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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘children & childhood’

Social Learning Theory

Relaunched: 26 May 2020 Behaviourism, as a paradigm, doesn’t concern itself with mental processes. In Classical Conditioning John B Watson (1919) treated the mind as a ‘black box’ that Behaviourists did not need to bother with. In Radical Behaviourism B F Skinner (1945) acknowledged that there were ‘private internal events’ but that these were merely the conscious experience of the body functioning. However, not all Behaviourists took such a dismissive view of the concept of internal mental processes. Some did allow for some cognition to influence behaviour. Foremost among these was Edward C Tolman (1932) who proposed the concept of cognitive maps – although Tolman didn’t use the term, he is clearly conceptualising what we now call schemas.  Tolman developed this concept from work he had done (Edward C Tolman & Charles Honzik, 1930) on rats learning the layout of a maze they had to negotiate to get food. In the study 3 groups of rats had to find their way around a complex maze. At the end of the maze there was a ‘goal box’ of food. Some groups of rats got to eat the food, some did not, and for some rats the food was only available after 10 days. The… Read More

Operant Conditioning

Relaunched: 3 May 2020 Unlike Classical Conditioning, which is based on association, Operant Conditioning is based on consequences. The basic principle is that behaviour which brings reward is likely to be repeated to gain the reward again, thus reinforcing the behaviour; on the other hand, behaviour which brings punishment is unlikely to be repeated, to avoid the punishment. Operant Conditioning has its roots in the ‘instrumental learning’ work of Edward Thorndike (1905). His Law of Effect stated positive effects (rewards) of some behaviours ‘stamped in’ those behaviour while negative effects (punishments) of other behaviours ‘stamped out’ those behaviours. Thorndike had developed his ideas from ‘puzzle box’ experiments, usually with cats. Typically he placed a hungry, young and active cat in a box from which it could only escape by pulling on a loop attached to a string. (In  later  studies Thorndike used buttons and levers.) To motivate the hungry cat to escape, Thorndike hung fish outside the puzzle box door. The cat initially scratched, clawed and miaowed, exploring all corners and openings  in the box and trying to squeeze out.  Eventually it clawed at the loop, causing the door to open and allowing the cat to get the fish. On successive… Read More

Robber’s Cave

Relaunched: 4 March 2018 The Robber’s Cave study is on a par with Stanley Milgrim’s ‘Obedience Experiments’ and Philip Zimbardo’s infamous prison study at Stanford University (Craig Haney, Curtis Bank & Philip Zimbardo, 1973), both for its sheer audaciousness and what it tells us about situational pressures to produce normative influence. Muzafer Sherif had been a growing force in the development of Social Psychology ever since his ‘autokinetic effect’ experiments in 1935 had developed the concept of conformity that would come to be known as informational influence. In fact, Sherif could be considered one of the founders of Social Psychology. His work was also highly thought of by interactionist sociologists, becoming the first psychologist to receive the Cooley-Mead Award for contributions to Social Psychology from the American Sociological Association. By the end of the 1940s his interest in understanding social processes, particularly social norms and social conflict had led him to conceive of developing a field experiment in which pubescent boys would be nurtured into forming 2 distinctive teams with strong group identities to see how conflict between the 2 groups could be exacerbated and then reduced. This would be the basis of the famous and challenging Robber’s Cave study of 1954 (Muzafer Sherif et al, 1961).… 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

Separation, Deprivation & Privation

Relaunched: 5 December 2017 In considering problems to do with failed attachment or lack of attachment, developmental psychologists usually use 3 categorisations:- Separation:  this is where the young child has been temporarily separated from the mother/caregiver for a period of days or even weeks, with the result that the bond between them has been weakened and/or damaged Maternal deprivation: the child and the mother/caregiver have been separated substantially, with the result that the bond is seriously damaged or even destroyed Privation: the child has never formed a real bond with their mother or any other caregiver As we shall see, it is not always easy to determine whether a child is suffering from separation or, more, maternal deprivation; neither is it always easy tell whether  a child is suffering from severe deprivation or is truly privated. However, all 3 categorisations are associated with emotional and behavioural difficulties, usually mildest in cases of separation and worst in those where the child is truly privated. This can be seen as the PURPLE vMEME not having its safety-in-belonging needs met, leading to the emergence and dominance of unhealthy RED in the child’s vMEME stack, with the consequence of Id-like thinking and beh&aviour. It is important to… Read More

The Parks Primary School

The Meshing of Two Primary Schools written with Cathy Byrne Updated: 11 September 2004 The Parks is one of the most complete project reports on the use of the Gravesian approach anywhere in the world and many people have suggested that I must have been much more involved than the report suggests. Well, I wasn’t! This is Cathy Byrne’s story, not mine.  My RED would love to report that Cathy was on the phone to me every night asking how to do *this* and how to handle such-and-such a person. Unfortunately, it wasn’t like that. My influence, as Cathy has acknowledged widely, came through the training programme and then as an occasional adviser in the background. I like to think of the remarkable story of The Parks as being a first class example of just how much you can accomplish when you really grasp these concepts at an intuitive level. Most afternoons Cathy Byrne, Headteacher of The Parks Primary School on Hull’s Orchard Park Estate, sees her pupils off the premises with something of the pastorly air of a vicar bidding farewell to the congregation as they exit a church service. However, most mornings Cathy is also in the playground, welcoming… Read More

‘Shirley’

September 2004 ‘Shirley’ was a middle manager who came to me for therapy because she was being made redundant and her sense of self-esteem was rather low. On the one hand she could see that her organisation was in turmoil. It was run by a Self-Referencing RED ‘king’ who recognised intellectually the need for the organisation to enter what Adizes calls ‘Adolescence’ but couldn’t bring himself to share control emotionally. The result was an aggressive, almost brutal personal management style, an organisation that lacked the structure to support its expansion, and staff either leaving or being pushed out. (Ichak Adizes (1987) typifies this state as ‘Pathological Go-Go’.) On the other hand, Shirley, who was one of those being pushed out, blamed herself for her redundancy. She told me she was under-confident with “people who matter” work-wise – eg: bosses – and did not project herself well. She had even “crumbled” under questioning at some recent presentations. Her fear of not living up to the RED king’s expectations turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy when she failed to meet certain targets. Despite the lack of management support and the turmoil the organisation was in, Shirley roundly blamed herself. “I’m not good enough!” was her summation of her experience with this organisation and she was worried that… Read More

‘Susan’

 Updated: 15 September 2010 ‘Susan’ first came to me because she wanted rid of a phobia she had about having men in the front passenger seat of her car. This was proving particularly problematic as she had recently struck up a new relationship, resulting in them always having to travel in the boyfriend’s car because she couldn’t bear to have him in the passenger seat of her car. When I meta-modelled her, it soon emerged that the phobia was rooted in the partly-repressed memory of a traumatic experience several years back. Then a man sitting in the front seat of her car had tried to rape her. Since the event was a clear-cut single traumatic episode, I used the NLP Trauma Care to recode the patterns of that memory so they were far less immediate and thus far less threatening to her. I future-paced Susan driving with a man sitting next to her and she now seemed quite comfortable with that thought. A few days later she rang me to report that she was indeed now driving her boyfriend about quite happily. So all seemed well; yet I suspected there were more deep-rooted problems. The amount of guilt she had expressed… Read More

Attachment Theory

Updated: 10 October 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… Read More