Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


The Biological Impetus to Attachment

 Updated: 31 March 2017 The largely complementary attachment theories of John Bowlby (1969) and Rudolph Schaffer (Rudolph Schaffer & Peggy Emerson, 1964; Schaffer, 1996) mostly focus on the conscious cognitive and affective aspects of the formation of an attachment bond between the child and its primary caregiver (usually the mother), being in broad agreement that this is usually in place by the time the child is 6-7 months old. However, Bowlby (1958) was convinced that there existed an innate drive to attachment between child and mother and that this was adaptive. For evidence from an Evolutionary perspective, Bowlby was initially dependent on animal studies of imprinting such as those of Konrad Lorenz (1935). Lorenz had shown that animals such as geese and ducks imprint on the first thing they see after breaking the egg and treat it as their ‘mother’. (Famously, Lorenz got greylag goslings to imprint on his wellington boots, after which they would follow him around when wearing them!) Lorenz proposed that imprintability is genetically switched on and then switched off, effectively anticipating the development of Epigenetics. From this, Stephen Lea (1984) proposed that instinct gives the gosling chicks the concept or template of the mother but the environment has to supply… Read More

Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis

Updated: 17 August 2016 From the time of Sigmund Freud’s first major work in 1900, there has been a stream of thought in Psychology which places responsibility for the development of the child’s personality unequivocally on to the parents – especially the mother. Freud himself (1940) writes: ““The reason why the infant in arms wants to perceive the presence of the mother is only because it already knows by experience that she satisfies all its needs without delay.” He says the mother’s status is “…unique, without parallel, established unalterably for a whole lifetime as the first and strongest love-object…” As mother satisfies “all its needs”, the implication clearly is that, if the child doesn’t turn out ‘right’, then mother hasn’t satisfied all its needs. From an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, this makes a lot of sense. If the PURPLE vMEME doesn’t get its safety-in-belonging needs met in infancy, then the unavoidable emergence of the RED vMEME is likely to occur more forcefully and with much fewer of the socially-determined constraints PURPLE would impose on its self-expression – Id with little or no Ego, in Freudian terms. Based on the research of Joseph LeDoux (1992; 1996) into the limbic system, Jerry Coursen (2004-2005) has hypothesised that there is… Read More

Glossary M

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 McDonaldisation: George Ritzer (1993) argues that the fast food restaurant is the ultimate model of rationalisation, based on 4 key elements:- Efficiency – economies of scale, assembly line production of food and limited menus cut costs and facilitate the fast processing of customers Calculability – every aspect of the food production and consumption is measured and evaluated on the basis of rational calculation Predictability – Ritzer states “in a rational society people prefer to know what to expect in all settings at all times”. So customers should be able to enter a McDonald’s anywhere in the world and have exactly the same experience. Control – through training, supervision and technology, McDonald’s exercise rigid control of their employees and the food production process. There is even a degree of control of the customers, with hard seats, bright lights and, in some cases, security guards to make customers behave themselves and do not linger over their meal Ritzer and later commentators such as Soumyaditya Dasgupta (2015) see McDonaldization is a by-product of ‘Americanization’ or ‘Westernization’ which… 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

Separation, Deprivation & Privation

Updated: 13 March 2021 In considering problems to do with failed attachment or lack of attachment, developmental psychologists usually use 3 categorisations:- Separation:  this is where the young child has been temporarily separated from the mother/caregiver for a period of days or even weeks, with the result that the bond between them has been weakened and/or damaged Maternal deprivation: the child and the mother/caregiver have been separated substantially, with the result that the bond is seriously damaged or even destroyed Privation: the child has never formed a real bond with their mother or any other caregiver As we shall see, it is not always easy to determine whether a child is suffering from separation or, more, maternal deprivation; neither is it always easy tell whether  a child is suffering from severe deprivation or is truly privated. However, all 3 categorisations are associated with emotional and behavioural difficulties, usually mildest in cases of separation and worst in those where the child is truly privated. This can be seen as the PURPLE vMEME not having its safety-in-belonging needs met, leading to the emergence and dominance of unhealthy RED in the child’s vMEME stack, with the consequence of Id-like thinking and beh&aviour. It is important to… Read More

Attachment Theory

Updated: 10 October 2017 Mary Ainsworth & Sylvia Bell (1970) define an attachment as:  “An affectional tie that one person or animal forms between himself and another specific one – a tie that binds them together in space and over time. The behavioural hallmark of attachment is seeking to gain and maintain a certain degree of proximity to the object of attachment.” Rudolph Schaffer (1996) adds that separation from the attachment figure can lead to distress. Daphne Maurer & Charles Maurer (1988)  state that attachments “…are welded in the heat of interactions.”  Modern affective Attachment Theory, in its application to infants, has its origins in the work of John Bowlby. Bowlby was a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist working at the London Child Guidance Clinic in the 1930s. He had become interested in the effect of children’s disrupted relationships with their parents when, as a medical student, he volunteered to work in a residential children’s home and encountered a range of abnormal behaviours. His famous study of 44 ‘juvenile thieves’ (1944) identified Maternal Deprivation as being associated with delinquency and all sorts of problematic emotional and behavioural issues, including in the extreme what Bowlby termed ‘Affectionless Psychopathy’, the symptoms of which are now incorporated into Reactive Attachment Disorder. Bowlby’s… Read More

Good Boys gone bad…?

Updated: 29 October 2016 Some years ago I encountered ‘Johnny’ and his younger brother, ‘Harry’, at a school I taught at in a run-down town in East Yorkshire. Their behaviour tended towards the extreme – although I have come across worse in my time as a teacher! – but was not that far removed from the behaviour of many boys (and some girls!) in secondary schools in deprived areas. As I taught both boys and had Harry in my tutor group, I learned a fair amount about their backgrounds and factors which influenced their attitudes and behaviours. I developed this diagnostic case study and recommendations from those experiences. My experiences in schools since, my conversations with other educationalists and my readings in Sociology and Psychology leave me still convinced that schools and society in general fail this kind of child. The case study is updated with more of my understanding in Integrated SocioPsychology. ‘Johnny’ was an ‘interesting’ 11-year who came to the school I was teaching at to start Year 7. He was bright, enthusiastic, eager both to learn and to show off his knowledge – almost always the first to have his hand up to answer a question. He was often ahead… Read More


These pages address the application of Integrated SocioPsychology concepts to lifespan development – with a specific theoretical application to infant attachments and romantic relationships. More immediately-topical observations can be found in the Blog. Those who support the Integrated approach and are interested in such matters are invited to submit pieces for publication here as ‘guest features’ or ‘guest reports’. Please get in touch with your ideas via the Contact page. Psychosocial Development An exploration of Erik Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development in terms of Integrated SocioPsychology Infant Attachments The Biological Impetus to Attachment  A look at how biological factors and biological-environmental interaction influence mother-child bonding Attachment Theory Page outlining theories of attachment – and John Bowlby’s monotropic theory in particular Stages of  Infant Attachment Article comparing the stages of infant attachment outlined by John Bowlby and Rudolph  Schaffer & Peggy Emerson respectively Strange Situation     31/03/21 Page outlining and evaluating Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation as a measure of infant attachment Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis A consideration of how much the elements of Mary Ainsworth’s Caregiver Sensitivity Hypothesis and Jermome Kagan’s Temperament Hypothesis might interact to develop attachments Separation, Deprivation & Privation In-depth article looking at the effects of separation, maternal deprivation and privation on… Read More

Is Marriage PURPLE?

Just got back from the marriage of my friend and occasional business partner, David Burnby, and Jean MacEwan, manager of Hull’s Centre 88 (where I have staged a number of  ISP courses,) It was truly heart-warming to see two such dear friends ‘tying the knot’; while the dance/party in the evening was certainly something! David, ever the showman, danced vigorously in a Bogart-style white tux and black bow tie almost continuously. And he got up on stage at one point in the band’s set to replace the drummer for their version of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’. Jean positively glowed as she circulated enthusiastically – the near-perfect hostess! A spendid night! Peter Fryer of trojan mice is a mutual friend of David and I and someone I very much respect. (Peter wrote the Thriving Organisation Article for this site.) Just before the ceremony he asked me (as the Gravesian ‘expert’ there): “Is marriage PURPLE?” Considering Peter is fairly knowledgeable about the work of Clare W Graves and Spiral Dynamics himself, I was slightly taken aback by the question. Of course, the binding together of 2 people in a bonding arrangement should aim to fulfill PURPLE’s need for attachment. And since I have a degree of attachment to… Read More

Oh, goodie – Passionate Sex!!!

If you say you’re enjoying sex with the same person after three years, you’re either a liar or you’re on something.” – Sebastian Horsley, The Observer Magazine, 15 January 2006 The Observer (aka The London Observer) has had quite a makeover for the New Year. Down from broadsheet to Berliner size and with reorganised sections. Still good, informative and well-reported coverage of a wide range of topical news issues, both domestic and foreign. As part of this makeover, The Observer’s longstanding and well-respected colour magazine has a new regular feature: The Sex Columnists – in which Sebastian Horsley and Marion McBride offer his ‘n’ hers perspectives on issues raised by readers. The opening quote to this Blog was the beginning of Sebastian’s reponse to a reader writing in: “I’ve been in a relationship with my soul mate for three years, but our sex life has almost ceased. I’m terrified if I raise the issue he’ll say he no longer finds me attractive.” Sebastian goes on to say: “Of all the sexual perversions, monogamy is the most unnatural.” Given that point of view, it’s no surprise that he recommends the reader to end the relationship and move on. As I point out in… Read More