Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

‘schemas & memes’


Updated: 10 February 2016 Meta-programmes, a key concept in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), are observable distinctions in mental processing, as reflected in language and behaviour. They act as filters for how and what we let into our heads  – memes from the external world influencing the schemas of our internal representations – and they shape what comes out from us in terms of language and concepts – our schemas becoming memes to influence others. Meta-programmes are usually depicted as poles at the opposite ends of a scalable continuum. The concept of meta-programmes was conceived in the late 1970s by Leslie Cameron Bandler (then wife of NLP co-developer Richard Bandler), building on Noam Chomsky’s groundbreaking work around linguistic patterns reflecting mental filters. David Gordon, Robert Dilts and Maribeth Meyers-Anderson were among Cameron-Bandler’s leading collaborators in identifying the first sets of meta-programmes. As NLP has grown in scope and complexity, so more and more meta-programmes have been charted to identify more and more distinctions. Leading ‘guru’ Wyatt Woodsmall has reputedly talked about having identified over 350 meta-programmes! In 1997 L Michael Hall & Bob Bodenhamer grouped 51 principle meta-programmes into 5 overarching categories: mental, emotional, volitional, response and meta meta-programmes.They also linked meta-programmes to the concept… Read More

NLP+ Communication Model

Updated: 11 June 2016 The NLP Communication Model, developed by Tad James & Wyatt Woodsmall (1988) from the work of Richard Bandler & John Grinder (1975), is one of the key structures in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – though it draws heavily on concepts in Cognitive Psychology and the ground-breaking work of linguistic analysts Alfred Korzybski (1933) and Noam Chomsky (1964). The starting point for the Communication Model – perhaps for NLP itself! – is Korzybski’s statement: The Map is not the Territory – which was adopted by Bandler & Grinder to become one of the founding presuppositions of NLP. In other words, we form cognitive representations (maps) of reality (the territory) – but the representation is not actually the reality, just as a map of a place is not actually the place itself but a representation more or less accurate. The concept of cognitive maps had been developed by the likes of Edward C Tolman (1932) and Kenneth Craik (1943); but Korzybski was arguably the first to draw attention to the degree of accuracy (or not!) of our mental maps. According to Korzybski, we delete, distort and/or generalise incoming information (memes) which then affects the way we attribute about both ourselves and… Read More


Updated: 19 December 2016 ‘Selfplex’ is the term used by Susan Blackmore (1999) to depict ‘self’ effectively as the key confluence of schemas – ‘the ultimate memeplex‘ – which provides the concept of ‘I’, the cognitive awareness of who I am, how I think, what I feel, what I believe…why I am the way I am. Someone’s sense of identity or identities. The term ‘ego’ is widely used in Psychology and the other behavioural sciences as a cipher for ‘self’. It has even entered mainstream popular language in usages such as: “That’s egocentric” or “He’s got a lot of ego”. The very diversity of usages makes it too vague to use as a term for ‘self-concept’ – though it is often used in that context – which is why ‘selfplex’ is preferable. Sigmund Freud (1923b) used ‘Ego’ in a very specific yet cohesive sense. It is a force which attempts to balance the motivations of the Id and the Superego where they compete for dominance and restrains the more socially-unacceptable demands of the Id. This latter function can be seen in the way the PURPLE vMEME submits to the family or group to gain acceptance. Yet Freud also perceived the Ego as… Read More

Attribution Theory

Updated: 17 June 2016 According to Fritz Heider (1958), we produce attributions (beliefs about the causes of behaviour) based on two sources of information… Internal attributions – based on something within the individual whose behaviour is being observed – their natural character External attributions – based on something external to that individual – nothing to do with who they are specifically, it is the situation they are in Internal attributions are often referred to as dispositional attributions while external attributions are called situational attributions. Internal or External Locus of Control? In his development of Attribution Theory, Heider was concerned primarily with how we understand the behaviour of others. The mechanisms for how we attribute the behaviour of others have been explored with varying degrees of success in Correspondent Inference Theory, Covariation Theory and Causal Schemata. However, Julian B Rotter (1966) focused on how people attribute the reasons for their own behaviour. From his research, Rotter concluded that people tend to have either:- internal locus of control – ie: they decide what to do – the root of their behaviour is dispositional external locus of control – ie: their behaviour is shaped by external, situational factors – eg: expectations Rotter found that,… Read More

vMEME Stacks

Updated; 25 May 2016 In terms of Integrated SocioPsychology a vMEME stack is simply the spread of vMEMES influencing the selfplex and their strengthening and weakening – brightening and dimming, flowing and ebbing – across different domains of life and relative to the life conditions impacting upon the individual, group or organisation and what their focus is. In their 1996 book ‘Spiral Dynamics’ Don Beck & Chris Cowan introduced what became known as ‘the fried egg’ to illustrate how different vMEMES formed a stack. Always, of course, BEIGE is at the core. If BEIGE stops functioning, we lose our will to live! In the higher fried egg the person is primarily PURPLE-centred but with a large dose of RED and some emergent BLUE. This person is very likely to be narcissistic and family-oriented. With PURPLE dominating in that environment, family, in fact, is a huge part of their life. It’s quite likely that extended family – grandparents, cousins, aunts/uncles – will feature quite markedly on their social calendar. They are also likely to be very defensive of their family and family members. There may be other forms of belonging that are extremely important to them – eg: church/synagogue/mosque/temple, club, women’s organisation or work colleagues. This person’s… Read More

Prejudice & Discrimination Theories

Relaunched: 22 November 2020 Prejudice and discrimination blight our world, causing misery to billions and often leading to violence, sometimes in the extreme. Discriminatory violence can range from an attack on an individual to war by one country against another – even to genocide, So it is desperately important to understand how such processes work and what leads to them. Accordingly it is important to understand the difference between prejudice and discrimination – especially as they are often confused in the popular media. Prejudice This is defined by John Dovidio & Samuel Gaertner (2010) as an attitude towards a person based on their perceived group membership. The term is often used to refer to a preconceived, usually unfavourable, evaluation of another person based on that person’s political affiliation, sex, gender, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, physical appearance, occupation, education, criminality, sport team affiliation or other personal characteristics. This attitude towards another person may be based on little or no knowledge of them. Eg: someone is considered to be untrustworthy with young children because they are gay. However, not all prejudice is considered negative. For example, patriotism is often thought to be desirable. In prejudice… Read More

SocioPsychological Factors in Crime

Relaunched: 8 July 2020 While, clearly there a number of biological factors which can substantially increase the likelihood of someone committing crime and deviance, most crimes take place in a social setting and result from an interaction between the offender’s state of mind and the social pressures of the situation – including victims of the crime(s). So what are the social and psychological factors that may precipitate deviant and/or criminal actions…? Social Inequalities The world is plagued with huge gaps in social equality, with inequality having increased substantially in the West over the past 40 years. particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett (2010) identified that happiness and well-being are generally much greater in countries where the gaps in the ranges of social equality are relatively small – eg: Sweden – compared to countries with large gaps such as the US. In Western societies the more consumerism there is, the more people are either ‘seduced’ or ‘repressed, to use Zygmunt Bauman’s (1988) concepts. The ‘seduced’ are those who are sucked into consumerism and are seduced into buying many things they don’t need but are persuaded will be life enhancing if acquired. In many ways,… Read More

Biological Factors in Crime

Updated: 7 December 2016 Are criminals born or ‘made’? This is a question which has vexed philosophers for millennia and psychologists and sociologists since the dawn of the behavioural sciences early in the 19th Century. The deterministic view offered by biological explanations for criminality – ie: you have no real choice, it’s in your biological make-up – have major implications for how society treats criminals – especially violent ones.  Biological theories assert criminal behaviour has a physiological origin, with the implication that the ‘criminal’, therefore, has difficulty not committing crime because it is ‘natural’ –  ie: the ‘born criminal’ concept. Biological determinism can be used to undermine the legal concept of criminal responsibility: criminals are held to be personally and morally accountable for their actions. Only when the Law of Diminished Responsibility is applied in cases of self-defence and mental illness – and in some countries (eg: France) ‘crimes of passion’ (temporary insanity) – is the defendant assumed not to have acted from their own free will. 3 cases illustrate how biological arguments have been used as mitigating factors to reduce the level of criminal responsibility:- In 1994 Stephen Mobley was sentenced to death for shooting dead the manager of an American branch of Domino’s Pizza. He was also found… Read More

Crime & Deviance – the Difference

12 June 2020 Crime can be defined as the form of deviance that involves an infraction of the criminal law and is subject to official punishment. Not all laws are criminal – civil law and constitutional law are 2 other key areas of the law. Not all illegal acts are necessarily deviant – eg: in the UK it is illegal to use your mobile phone (without it being handsfree) while driving but the sheer number of people who do so suggests that they do not see that behaviour as deviant. Sociologists have suggested 2 distinct definitions of deviance: normative and relativistic. Deviance: the Normative Definition This definition can be summed up as ‘the violation of social norms’. Thus, deviance is culturally determined. Deviance is often thought of in terms of deviation from accepted social standards – eg: certain kinds of sexual behaviour or drug use. However, people who are mentally ill are often treated as deviants. (See What is Mental Illness? ) Even harmless eccentrics may be considered deviant – or, according to Erich Goode (2008), people who have been heavily tattooed or pierced. In some cultures, deviation from a strict political and/or religious orthodoxy is considered deviant and may invoke penalties under… Read More


Updated: 4 July 2018 Epigenetics is an approach that helps to explain how nurture shapes nature to produce the phenotype from the genotype – in other words, how you become who you are from your genetic potential. In the words of Mark Solms & Oliver Turnbull (2002, p11): “…the fine organisation of the brain is literally sculpted by the environment in which it finds itself – far more so than any other organ in the body, and over much longer periods of time.” Whilst in no way undermining the importance of Genetics, it does undermine genetic determinism because it allows that virtually everything in the life span of an individual – from diet and nutrition, to ingestion of toxins, to social experiences, etc, etc – can influence the expression of genes to produce differences in motivation, temperament, cognition, behaviour and mental health. Bruce Lipton (2008) has put forward evidence to claim that emotions and even unconscious beliefs can bring about epigenetic modification. Conrad Waddington is credited with first using the term ‘epigenetics’ in Biology in 1946. ‘Epi’ is a Greek term meaning upon or above. Thus, epigenetics reflects the effects that take place upon, above or in addition to genetics.This original… Read More