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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘children & childhood’

A Downward Spiral…

Relaunched: 28 October 2016 Navigation note: please click on the graphics to enlarge them in their own windows. I created the above schematic way back in February 2001 to provide a MeshWORK analysis/Gravesian interpretation (meta-state) of the causes of bad behaviour in so many of Britain’s school classrooms. It is based upon my own experiences as a part-time teacher and discussions around that time  with a range of teachers, including Kevin Beaton at (Kingswood High, Hull), Sheila Kaye (Whitgift, Grimsby), Angela Ogilvie (St Mary’s College, Hull), Steve Graham (Cleve Primary, Hull), Chris Massender (Westcliffe Primary, Scunthorpe), Cathy Byrne (Danepark Primary, Hull) and Jennie Beasty and Lynne Clarke (Shaw Park Primary, Hull). The schematic is, as these teachers pointed out, a generalisation and should not divert attention away from the many positive things going on in many schools. Nonetheless, the schematic does identify the roots of so many of the problems and how so many situations are compounded by the best of intentions. A Downward Spiral… was developed as part of a  in February 2001 and was used by Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck as part of his keynote address to the World Education Fellowship in Sun City, South Africa, that April. It has… Read More

Stages of Infant Attachment

Updated: 23 August 2016 Attachment can be defined as a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one person to another across time and space (John Bowlby, 1969; Mary Ainsworth, 1973). Attachment does not have to be reciprocal.  One person may have an attachment to an individual which is not shared.  According to Bowlby, attachment is characterized by specific behaviours in children, such as seeking proximity with the attachment figure when upset or threatened. The process of attachment is clearly influenced by caregiver sensitivity, plus where both caregiver and child tend to locate on the Dimensions of Temperament – see Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis. However, other factors also have a major influence:- The PURPLE vMEME’S need to find safety in belonging This will be underpinned by a BEIGE/PURPLE vMEME harmonic using close proximity as a means to ensure survival, in terms of both sustenance and protection Perceptual development The baby needs to develop visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses to recognise its mother/primary caregiver Cognitive development The baby needs to make sense of its perceptual input and relate it to its need to survive and develop through attachment In attempts to track the progress of attachment development, there are 2 principal stage… Read More

Strange Situation

Updated: 19 December 2016 Over 60 years after its prototype was first deployed and in spite of a welter of criticisms – especially from cross-cultural research – the Strange Situation remains the most popular and most used measure of children’s attachment. Just exactly what the procedure measures and how successful it actually is have been contested by several prominent researchers and theoreticians and a number of limitations have been acknowledged over the years. Ironically, considering the issues raised by some cross-cultural research, the idea for the procedure came from work in Uganda  by Mary Ainsworth. She had worked for a period with John Bowlby in the UK and been much influenced by Bowlby researcher John Robertson’s meticulous attention to detail in recording naturalistic observations, particularly to do with separation. In 1954 Ainsworth went to Uganda, as a result of her husband getting a research position there. She studied mother-child relationships in 6 villages of the Ganda people in Kampala, visiting 26 mothers and their infants, every 2 weeks for 2 hours per visit over a period of up to 9 months. Visits (with an interpreter) took place in the family living room, where Ganda women generally entertain in the afternoon. She was particularly interested in determining the… Read More

Psychosocial Development #2

PART 2 In his later stages, Erikson moves away from and beyond Sigmund Freud’s 5 stages. STAGE 5: PEER RELATIONSHIPS/ADOLESCENCE It was adolescence that interested Erikson first and most; and the patterns he saw here were the starting points for his thinking about all the other stages. At this stage, adolescents are in search of an identity that will lead them to adulthood. Adolescents make a strong effort to answer the question “Who am I?” Erikson notes the healthy resolution of earlier conflicts can now serve as a foundation for the search for an identity. If the child overcomes earlier conflicts, they are prepared to search for identity. Did they develop the basic sense of trust? Do they have a strong sense of industry to believe in themselves? Without these things, the adolescent is likely to experience confusion about their social role(s), meaning an uncertainty about your place in society and the world. When an adolescent is confronted by role confusion, Erikson says that is likely to produce an identity crisis. Erikson strongly supported the notion that society should provide clear rites of passage – certain accomplishments and rituals that help to distinguish the adult from the child. In one way… Read More

The Biological Impetus to Attachment

 Updated: 31 March 2017 The largely complementary attachment theories of John Bowlby (1969) and Rudolph Schaffer (Rudolph Schaffer & Peggy Emerson, 1964; Schaffer, 1996) mostly focus on the conscious cognitive and affective aspects of the formation of an attachment bond between the child and its primary caregiver (usually the mother), being in broad agreement that this is usually in place by the time the child is 6-7 months old. However, Bowlby (1958) was convinced that there existed an innate drive to attachment between child and mother and that this was adaptive. For evidence from an Evolutionary perspective, Bowlby was initially dependent on animal studies of imprinting such as those of Konrad Lorenz (1935). Lorenz had shown that animals such as geese and ducks imprint on the first thing they see after breaking the egg and treat it as their ‘mother’. (Famously, Lorenz got greylag goslings to imprint on his wellington boots, after which they would follow him around when wearing them!) Lorenz proposed that imprintability is genetically switched on and then switched off, effectively anticipating the development of Epigenetics. From this, Stephen Lea (1984) proposed that instinct gives the gosling chicks the concept or template of the mother but the environment has to supply… Read More

Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis

Updated: 17 August 2016 From the time of Sigmund Freud’s first major work in 1900, there has been a stream of thought in Psychology which places responsibility for the development of the child’s personality unequivocally on to the parents – especially the mother. Freud himself (1940) writes: ““The reason why the infant in arms wants to perceive the presence of the mother is only because it already knows by experience that she satisfies all its needs without delay.” He says the mother’s status is “…unique, without parallel, established unalterably for a whole lifetime as the first and strongest love-object…” As mother satisfies “all its needs”, the implication clearly is that, if the child doesn’t turn out ‘right’, then mother hasn’t satisfied all its needs. From an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, this makes a lot of sense. If the PURPLE vMEME doesn’t get its safety-in-belonging needs met in infancy, then the unavoidable emergence of the RED vMEME is likely to occur more forcefully and with much fewer of the socially-determined constraints PURPLE would impose on its self-expression – Id with little or no Ego, in Freudian terms. Based on the research of Joseph LeDoux (1992; 1996) into the limbic system, Jerry Coursen (2004-2005) has hypothesised that there is… Read More

vMEMES #3

PART 3 The 2nd Tier green/YELLOW (f-s/G-T (A’-N’)) (Kohlberg’s Principled Conscience) The later phase of this transition is characterised by an emerging concern for the environment and elements of the planetary eco-systems, with an awareness that all resources (human and non-human) need looking after wherever possible. Laws are valid only insofar as they are grounded in justice; and a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. There is also the strengthening desire to make and live by independent decisions rather than accepting group consensus responsibility. The individual acts because it is right for him/her, and not because it is instrumental, expected, legal or previously agreed upon. However, there is also an increased willingness to walk away from lost causes and seek to engage in activities which are intrinsically self-satisfying. Markedly there is a more innovative approach to problem-solving. YELLOW (G-T (A’-N’)) (Maslow’s Self-Actualisation; Loevinger’s Autonomous L-5) See Self-Actualisation/YELLOW. YELLOW/TURQUOISE (G-T (A’-N’)/H-U (B’-O’)) (some elements of Maslow’s Self-Actualisation; Loevinger’s Integrated; Cook-Gretuer’s Construct Aware) Due to very small sample sizes, there is insufficient credible data to delineate significantly between exiting and entering phases. Broadly this transition is marked by increasing loneliness and stress from coping alone. Lawrence Kohlberg &… Read More

Psychosocial Development

Updated: 23 June 2016 Sigmund Freud’s (1920) concept of the Id can be seen as the self-expressive side of Clare W Graves’ Spiral – with its ultimate and most visceral expression in nodal RED. The development of the self-sacrificial/conformist side of the Spiral also parallels Freud’s thoughts to some considerable degree. Firstly, the PURPLE vMEME’s restriction of BEIGE instinct to gain acceptance sounds like the Freudian Ego’s determination to avoid the consequences of the Id’s behaviours. Then, the Superego’s Conscience element is reflected in BLUE’s drive to ‘do the right thing’; while there are strong echoes of the Superego’s Ego Ideal element – how things should be – in GREEN’s idealistic intentions toward human inter-relations. Thus, while the Psychodynamic approach is frequently criticised these days as ‘unscientific’ and ‘overly fanciful’, it is clear many aspects are still relevant and have much to offer in developing our understanding of Integrated SocioPsychology. No other psychological theorist has yet come up with an explanation – or linked series of explanations – of the ‘human condition’ anything like as comprehensive as Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, the first of the Psychodynamic theories. Yet, from the earliest days of Freud’s theorising, it was obvious there were certain inconsistencies… Read More

Attachment Theory

Updated: 14 April 2017 Mary Ainsworth & Sylvia Bell (1970) define an attachment as:  “An affectional tie that one person or animal forms between himself and another specific one – a tie that binds them together in space and over time. The behavioural hallmark of attachment is seeking to gain and maintain a certain degree of proximity to the object of attachment.” Rudolph Schaffer (1996) adds that separation from the attachment figure can lead to distress. Daphne Maurer & Charles Maurer (1988)  state that attachments “…are welded in the heat of interactions.”  Modern affective Attachment Theory, in its application to infants, has its origins in the work of John Bowlby. Bowlby was a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist working at the London Child Guidance Clinic in the 1930s. He had become interested in the effect of children’s disrupted relationships with their parents when, as a medical student, he volunteered to work in a residential children’s home and encountered a range of abnormal behaviours. His famous study of 44 ‘juvenile thieves’ (1944) identified maternal deprivation as being associated with delinquency and all sorts of problematic emotional and behavioural issues, including in the extreme what Bowlby termed ‘Affectionless Psychopathy’, the symptoms of which are now incorporated into Reactive Attachment Disorder. Bowlby’s focus… Read More