Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Social Change #2

Part 2 Lower Left Quadrant and Minority Influence Social heroes usually can achieve little or nothing on their own. They need collaborators and, if they are leaders, they need followers. This means the social hero has to convert others to their cause and, thus, create a minority influence. The more people are converted to the cause, the more conversion to the cause (as a process) picks up momentum – the ‘snowball effect’ (Eddy Van Avermaet, 2001). Eventually the minority grows into a snowball so large that it becomes the majority. The social hero in the Upper Left is influencing culture and thought in the Lower Left. So how does a social hero convert others and how does a minority gain enough converts to become a majority? Giddens posits that people in general have a deep-seated need for ‘ontological security’, that their world is orderly, stable and predictable. Therefore, by their actions most people most of the time reinforce the existing culture and structure, There is a sort-of natural resistance to change. Just how resistant to change will vary as to which vMEMES dominate in a culture; individual resistance will also vary as to where that person is on their Dimensions of Temperament. People… Read More

Killing the Terrorists

20 January 2009 This feature is being written even as Israeli shells fall on the citizens of Gaza and people are being killed and maimed. (That’s quite a sobering thought!) The aim of the Israeli assault on Gaza avowedly is to neutralise terrorist organisation Hamas’ capacity to fire rockets into southern Israel. However, there is also talk of toppling Hamas – the duly-elected party controlling the government of the Gaza Strip. Does a government have the right to take action to protect its citizens? In a BLUE-ORANGE Western-style democracy, the government has an obligation to take action. If it doesn’t, the electorate will punish it at the polls – and it’s no coincidence that Israel has an election next month. (By contrast, with the kind of RED-BLUE zealotry, with which Hamas runs Gaza, its government can actually sacrifice large numbers of its own citizens with a fair degree of impunity!) Does a government have a right to invade the land of those who are trying to kill its citizens (and sometimes succeeding!)? The Americans certainly saw it as legitimate to invade Afghanistan as a response to 9/11 – and most of the rest of the world supported the invasion (or at… Read More

Conformity & Obedience

Relaunched: 21 September 2020 Conformity and obedience are 2 principal and related topics of study in the psychological area of Social Influence. The difference between the 2 concepts can be summed up as:- obedience is a response to authority but conformity is a response to group norms those subject to authority obey those in authority but conformity usually is to peer groups obedience results from the exercise of power by those with the ability to enforce their commands but conformity is associated with need for acceptance and knowing what to do the behaviour of those obeying may be very different to the behaviour of those in authority but conformity behaviour is similar to that of peers the demands for obedience are usually explicit whereas going with the group ‘flow’ is often implicit Conformity Morton Deutsch & Harold Gerard (1955) described 2 types of conformity, Informational Influence is when someone  conforms to a group norm because they believe this is the right thing to do in the circumstances. Deutsch & Gerrard (p629) say it is “an influence to accept information obtained from another as evidence about reality.” According to Herbert Kelman (1958), the desire to be correct produces the process of internalisation. He… 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

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. In prejudice there is a cognitive element – the beliefs (schemas) someone has about another person or group… Read More

Schemas & Memes

Updated: 15 May 2017 Love is a meme. The Beatles made great music is a meme. Smart clothes is a meme. Smart is a meme. Clothes is a meme. Depression, as a description of a weather system, is a meme. Weather system is a meme. Weather is a meme. System is a meme. Depression, as a description of a mental state, is a meme. Mental is a meme. State is a meme. Schema is a meme. Meme is a meme. And, if you take this in and believe it, then meme is one of your schemas! (The plural of schema is sometimes referenced as schemata.) Schemas and memes are arguably two reflectors of the same concept – ideas! (from the instinctive and unspoken structural to the metaphysical abstract) – in different contexts. The theories around both terms emphasise the enormous impact of ideas upon the human psyche. A schema can be defined as any cognitive construct or encoded packet of information in the mind-brain. A meme is a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is contained in a medium of communication – eg: a book – or is transmitted verbally or by repeated action (behaviour) from one… Read More

Well, are the Arabs ready for Democracy?

On 22 February David Cameron, in an address to the Kuwaiti parliament, hit out at suggestions the Middle East “can’t do democracy”, saying: “For me, that’s a prejudice that borders on racism.” Even at the time it was blatantly clear that such statements were part of his and French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign to persuade the United Nations to approve military action against the forces of Muammar Gaddafi viciously and bloodily repressing pro-Democracy rebels across Libya. A little over 6 weeks later, as NATO tries not to apologise for bombing the hell out of the first armoured column the hard-pressed Libyan rebels have been able to assemble in what is now a de facto civil war…as revolutionary Tunisia and revolutionary Egypt wonder what on earth to do next now they’ve gotten rid of their dictators…and Syrian security forces exterminate yet more pro-Democracy protestors on the streets of Deraa, I’d argue it could be construed as racist not to ask the question: “Can the Arabs do Democracy?” After all, thousands of Arabs have died over the past 3 months in the name of Democracy. If we’re not to devalue their lives, we have to ask whether their sacrifice for their cause is justified.… Read More

David Cameron’s right about Multiculturalism BUT…

This past weekend David Cameron pushed forward considerably ideas his predecessors Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had been moving progressively towards …. In essence, this is to say pretty explicitly that, if you want to be British, you need to buy into the British identity and British values. (Ironically, freed from the collective responsibility of Cabinet, Blair on these issues is almost certainly well to the right of Cameron these days – see: ‘Radical Islam’ and the Return of Tony Blair). Cameron criticised ‘state multiculturalism’ and argued the UK needs a stronger national identity to stop people turning to extremism. With MI6 warning last week that Britain faces an “‘unstoppable wave of home-grown suicide bombers”, Cameron could hardly have ignored the threat from radicalised young Muslims; and it seems logical to ascribe their lack of identification with ‘British values’ as one cause of their radicalisation. In his speech on Saturday (5 February) Cameron accused multiculturalism of leading to a Britain of ‘divided tribes’. The prime minister posited that the multiculturalist dogma, which increasingly dominated political and social thinking from the early 1970s on, had meant the majority had to accord each minority ethnic group respect and the freedom to pursue its… Read More