Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Clare W Graves’ Research

Updated: 12 February 2021 Clare W Graves (1914-1986) was the psychologist on whose work Spiral Dynamics (Don Beck & Chris Cowan, 1996) and several other powerful and practical conceptual models have been built. Although he achieved the eminent position of ‘Professor of Psychology Emeritus’ at Union College, Schenectady, New York State, when he retired through ill health in 1978, he was not particularly well known outside of certain academic and management theory networks and he has been largely ignored since his death. However, his model and the theory that supports it are without doubt amongst the most powerful and certainly the most cohesive and comprehensive of all attempts to map the development of the human psyche. Those who get to grips with Graves’ work tend to become decidedly passionate about it – such is the power of the model! His work is critical and fundamental to the aims of Psychology and the other behavioural sciences and is at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. Graves was an associate professor at Union when he began his remarkable project in 1952. (He became a full professor in 1956.) At the time Graves recognised the frustration of his students when trying to make sense of the… Read More


Updated: 12 December 2020 One nomenclature Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) have used for the YELLOW vMEME, the first of the 2nd Tier, is ‘Flexiflow’. This captures both the incredible flexibility in this level of thinking and the sense of peak performance Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1993) identifies athletes, musicians, etc, experience when they enter the state of ‘flow’. In both his posthumous works (1971b/2002, p25; 1978/2005, p148), Clare W Graves unequivocally equated his seventh level G-T (YELLOW) to “Maslow’s self-actualising man”. Jane Loevinger (1976, p46) equated her Autonomous Stage of Ego Development with Self-Actualisation and Graves (1978/2005, p444) equated G-T with Autonomous…so it’s clear that Graves and Loevinger, both of them steeped in years of hard research, very much felt they were talking about the same way of thinking as Abraham Maslow (1943; 1954; 1956). However, this equation is not without controversy; nor is the term ‘Self-Actualisation’ used here in quite the same way as it is most commonly in Psychology. So there is some need to clarify our understanding(s) of ‘Self-Actualisation’ before we can benefit fully from this equation with YELLOW. Goldstein’s Self-Actualisation The term ‘Self-Actualisation’ was originally introduced by the Organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein (1934) for the motive to realise… 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

Biological Factors in Crime #2

PART 2 Hormones In 1980 Dan Olweus et al measured blood testosterone level in institutionalised delinquent and non-delinquent 16-year-old boys and assessed aggression using a questionnaire. High levels of self-reported physical and verbal aggression were associated with higher levels of testosterone – though the results were not statistically significant. It was also noted that those with higher levels of testosterone were likely to respond more vigorously in response to challenges from teachers and peers. John Archer (1991), in a meta-analysis of 5 studies covering 230 males, found a low positive correlation between testosterone and aggression. However, the type of participant and the form and measurement of aggression differed substantially between the studies. Angela Book, Katherine Starzyk & Vernon Quensy (2001), in a meta-analysis of 45 studies, found a mean correlation of 0.14 between testosterone and aggression – though John Archer, Nicola Graham-Kevan & Michelle Davies (2005) challenged Book, Starzyk & Quinsey’s findings on the grounds of methodological problems with the study which meant that a correlation of 0.08 was more appropriate.  James Dabbs et al (1987) measured salivary testosterone in 89 violent and non-violent criminals and found those with a history of primarily violent crime had the highest levels of testosterone whereas… Read More

Continuity Hypothesis

Updated: 24 August 2019 The Continuity Hypothesis was put forward by John Bowlby (1953) as a critical effect of attachments in his development of Attachment Theory. He was greatly influenced by Sigmund Freud (1940) who viewed an infant’s first relationship – usually with the mother – as “the prototype of all later love-relations”. This ‘prototype’ Bowlby termed the internal working model – a set of conscious and/or unconscious  rules and expectations which will be applied to all  relationships we develop with others. So our first experiences will influence our expectations and actions in future experiences – hence the sense of continuity. In his concept of the internal working model, Bowlby was borrowing Kenneth Craik’s (1943) concept of ‘mental models’ – ie: that all humans carry in their heads mental representations of the external world and their relations with it. These mental models – schemas and complexes of schemas in the selfplex – then provide the basis on which the individual perceives and deals with the external world. According to Bowlby, with the aid of working models, children predict the attachment figure’s likely behaviour and plan their own responses. What type of model they construct is therefore of great consequence. How the internal working model formed will influence… 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

Glossary T

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Temperament: an individual’s characteristic modes of emotional response, mood shifts and levels of sensitivity to stimulation – all of which are sub-cognitive. There are several models of ‘personality‘ which attempt to describe temperament. Carl Gustav Jung (1921) produced a model of psychological types which served as the foundation of the Myers–Briggs Typing Inventory (Isabel Myers & Katherine Briggs, 1956). This version – see left – has 4 dimensions which produce 16 types of personality, based on the 4 dimensions of:- Introversion – Extraversion  iNtuitive – Sensing Thinking – Feeling  Judging -Perceiving Another 16-type model is Raymond Cattell’s (1957)much-lauded 16 PF (aka 16 Personality Factors). However, this has proved unwieldy and attempts have been made to whittle the 16 down to a more manageable 5 by the likes of Warren T Norman (1963), and Paul Costa & Robert McCrae (1985). While the so-called ‘Big 5’ is a very popular conception for designers of ‘personality psychometrics, there is a notable degree of variance amongst the different versions of the Big 5, thereby undermining both its reliability as the basis of… Read More

Glossary P-Q

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Paradigm: in the broadest sense, a representative model or example of a theory or methodology. According to Thomas Kuhn (1962), it is a general theoretical orientation accepted by the majority of scientists in their particular field. This can include the collective set of attitudes, values, procedures and techniques that comprise the generally-accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a point in time. For example, the paradigm of Behaviourism disallowed the notions of cognitive function in favour for forms of stimulus-response pairings Paranoia: Parapraxis: a parapraxis (aka: the ‘Freudian slip’) is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious wish, conflict, or train of thought. The concept was first introduced by Sigmund Freud (1901) is thus part of classical Psychoanalysis. Slips of the tongue and the pen are the classical parapraxes, but Psychoanalytic Theory also embraces such phenomena as misreadings, mishearings, temporary forgettings, and the mislaying and losing of objects. Parasympathetic System: see Autonomic Nervous System. Parietal Lobe: see Cerebral Cortex. Passionate Love:… Read More

Glossary G

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z GABA: gamma-amino butryic acid is a neurotransmitter that is produced at times of stress or anxiety and acts as the bodys’ natural form of stress relief. GABA works by inhibiting the transmission of an action potential at the synapse. GDP: Galvanic Skin Response: a means of measuring the electrical conductivity of the skin which is increased by sweating. When the autonomic nervous system is aroused through stress or strong emotion, an electrode placed on the skin – eg: the wrist or the palm – relays the electrical activity to a machine that responds to electrical signals. Gamete: reproductive cell – either sperm or egg – in its mature state. Gender: the psychological characteristics associated with being male or female. Many of these characteristics are socially determined and may be relative to the particular culture or society rather than being universal. Sociologists and psychologists usually distinguish between these sociopsychological characteristics and the anatomical features of being either biologically male or female. Gender Bias: generally this is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is the… Read More

Milgram’s Obedience Experiments

Relaunched: 27 February 2018 “I observed a mature and initially poised businessman enter the laboratory smiling and confident. Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a twitching, stuttering wreck who was rapidly approaching nervous collapse. He constantly pulled on his earlobe and twisted his hands. At one point he pushed his fist into his forehead and muttered, ‘Oh, God, let’s stop it!’ And yet he continued to respond to every word of the experimenter and obeyed to the end.” – Stanley Milgram, 1963 Stanley Milgram’s ‘electric shock’ experiments of the 1960s and 1970s – and the many replications and variations of them throughout the Western world and way beyond – are some of the most audacious, genuinely creative and thought-provoking sociopsychological studies ever undertaken. They provide truly disturbing insights into the human readiness to obey those in authority to the point of carrying out horrific acts of violence, secure in the knowledge that the person is ‘doing the right thing’ and that no unpleasant consequences will follow from carrying out those orders. Yet the experiments are as controversial for validity of their methodologies as their results. The theory the experiments gave birth to, Agentic Shift Theory (aka Agency Theory), despite the strength… Read More