Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Glossary O

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 Obedience: can be defined as the carrying out/execution of instructions/orders/commands of someone who is recognised to have the right to give a person such instructions/etc – ie: they have legitimate authority. According to Stanley Milgram’s Agentic Shift Theory  (1974), when someone accepts such orders, they shift from being in an autonomous state and having free will to being in an agentic state and not having free will. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): a serious condition characterised by undesirable – sometimes highly-disturbing – and intrusive thoughts and compulsive, often ritualistic behaviours. The behaviours, though not always obviously so, serve to compensate for, control or distract from the unwanted thoughts. Clare W Graves saw OCD as the result of emerging BLUE fighting back the impulses of RED which would fit with Carl Gustav Jung’s assertion that OCD was the intrusion into consciousness of threatening sexual and aggressive ideas being warded off through ritualistic behaviours and/or repeated verbal incantations.At a biological level OCD has been associated with problems in the caudate nucleus affecting signalling between the orbitofrontal cortex and the thalamus.… Read More

Glossary N

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 National Identity: a sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture and language. It may refer to the subjective feeling one shares with a group of people about a nation, regardless of one’s legal citizenship status. National identity is viewed in psychological terms as ‘an awareness of difference’, a ‘feeling and recognition of we and they’. However, Benedict Anderson (1981) depicts a nation as an imagined community,  a social construction imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group. Nationalism: Nativism: any orientation in Psychology or Philosophy that stresses the genetic, inherited influences on thought and behaviour over the acquired, experiential influences. Nature-Nurture Debate: the issue of how much of human behaviour is innate and how much is learned has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries. However, more recent understanding of the brain’s ‘plasticity’ – the way it develops structurally in response to external stimuli – is beginning to render the ‘nature vs nurture debate’ obsolete. Negative Correlation: see Correlation. Negative Punishment: one of the… Read More

Glossary L

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 Latent Function: Late-Modern: Learned Helplessness: Learning Theory: see Behaviourism. Legitimate Authority: the recognised right of someone to give orders/instructions/commands to another and it to expected that person given the orders/etc will obey them. Legitimate authority is often symbolised by a uniform – eg: that of a police officer. Or it may be contextual – eg: a teacher may expect students to obey them on the school grounds but is unlikely to have that expecation away from the school. Levels of Adaptation: terminology I have developed to describe adaptation to changing circumstances:- Nominal Level – concerns alignment of the Identity to the Environment running right through the neurological levels Deeper Level – is to do with how vMEMES shape Values & Beliefs and influence Identity in relation to changes in the Life Conditions in the  Environment Levels of Data: there are different ways that variables can be measured and behavioural scientists typically group measurements into one of 4 scales:- Nominal data: a frequency count or tally chart of categorical items – eg: the number of… 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

Dilts’ Brain Science

Updated: 5 February 2014 The Neurological Levels model developed by Robert Dilts (1990) is a key concept in NLP and forms the basis for understanding at the Nominal Level in Integrated SocioPsychology. The ‘walking the levels’ therapeutic exercise Dilts derived from the model is regarded as highly effective by a great many NLP Practitioners. However, Neurological Levels as a construct has received a rough ride from a number of critics on both scientific and methodological grounds. Some of these criticisms are outlined in Peter McNab’s Aligning Neurological Levels – A Reassessment (1999) article. One aspect of the Neurological Levels concept which is often criticised is Dilts’ attribution of brain anatomy and activity. It certainly is doubtful whether statements from Robert Dilts & Judith DeLozier’s online Encyclopedia of NLP (p 866-867, 2000) such as:- ◦“The level of neurology that is mobilised when a person is challenged at the level of mission and identity, for instance, is much deeper than the level of neurology that is required to move his or her hand.” ◦‘Forming and manifesting beliefs and value about our capabilities, behaviours and the environment requires an even deeper commitment of neurology…” ◦“Neurologically beliefs are associated with the limbic system and the… Read More

Is Racism Natural..?

Updated: 9 November 2015 In my past as a part-time teacher, teaching psychological and sociological approaches to prejudice & discrimination, every year I found myself confronted with this question from one or more of my A-Level students. With posters on some Internet discussion forums making statements like: “I think they [British National Party, Britain First, etc] is only saying what most people think but are too afraid to say” , it seems appropriate to me to revisit the students’ question from an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective. It was explaining Henri Tajfel & John Turner’s Social Identity Theory (1979) in relation to the formation of in-groups and out-groups that usually triggered the student’s question as to whether racism is natural. In essence, Tajfel & Turner say that, simply by identifying yourself with one group as opposed to another, your group becomes the in-group and the other becomes the out-group. According to Tajfel & Turner, this basic act of social categorisation – one group has one identity label and the other group has a different identity label – is enough to bring about prejudice and discrimination. Because we invest something of our self in the groups to which we belong, we need our in-groups to… Read More

The Process of Change

Updated: 5 April 2019 A French translation of this article by Luc Taesch is available at What is it leads us to change? Do we just suddenly wake up one morning and decide to change? Do we change because we want to or because we have to? Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996), co-developers of Spiral Dynamics, identified 7 factors which are part of the change process. Beck (2009) later identified another 3 factors; and this article will use Beck’s 10 factors to set a broad frame for understanding change and how and why it takes place. 1. Potential The individual – or, for that matter, the organisation – has to have the capability to change. Beck & Cowan, from the seminal work of Clare W Graves, identified that someone could be in one of 3 states:- Open to the possibilities of change – they are ready for something new. The Open state is often characterised by the acceptance that change is inevitable and a relatively non-judgemental tolerance of differences. Arrested – caught up so much in their present way of thinking and being that change – without the introduction of dissonance – simply will not occur. This is particularly… Read More

A Biological Basis for vMEMES…?

Updated: 16 November 2015 vMEMES, the motivational systems identified in the Gravesian approach and termed such in Spiral Dynamics, clearly have to have a neurological basis. Whatever your views on Dualism and the ‘Mind-Body Debate’ – whether or not we think there is a ‘mind’ or ‘soul’ distinct from the brain – the motivational effect we recognise as the product of what we call a ‘vMEME’ has to have a concomitant pattern of neural activity. So where is it? Or: where are they…the 8 vMEMES identified so far from Clare W Graves research, that is? When Graves career’ imploded in 1978 (due to major health problems), CAT scans – the first technique for providing truly detailed images of the brain – were only just coming onstream and research into the brain was still relatively primitive. With exceptions such as the remarkable mapping of motor and sensory areas of the brain by Wilder Penfield – Wilder Penfield & Edwin Boldry (1937), Wilder Penfield & Theodore Rasmussen (1950) – research was largely dependent on invasive surgery on animals, post-mortems and cognitive and behavioural studies of brain-damaged patients. Early in the 21st Century, the technology to ‘look inside’ the brain is considerably more advanced… Read More

What is Stress?

Updated: 29 December 2019 From a UK survey the Mental Health Foundation (2018) found that, in the year 2017-2018, 74% of people felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. 46% reported that they ate too much or ate unhealthily due to stress. 29% reported that they started drinking or increased their drinking; and 16% reported that they started smoking or increased their smoking. 51% of adults who felt stressed reported feeling depressed and 61% reported feeling anxious. Of the people who said they had felt stress at some point in their lives, 16% had self harmed and 32% said they had had suicidal thoughts and feelings. 37% of adults who reported feeling stressed reported feeling lonely as a result. The Health & Safety Executive (2018) estimated 15.4 million working days were lost in the UK 2017- 18 as a result of stress, anxiety or Depression. So what is stress? As good a definition of stress as any comes from Richard Lazarus & Susan Folkman (1984): “…negative emotional and physiological process that occurs as individuals try to adjust to or deal with environmental circumstances that disrupt or threaten to disrupt, their daily functioning”. Randolph Nesse & Elizabeth Young (2000)… 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