Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

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Glossary D


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Debrief: information provided for a participant at the end of a study by the researcher.
During debriefing, the participants should be informed of the true aims of the study, if they have been deceived. Also participants should be able to raise any concerns they have and be given the right to withdraw data.

Deeper Level: see Levels of Adaptation.

Definition of the Situation: is a fundamental concept in Symbolic Interactionism advanced by the American sociologist William Thomas (1923). It is a kind of collective agreement between people on the characteristics of a situation, and from there, how to appropriately react and fit into it.
Establishing a definition of the situation requires that the participants agree on both the frame of the interaction (its social context and expectations) and on their identities (the person they will treat each other as being for a given situation).

Deindividuation: the loss of a sense of personal identity that can occur when, for example, in a crowd or when wearing the cap and neck-to-ankle distinctive uniform of an organisation.
Deindividuation can have the effect of freeing someone from their more normal behaviour and either inducing conformity to majority influence or making it more likely the deindividuated person will pass into an agentic state of total obedience to a ‘higher authority’.

Demand Characteristics: features of an experiment which help participants work out what is expected of them and leads them to behave in certain predictable ways.
Ie: these features demand a certain response and, thus, end up acting as confounding variables.

Democracy: the aim of this political philosophy is to create ‘rule of the people’ – the people being those who are enfranchised by their society to vote for the government that will rule them.
In modern Western society this is achieved theoretically by the system of one person/one (secret) vote. The most common system that is deemed democratic in the modern world is parliamentary or representative democracy in which the voting public takes part in elections and chooses politicians to represent them in a legislative assembly. The members of the assembly then make decisions with a majority vote.
Majority rule is usually a characteristic of Democracy but a minority can be oppressed by the majority without constitutional protections. Also, the concept, in assuming everyone will vote with an independent mind, ignores power relationships such as media influences and affiliations to social classes and political parties.
Integrated SocioPsychology has taken up Don Beck’s concept of Stratified Democracy as a more fluid and flexible application to represent people according to which vMEMES are dominant in their culture.

Demography: the statistical study of human populations with regard to their size and structure – ie; their composition by sex, age, marital status, type of occupation and ethnic origin – and to the changes in these populations – ie: birth rates, death rates, migration, etc.

Dendrite: the finger-like branch attached to the cell body of a neuron.
Dendrites function as the receiving end of a neuron and are stimulated by neurotransmitters.which flow across the synapse from the terminal buttons of other neurons

Denial: one of the ego defence mechanisms first put forward by Sigmund Freud and documented by his daughter Anna (1936).
In Integrated SocioPsychology, ego defence mechanisms are reframed as selfplex defence mechanisms.

Dependency Theory: the theory that explains how Third World countries have been manipulated (via colonialism) into becoming dependent on more powerful countries – especially their former colonial masters – for investment, trade, aid, debt relief, charity, etc.
The concept was developed primarily by André Gunder Frank (1971) with a clear Marxistworldview.  It has been criticised as being too simplistic and has been overtaken, to some degree, by Immanuel Wallerstein’s World Systems Theory (1979).

Dependency Culture: a way of life where people (theoretically) become incapable of independence and rely on the state to meet their needs.

Dependent Variable: see Variables.

Depenetration: the reduction – or even abandonment – of self-disclosure in a relationship.

Depression: see Clinical Depression.

Deprivation: the state of having lost or been dispossessed.
There are several applications of the term in Psychology:-

○             Attachments – the experience of bond disruption as a consequence of separation from an attachment figure for a period of time (repeated short-term separations or long-term separation

○             Visual Deprivation – the removal of visual stimulation during early development results in permanent effects on the visual system

○             Sleep Deprivation – the effect on performance of significant amounts of missed sleep

In Sociology the term is used more to mean the lack of economic support generally accepted as basic essentials of human experience – though the need for emotional support is also widely recognised amongst sociologists. Humanistic psychologists such as Abraham Maslow also clearly recognise that care, shelter and security are basic human needs necessary for the development of the individual’s potential. See Self-Actualisation and Hierarchy of Needs.

Deprivation Dwarfism: the sometime physical underdevelopment of children reared in isolation in institutions.
The condition was first identified by Elsie Widdowson (1951) who studied a group of orphanage children who were physically underdeveloped. The idea that emotional deprivation can result in physical underdevelopment fitted all but perfectly with John Bowlby’s (1951) theory of Maternal Deprivation and his statement (1953) that “…prolonged deprivation of a young child of maternal care may have grave and far reaching effects on his character…similar in form…to deprivation of vitamins in infancy.”

Depth of Processing: the extent to which something is processed – not in terms of how much processing is done (repetition) but in terms of how much meaning is extracted.

Descriptive Validity: is concerned with the truthfulness and accuracy of the data in research, how it was collected and how inferences were made from it.

Determinism: the view that an individual’s behaviour is shaped or controlled by internal or external forces rather than an individual’s will to do something.

Development: in Sociology and Anthropology, the process by which societies move from agrarian-based economies and social structures to become complex modern industrial societies.

Developmental Psychology: the psychological approach that is concerned with changes that occur over someone’s lifetime. This starts with conception and infancy, through adolescence and adulthood, to old age and death.

Deviance: one way of defining deviance is to see it as ‘the violation of social norms’. Thus, deviance is culturally determined. This is the ‘normative’ approach to defining deviance favoured byFunctionalists. However, those favouring a ‘relativistic’ approach see this as too simplistic. Rather they focus on by whom and how social norms are formed, to the advantage of some and the disadvantage of others.
See Crime & Deviance – the Difference.

Diagnostic Reliability: criteria can be said to have ‘high diagnostic reliability’ when 2 or more clinicians repeatedly diagnose the same condition based on application of those criteria.

Diathesis-Stress Model: the concept that someone has a predisposition (the ‘Diathesis factor’) to a psychiatric illness – such as Schizophrenia – which is triggered through environmental circumstances and/or certain behaviours (the ‘Stress factor’).
Such predispositions are usually innate and are often hereditary in that they are passed on through the genes in successive generations.
However, many people do develop psychological predispositions. For example, Aaron T Beck has shown repeatedly that somebody who develops a habitual self-blaming/timeless/global attributional pattern in their execution of the Cognitive Triad will create a predisposition for Depression.
A key point of this model is that, while someone may have a biological or psychological predisposition to a psychiatric illness, that illness is unlikely to develop without the ‘Stress factor’.

Diffusion of Time:Diffusion of Industry: see Identity Diffusion.

Diffusion of Responsibility: an explanation for the Bystander Effect in which individuals feel less responsibility for taking action in a crisis when there are others about because responsibility is perceived as shared and, therefore, spread out. The more bystanders there are, the less likely any individual is to act.

Dimensions of Temperament: the 3 axes of biologically-based innate temperament identified in the work of Hans J Eysenck (Eysenck, 1967; Hans J Eysenck & Sybil B G Eysenck, 1976). (Eysenck called them ‘Dimensions of Personality’ – but they are renamed in Integrated SocioPsychology due to ongoing dispute among psychologists as to the meaning of the term ‘personality’.)
The degrees of intersection of the Extraversion and Neuroticism axes will influence the formation of Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholic personality types. The third axis of Psychoticism considers the degree of impulsiveness and compulsiveness an individual is likely to exhibit in their behaviour. As temperament is as, if not more, central to our core selves than our cognitive processes, it is vital to map our temperamental patterns and understand how they influence our thoughts and behaviours.
Although Eysenck considered the Dimensions relatively fixed by the individual’s biology. there is increasingly an acceptance that temperamental traits can be altered, to some degree or other, via experience – ie: epigenetic modification.

Dimorphism: two manifestations of the same species – eg: adult and juvenile; male and female.

Direct Tuition: the explicit instruction of one person by another as to what the ‘tutor’ expects of the ‘tutee’.

Directional Hypothesis; see Hypothesis.

DISC: the 4 types of behaviour mapped by William Moulton Marston (1928), with qualities such as:-

  • Dominance – impatient, assertive, forceful, egotistical, strong-willed, venturesome
  • Inducement – charismatic, optimistic, creative, expressive, emotional, outgoing
  • Submission – stable, predictable, loyal, dependable, traditional, resistant to change
  • Compliance – conservative, procedural, orderly, deliberate, concerned, perfectionistic

Marston did not distinguish between temperamental and motivational factors; thus his types largely describe what, in Integrated Sociopsychology, are called centres of gravity and provide the means of looking at how Dimensions of Temperament influence the play of vMEMES upon the selfplex. However, there is considerable fluidity in the relationship between Marston’s behavioural types in an individual’s psyche and this takes his model beyond being a mere personality typing system such as the Myers-Briggs Typing Inventory.
The first psychometric assessment tool based on DISC for commercial use was developed by Walter Clarke (Rains Wallace, Walter Clarke & Raymond Dry, 1956). In the 1970s John Geier developed the DiSC assessment tool from Marston’s work, to become one of the most popular psychometric tools used in industry & commerce.

Discourse Analysis: a method of research which involves the analysis of conversation between people.
The technique involves collecting data, coding it and then analysing. The communication can be verbal or recorded – eg: written or taped.

Discrimination: literally, this is to with distinguishing between 2 or more things.
In Sociology and Social Psychology it is to do with the acting out – in speech and/or behaviour – of prejudice, usually to the disadvantage of the person(s) being distinguished against.

Disinhibited Attachment: a pattern of attachment behaviour typical of children who spend time in an institution.
Such behaviour involves clingy, attention-seeking behaviour and indiscriminate social interaction with adults – ie: all adults.

Displacement: one of the ego defence mechanisms first put forward by Sigmund Freud and documented by his daughter, Anna (1936). In displacement, anger or resentment against a more threatening person or thing is taken out on someone of something less threatening.
In Integrated SocioPsychology, ego defence mechanisms are reframed as selfplex defence mechanisms.

Dispositional: referring to the explanation that an individual’s behaviour comes from within, to do with their biology, their beliefs (schemas), their character, their temperament, etc.
People who are dispositional in their evaluation of their own thoughts and behaviour are likely to run an internal-referencing meta-programme and to display an internal locus of control. Those who perceive the behaviour of others to be dispositional are at risk of committing the Fundamental Attribution Error.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): a condition wherein the individual’s sense of self becomes fragmented as they seem to be different personalities in different contexts. Unable to reconcile having such different thoughts, feelings and behaviours in different situations, they start to think of themselves as different people in different contexts. They may or may not give these ‘selves’ unique names and thereby assume different identities for the different situations..
There is much contention as to whether DID is different to Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). Ralph Allison (1995), one of the leading experts in the field, contends that DID is qualitatively different to MPD. According to Allison, if a child’s sense of self (the selfplex) is cohesive before the traumatic event(s) which act as trigger (sooner, but often later) for the process of dissociation to begin, then the fractured identity of DID is as far it will go. If the trauma takes place before the selfplex is cohesive, then the multiple identities of MPD are more likely to result. According to Allison, in DID the fracturing of self does not actually go so far as to create completely different identities whereas in MPD it does. Allison gives the age of 7 as the line between whether DID or MPD is likely to be the result. The age range of 6-8 is generally accepted in the Western world as when a child’s sense of self is likely to be more or less established.
The complexity of  trying to arrive at standardised definitions around these terms is illustrated by the definition of DID in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM 5 (2013) assertion that “DID symptoms include “the presence of two or more distinct personality states”.
Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) have put forward the view that dissociation is the effect of very different vMEMES strongly dominating in different circumstances so that the playing out of the motivations does indeed seem to be that of different personalities at times.


Division of Labour:

Dizygotic: meaning from two eggs, the term is applied in research to non-identical twins who, like any pair of siblings other than identical (monozygotic) twins, share around 50% the same genes.

DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid is the genetic code.
Each DNA molecule consists of a group of chemicals combined in a variety of ways, thus making it an instruction code for the cell.

Dominant gene: see genes.

Dopamine: a neurotransmitter of the monoamine group which generally has an excitatory effect – though in some neural networks it can have an inhibitory effect.
High levels of dopamine stimulated on the meso-limbic pathway are part of the brain’s pleasure/reward system. Drugs like cocaine and amphetamines act as dopamine agonists – stimulating more dopamine production in that neural network, partially explaining why they are so addictive. There has ben substantial evidence – eg: Peter Falkai, Bernhard Bogerts &  M Rozumek (1988) – that high levels of dopamine in subcortical areas of the brain are associated with positive symptoms of Schizophrenia. However, evidence has been found also – eg; Kenneth Davis et al (1991) – that low levels of dopamine in the frontal cortex – are associated with negative symptoms of the illness. More recently another neurotransmitter glutamate has been associated with symptoms of Schizophrenia.
Amongst its many other functions, dopamine is involved in movement. Low levels of dopamine are a factor in Parkinson’s Disease.

Double Blind: a research procedure in which neither the participants nor the researcher(s) administering the investigation know the its key details.
This is used to minimise investigator effects and so reduce the likelihood of demand characteristics.

Dramaturgical Approach: