auto is driven by "shane"
  3. Tree (Initiative vs. Guilt) Shia Leboef, or an Inn are sitting in a tree, which is wrapped with a quilt
  4. Dinosaur (Industry vs. Inferiority) picture a dinosaur with dust (in"dust"try) sprinkled all over it. The dinosaur feels inferior because of the dust all over it.
  5. Sky dive (Identity vs. Role Confusion) a skydiver's chute doesn't open and he falls on top of a car denting it. He is also very confused after hitting the car.
  6. Sticks (Intimacy vs. Isolation) picture two sticks in love and one stick all by himself.
  7. Heaven (Generativity vs. Stagnation) picture a generator up in heaven that died because it ran out of gas and a male deer (stag) pulling the cord to try to get it started again.
  8. Plate (Integrity vs. Despair) picture grits and a pear on a plate.

You can also download this list in PDF format by clicking here.

Episodes on Mnemonics and Erik Erikson


  1. Michael says:

    I had fun making this video but never thought that it would have this much appeal. I also never realized that nursing students would find it so helpful. Thanks so much for all the feel-good comments!

  2. I just tested myself and, thanks to your masterful instruction, retained all 8 stages. I am returning to university to complete a psychology degree I abandoned 40 years ago. My heartfelt thanks for making this available.

  3. Psychology/social work student here. I found this video very helpful and I am glad I found it. :) It’s always good to learn in exciting and new ways. Thank you.


  4. You are a genius for creating this mnemonic device! Thank you so much for saving me time studying these stages!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Love this site. I really appreciate your efforts and this helps me remember these God awful stages. (studying for the lcsw exam). I laughed out loud to hear you say in the beginning, that we are going to learn these stages “once and for all.” I have been reading and re-reading the boring stages and basically falling asleep. I think I finally got it!! Thanks very much.

  6. Thanks everybody! It gives me so much satisfaction to read how this episode has been so helpful. Guess I gotta find another topic and create some more. Thanks for the comments!

  7. another nursing student here, so helpful, thank you!

  8. This was so helpful and fun at the same time! Studying for the Praxis. Thank you!

  9. The “Praxis” – a nursing exam? Even the name sounds daunting. Glad the mnemonics will come in handy.

  10. Taking NCLEX soon. I still couldn’t keep the middle stages in order after all of this time. Now I will never forget. Thank you!

  11. Thanks this helped me for a nursing exam tomorrow. I cant wait to share with my fellow nursing sudents. They might thinks ive cracked under the pressure so Im going to take my labtop to school and let them watch for themselves! You are awesome Thank you!

  12. Evee – I love that idea of bringing your laptop to school to show the video to your friends. Did you do it?

  13. The “inferiority” reminds me of “furry” because he’s furry from the dust. But thank you so much for this!

  14. Thank you so much, for the life of me I couldn’t remember erikson’s stages and exams are next week. Stumbled on your website and I can remember them all now….gonna get some funny looks rhyming to myself but I am THRILLED I found you.
    Keep up the good work
    From Ireland :)

  15. You are amazing Michael.. like… seriously.
    It really worked. HAHAHA!
    This would definitely help me on my NCLEX.

    Never knew memorizing long lists of stuffs can be sooooo entertaining! :O
    Keep it up sir! ;)

  16. This is really great! Thank you for taking the time to do this and share this! I was having such a difficult time trying to figure out a way to memorize these and this helped so much!

  17. I have been trained in a child care field,I wish I knew this b4 writing my assignment

  18. Studying for the Psych GRE Subject Test over here. This was so helpful, thank you for putting the time in to it! I really hope you make more of these!

  19. I am a nursing student and OMG this helped me sooooooo much. Thank you!

  20. I am also a nursing student and this has helped me tremendously! This is awesome! Thank you so much!

  21. Thank you, this was so helpful. Been putting off memorizing this one, this really helped. Awesome:)

  22. I had to take the time to say thank you, since you took the time to make this awesome video. I couldn’t grasp the concept and thanks to you it finally makes sense. I’m looking at the page in my text now and thinking, how could I not understand this!!! Now I get it!!! sincere thanks from a medic and nursing student!!

  23. Using to study for the GRE subject test, and it is helping sooo much! Thank you!

  24. jessssica:) says:

    omg i love you thanks for making this videooo i dont have to skip my psychology testt again tomoroooow=]

  25. Don’t skip your psyc test! Go in there with a fighting attitude! Glad you liked the video :)

  26. This has helped me memorized Erikson’s 8 stage in like 4 mins, how cool is that…..(Thumbs up)

  27. Wow! I cant believe it worked! I was laughing as I could repeat everything without notes! It really works!!!

  28. Yup – mnemonics are pretty amazing.

  29. great stuff!

  30. Oddie Girl says:

    This is genius!!! I wish I found this when I was in nursing school, it’s extremely helpful! I could never figure out how to memorize this before, but I really appreciate you taking the time to make this because it’ll help me when I take my nursing boards :)

  31. This is the way to learn remember the stages in order for me ! Thanks for the video !

  32. Nursing Student says:

    This is SO incredibly helpful! Can you help with Pharmacology drug cards, too?? Fantastic test help! Thank you!

  33. Wow! I have to admit, when I first started watching, I was a little skeptical, but this worked really well. I’m getting my BSN right now and I have always struggled with Erikson’s stages. The worst part is that we need them for our clinical care plans which are worth a large percentage. I can’t wait to use this in school! Thanks so much for your help, and keep up the good work!! You’re a godsend!!

  34. A bit complicated but hillarious, loved it, hope it help me 2morow. thnk.

  35. This video was extremely helpful…I’ve got them down pat now! Thank you SO much!!! =)

  36. I have a HUGE Theories of Personality midterm in a little over an hour and I was having the hardest time remembering all 8 stages, and in order. While the video was silly, it helped tremendously and now I will never forget these stages! Thank you so much for this!

  37. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for this!
    I’m have a BA in Psych and could never remember these. Now I’m in nursing school and so glad I found this.
    Thanks for the help!!!

  38. Your creativity in this video made me beam!
    I remember all the stages now after watching the video just once.. And i’ve never been able to memorize the 8 stages (i’ve always thought rote learning was a waste of space!)

    Thanks! :)

    I hope this comes on my exam now. :)

  39. I’m also a nursing major sitting here freaking out about all my exams…but this video is AMAZING!! Helps me memorize Erikson’s stages quickly and helpfully. If only I could find videos like this for all my classes…Thanks SO MUCH! :)

  40. Michael says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone! Hope you “kill” that test. Feel free to let me know if there’s some other topic that you need a mnemonic for.

  41. THANK YOU so much for making this!!! Studying for the LCSW exam, and for the life of me could not get these stages down…I watched your video once, and can now name all the stages perfectly! THANK YOU again!!!!

  42. OMG I have been trying to learn these all day and I had them all down by the end of your video. You are a life saver (I have a midterm tomorrow.) keep the videos coming!

  43. YES! Thank you so much for posting this. Yet another Nursing student here and Erickson was just not sticking in my brain.Now I’ll always remember the stages. Though I’ve heard it described before, this is the first time I’ve seen the mnemonic peg word technique used. I’ll definitely be using it from now on for those concepts that just won’t stick. “Dis Pear” and the dusty afro on the dinosaur had me cracking up!

  44. Great video! Thank you so much!

  45. Thanks so much. Preparing for NCLEX, at first I was like what is this? Then I paused it and realized that I had already got half memorized just from watching! Its amazing! Wish I have known this when I was in nursing school. Genius! Thanks a bunch!

  46. Thank you so much for the help! I'm taking the NCLEX in a few hours and with everything I have to know just couldn't seem to shove Erickson's stages in there as well! Now I've got them!

  47. Nursing Student says:

    Thank you so much!! I've come across this soooo many times in my academic career
    and I just have not been able to make it stick! now desperate for help while studying for my nclex I am looking up mnemonics for basically everything and this really does work!! thank you so much for making this fun video!! wish I had found it YEARS ago! I do wish you had included the 'ages' that correlated with each stage.


  1. [...] something new about Psychology. Join Dr. Michael Britt on his latest Psych Files episode entitled Mnemonic Device for Erikson?s Eight Stages of Development where Dr. Britt used little fun in the peg word mnemonic device and ordinary household objects to [...]

  2. [...] The Psych Files: website I used for the “One is bun, two is shoe mnemonic device to learn Erikson’s Stages. [...]

  3. [...] style questions, you just need to know it.  That’s why I was so excited today when I found this great video! It will help you memorize Erikson’s Eight Stages of Psychosocial development once and for [...]

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