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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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Workplace Stress

Relaunched: 13 April 2020 The workplace is commonly acknowledged as one of the most stressful environments most of us have to deal with. Yet, ironically, stress is one of the most common causes of absenteeism from the workplace. According to a 2019 Business in the Community report, 61% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work and one in 3 have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue. So what actors affect occupational stress  and how? Noise in the Environment Many workplaces, particularly in construction and manufacturing, are noisy – often to an unsafe level, requiring ear defenders. But even an open plan office can be noisy. David Glass, Jerome Singer & Lucy Friedman (1969) carried out an investigation in which participants had to carry out tasks under 5 conditions:- loud noises at random soft noises at random loud noises at fixed intervals soft noises at fixed intervals no noise What the researchers found was that the participants performed best under the no noise condition and worst for random loud noises – showing how disruptive unpredictable noise can be. Paul Bell et al (1990) have linked higher noise levels in factories to hypertension, headaches, stomach and intestinal disorders.… Read More

Vulnerability to Stress

Updated: 11 April 2020 Clearly some people become stressed more easily than others and some have the experience of stress – fight or flight  – more strongly than others. So what are the factors that influence these phenomena? A vMEMETIC approach One way of looking at this is to take a Maslowian viewpoint – ie: people have needs and having those needs unfulfilled causes stress. The vMEMES identified via the work of Clare W Graves are then the drivers to fulfil those needs. Of course, Graves held that motivational systems (vMEMES) emerge in symbiotic interaction with the life conditions in the environment – an internal response to external stressors and almost certainly the first emergence of a vMEME is an example of epigenetic modification. Graves’ position has been upheld completely by Chris Cowan (2004). However, Don Beck (2002a), with his concept of the prime directive, does imply that there is a maturational factor in the emergence of vMEMES. He has not said explicitly that vMEMES are programmed to emerge in sequence as someone develops through life, irrespective of the life conditions; but the implication that maturation matters is inescapable. The position Beck appears to be working towards is perhaps best represented… Read More

Stress & Illness

Updated: 23 November 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

What is Romantic Love? #2

PART 2 Women and genes If resources are one key element women want from a relationship, what about the other key element: ‘good genes’? The female’s drive to acquire ‘good genes’ in the making of her children is a critical driver in Sexual Selection (Darwin, 1871). Traits in the male which are seen as attractive to the female and thus will aid the male’s chances of mating and thus passing on his genes are considered ‘sexually selected’. The more men have these traits, the more they are considered desirable by women. After all, when the woman puts a minimum of 6 years into having a child, it’s important the children she produces are ‘attractive’ and thus have an increased likelihood of being able to pass on their genes in the competitive environment of human reproduction. According to Ronad A Fisher’s (1930) Sexy Sons Hypothesis (aka Runaway Process), traits which one generation of females find attractive are also likely to be attractive to the next generation – hence the universals of attractiveness discussed on the previous page.  Therefore, if her sons inherit the traits that attracted her, the mother’s genes are more likely to be passed on because the sons from such a mating… 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

How to build a MeshWORK

Updated: 16 July 2018 It is difficult to be prescriptive about developing a MeshWORK. Because the Gravesian approach enables us to recognise and work with a number of different value systems (vMEMES) in play at any one time, MeshWORKS interventions – and, indeed, the very structures to deliver those interventions – will be dependent on the needs of the client peoples and/or organisations. So a MeshWORK is highly organic and readily flexible, shifting its structure and its interventions to meet the changing circumstances and the changing natures of the client peoples and/or organisations. However, there are 2 core principles:- Breadth The MeshWORK must create CAPI – Coalesced Authority, Power and Influence (Integration). This is a concept Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck has borrowed from management guru, Ichak Adizes (1987) for enhancement of the MeshWORK concept. (Adizes’ Organisation LifeCycle is often a powerful tool to link with the Gravesian approach for MeshWORK development – particularly when using the Lower Quadrants of 4Q/8L to look at needs and conflict in organisations. Adizes provides not only the most highly-advanced model of organisational development but also a means of mapping which vMEMES are driving (or hindering!) that development. # ‘Authority’ is the ability to make decisions. #’Power’ is the… Read More

Glossary F

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 F-Scale (Fascism Scale):  a psychometric designed by Theodore Adorno et al (1950) to measure the authoritarian personality. The test measures 9 traits that were believed to cluster together as the result of (Psychodynamic) childhood experiences. These traits are conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and ‘toughness’, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity and exaggerated concerns over sexuality (sexual repression). The F-Scale was one of several instruments developed by Adorno et al as part of their research into types of prejudiced persons. Face Validity: Factor Analysis: a multivariate statistical technique that allows the researcher to reduce many specific traits into a few more general ‘factors’ or groups of traits, each of which includes several of the specific traits. Factor analysis can be used with many kinds of variables but is particularly useful with personality characteristics. Failed State:  a state whose political and/or economic systems have become so weak that the government is no longer in control. It is unable to perform the 2 fundamental functions of the sovereign nation-state in the modern world system:… Read More

Glossary A

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 Abnormal Behaviour: is behaviour that differs from the norm. Conventionally in Psychology and Psychiatry, abnormal behaviour is defined by one or more of 4 ways:- Statistical Deviation – measured in standard deviations from the mean (average) in a set of scores of behavioural and/or linguistic responses in a population sample, this is a means of describing difference statistically Deviation from Social Norms – though cultural relativism means social norms will vary from culture to culture and in sub-cultures Failure to Function Adequately– in broad terms, not coping with life eg: not being able to hold down a job, sustain a relationship, etc This quite simple definition has been greatly expanded by David Rosenhan & Martin E P Seligman (1989) – though their enhancement of the definition has been quite heavily criticised Deviation from Ideal Mental Health – ‘ideal mental health’ being represented by the tendency to Self-Actualisation (the actualising tendency) found in the writings of Abraham Maslow (1943; 1956) and Carl Rogers (1961) and paralleled in Don Beck’s (2002a) concept of the prime directive… Read More

What is Romantic Love?

Relaunched: 5 November 2018 Being able to define ‘romantic love’ and understand how it comes about, how it works, how it lasts, how it changes and how it all too often fades is a set of challenges that has beguiled philosophers throughout the millennia and over the past couple of centuries psychologists and, to some extent, sociologists too. The theme of romantic love – and the sex that usually goes with it – is one of the most pervasive memes of our times. It dominates Western culture: approximately 90% of all pop music is concerned with it and it is at the core of many dramas – whether on TV, in films or in books. In so doing, it gives a great many of us a mission in life: to find that ‘special person’ to love and be loved by. The love to be obtained is as seen as somehow mystical; and terms with a hint of mysticism are often used for the special person such as ‘soulmate’ and ‘life partner’. Of course, while men and women in all civilisations seem to experience romantic love, not all cultures regard it as a suitable basis for marriage. Phil Shaver, Shelley Wu & Judith Schwartz (1991) compared… Read More

Clare W Graves’ Research #2

PART 2 The freaky stuff!!!! In over 30 years of research Graves discovered some fairly startling information about the way the systems he had identified operated:- The O system is stimulated by smooth gradations in light and sound – eg: a sunset – while the P system is stimulated by pulsing light and sound – eg: in a disco In terms of hormones, noradrenaline is higher than adrenaline when the P system is active and adrenaline higher than noradrenaline when Q is active The T system has 4 times the problem-solving capacity of the S system Graves was so struck by these discoveries he wrote an article ‘Human Nature prepares for a Momentous Leap’ (published in The Futurist, 1974), describing the significant difference in complexity of thinking engendered by the move from S to T Fear and compulsion are absent when the T system is activated Galvanic skin response varies between systems and increases dramatically when the U (TURQUOISE) system is activated “Oh, my God, it becomes so high you can’t hardly get it. I’m talking 2-3-4 standard deviations. This thing has really jumped.” (Graves, 1971/2002, p68)  Graves also said of the eighth level: “The H-U person can turn off other… Read More