Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Graves: Systems more than Stages

30 August 2020 Historically Psychology is full of stage theories. From Sigmund Freud’s (1905) Psychosexual Stages, through Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Stages, Jean Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development, Abraham Maslow’s (1943) Hierarchy of Needs, Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1958) Stages of Moral Development, Jane Loevinger’s (1976) Stages of Ego Development to Michael Commons et al’s (1998) Model of Hierarchical Complexity, etc, etc, etc. Sociology has a fair few stage theories too – such as Max Weber’s (1922) Social Action Theory and Theodore Adorno et al’s (1950) Types of Prejudiced & Unprejudiced Persons. A stage is a period in development – often, but not always, related to age – in which people exhibit behaviour patterns and establish particular capacities typical to that particular stage. Most stage theories have people pass through the stages in a specific order, with each stage building on capacities developed in the previous stage. This suggests that the development of certain abilities in each stage, such as specific emotions or ways of thinking, have a definite starting and ending point – ie: the stages are discreet from each other The pros and cons of stage theories Stage theories allow us to look at motivations, emotions, cognitions and behaviours that seem to cluster… Read More

Social Change #2

Part 2 Lower Left Quadrant and Minority Influence Social heroes usually can achieve little or nothing on their own. They need collaborators and, if they are leaders, they need followers. This means the social hero has to convert others to their cause and, thus, create a minority influence. The more people are converted to the cause, the more conversion to the cause (as a process) picks up momentum – the ‘snowball effect’ (Eddy Van Avermaet, 2001). Eventually the minority grows into a snowball so large that it becomes the majority. The social hero in the Upper Left is influencing culture and thought in the Lower Left. So how does a social hero convert others and how does a minority gain enough converts to become a majority? Giddens posits that people in general have a deep-seated need for ‘ontological security’, that their world is orderly, stable and predictable. Therefore, by their actions most people most of the time reinforce the existing culture and structure, There is a sort-of natural resistance to change. Just how resistant to change will vary as to which vMEMES dominate in a culture; individual resistance will also vary as to where that person is on their Dimensions of Temperament. People… Read More

Vulnerability to Stress #2

ART 2 Life events and stress For most people life can be very challenging at times. Everybody experiences major ‘life events’ or ‘life changes’ which can prove acutely stressful and bring about illness – eg: marriage, divorce, death of a close friend or family member, etc, etc. Even Christmas can be acutely stressful! And stress-related illness can contribute to further illness. The idea of ‘life events’ causing stress to the point of illness had begun in 1919 with the ‘life chart’ work of Adolph Meyer. His work became the foundation for the Schedule of Recent Events developed by N G Hawkins, R Davies & Thomas Holmes in 1957; this looked at the cumulative effect of life events in causing stress. (Amusingly Holmes’ interest in the relationship between stress and illness came from finding his mother-in-law’s visits so stressful that he developed a cold every time she came to stay!) In 1967 Thomas Holmes & Richard Rahe added the idea of the magnitude of different life events – measured in ‘life change units’ (LCUs) – to get a more precise understanding of the cumulative effect. They examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might… Read More

Boris and Trump: How do They get away with it?

Boris Johnson has learned very well from his hero, Donald Trump. If the populist right-wing leader of a ‘democratic’ country contradicts himself repeatedly, breaks his promises, has a scurrilous personal life, makes deeply offensive and totally insensitive remarks about anything and anybody, and even tells bare-faced lies, he can get away with it. That’s provided he’s got the right-wing press totally on his side; they attack and smear his opponents with unsubstantiated half-truths and even outright lies, and its journalists avoid taxing the leader and his close political allies with probing questions. Even when the leader’s opponents are succeeding in exposing the corruption of the leader and his cronies. It also helps a great deal, if you have organisations like Cambridge Analytica and lots of Russian bots manipulating social media on your behalf. Daniel Dale at CNN is just one analyst who has delved into what he terms Trump’s “bombardment of lies — Trump’s unceasing campaign to convince people of things that aren’t true.” He goes on to write:- “Trump made more than 2,700 false claims this year [2019]. (We’re still calculating the final total.) Some of them were innocent slips, some of them little exaggerations. But a large number of… Read More

Stress & Illness

Updated: 27 January 2020 Stress can make you ill! Stress can even kill you! Hans Selye (1936) was arguably the first theorist to carry out scientific research linking illness to chronic stress. Selye noted that the rats in his experiments and hospital patients showed a similar pattern which he termed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) because it represented the body’s attempts to cope in an adaptive way with stress. GAS has 3 stages – see graphic below. Stage 1 involves increased activity in both the SAM and the HPA systems. In the case of elongated stress, the Alarm reaction occurs 6-48 hours after the trigger of fight or flight and includes loss of muscle tone, drop in body temperature and decreases in size of the spleen and the liver. Stage 2 involves the body adapting to the demands of the environment, with activity in the HPA. As this stage proceeds, the parasympathetic system requires more careful use of the body’s resources to cope. The system is being taxed to its limits, with an increase in the size of the adrenal glands and a decrease in certain pituitary activity such as the production of growth hormones. If the stress is not too… Read More

A 2nd Tier Approach to a 1st Tier World

Published in the Integral Leadership Review e-zine – – August 2018. Guest editor Robin Lincoln Wood had been asked to put together a special issue both to celebrate and follow on from the Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future that May. As one of the conference speakers I was asked by Robin to write an article which both built on the theme of the presentation and took it forward. The version republished here is only very marginally-different from that which appeared in Integral Leadership Review. The Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future (Dallas, 20-22 April 2018) was a fairly awesome event. A gathering of leading Gravesian practitioners (both on the stage and in the audience), partly to honour Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck and partly to focus on how the Gravesian approach can be used to tackle the current malaises afflicting the world. (Many of the presentations are reflected in the articles comprising the special edition of ILR.) Speaker after speaker gave us theoretical understandings and practical applications. All were good. All were insightful. Some were simply inspirational. There was a great sense of community amongst the participants, whether speaker or non-speaker, and fascinating discussions took place on the side-lines of the conference in the breaks, in the evenings… Read More

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..?

Updated: 24 January 2019 The Gravesian approach lies at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. The following is a plea to psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health workers and those involved in research into various areas of psychopathology to examine rigorously Clare W Graves research with a view to its implications for mental health conditions. There are literally millions of people whose suffering could be alleviated if we understood more of the psychological processes underlying it. There are a multiplicity of reasons why the work of Clare W Graves (1970, 1971b/2002, 1978/2005) needs to be taken up much more comprehensively by the academic communities and investigated rigorously for its validity. (Which will result in a much higher profile and wider acceptance of his theory.) One of these reasons, I propose, is the applicability to mental health of the Gravesian approach. Strangely enough, for all the many champions of Graves’ work and the Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996), little has been said about the relationship between Graves’ Spiral of motivational systems (vMEMES) and psychological disorders. Although my plea is for research into the Gravesian approach related to all forms of mental illness, in this piece I will be focusing primarily on… Read More

Maintenance and Breakdown of Relationships #2

PART 2 Conflict resolution or breakdown…? Paul Amato & Stacy Rogers (1997) set out, in a longitudinal study (1980-1992), to examine the degree to which reports of marital problems were an accurate predictor of divorce. In 1980 telephone interviewers used random-digit dialling to locate a national sample of 2033 married persons aged 55 years and under. Of those contacted, 78% completed the full interview. The analysis was based on individuals for whom information on marital status existed at 2 or more points in time – ie: 86% of the original 1980 sample. It was found that wives were more likely to report their marital problems than husbands – this was not because husbands had fewer problems; but simply because they tended not to report them. Infidelity, wasting money, drinking or drug use, jealousy, moodiness and irritating habits were found to be the most common grounds cited for divorce. The researchers a high correlation between marital unhappiness and divorce actions. Amato & Rogers concluded that, in many case, it should be possible to predict divorce from reports of marital unhappiness. Of course, the study is vulnerable to criticisms of cultural bias and historical bias as it was conducted in an era when divorce was relatively practicable and relatively accepted… Read More

Is Sexual Infidelity Inevitable? #2

PART 2 Are environmental factors important? Looking at this from an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, we can say that the Evolutionary concepts fit with the BEIGE vMEME’s need to reproduce and the Sociobilogical identification of the role of bond-producing hormones in sex gives us a BEIGE-PURPLE link into PURPLE’s need to belong to our lover. So how does it so often go so wrong? An important clue here is provided by a 1994 study by Georg Sasse et al. Their research indicated that, from a (large) sample of 1600, only 1.4% of Swiss children were born to biological fathers not named on their birth certificates. A staggeringly low figure when set against the 10%-30% claimed for Britain. Are the Swiss genetically different from Britain and much of the rest of the Western world? The answer is almost certainly a ‘yes’ – but a very qualified and extremely minor ‘yes’ and probably not in ways which would explain such a statistical difference. So we have to look at environmental factors – the Stress side of the Diathesis-Stress equation. Swiss society is notoriously BLUE – so much so that the polite manners, conformity to rules and general mechanical nature of much of what goes… Read More

What is Romantic Love? #3

PART 3 Triangle of Love Following on from their work on the famous  Love Quiz, Phil Shaver & Cindy Hazan  (Phil Shaver, Cindy Hazan & Donna Bradshaw, 1988) proposed that love is composed of 3 behavioural systems:- attachment caregiving sexuality The 3 systems interact to produce the adult love style. According to Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, the attachment and caregiving systems are acquired in infancy. The latter is knowledge gained about how one cares for others, learned by modelling the behaviour of the primary attachment figure – effectively an internal working model of John Bowlby’s Continuity Hypothesis. The sexuality system is also learned in relation to early attachment – eg: insecure-avoidant individuals, with their PURPLE vMEME’s safety-in-belonging needs unfulfilled, are more likely to have the view that sex without love is pleasurable There is considerable correspondence with the work of Berscheid & Walster, as well as the Triangle of Love theory of Robert J Sternberg (1986). Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, for example, proposed that companionate love would include attachment and caregiving but not necessarily sexuality. Passionate or romantic love might involve only sexuality. Sternberg’s theory is, in his own words, a theory of ‘consummate love’, comprised of components or elements. The model is illustrated below… Sternberg explains the… Read More