Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Operant Conditioning

Relaunched: 3 May 2020 Unlike Classical Conditioning, which is based on association, Operant Conditioning is based on consequences. The basic principle is that behaviour which brings reward is likely to be repeated to gain the reward again, thus reinforcing the behaviour; on the other hand, behaviour which brings punishment is unlikely to be repeated, to avoid the punishment. Operant Conditioning has its roots in the ‘instrumental learning’ work of Edward Thorndike (1905). His Law of Effect stated positive effects (rewards) of some behaviours ‘stamped in’ those behaviour while negative effects (punishments) of other behaviours ‘stamped out’ those behaviours. Thorndike had developed his ideas from ‘puzzle box’ experiments, usually with cats. Typically he placed a hungry, young and active cat in a box from which it could only escape by pulling on a loop attached to a string. (In  later  studies Thorndike used buttons and levers.) To motivate the hungry cat to escape, Thorndike hung fish outside the puzzle box door. The cat initially scratched, clawed and miaowed, exploring all corners and openings  in the box and trying to squeeze out.  Eventually it clawed at the loop, causing the door to open and allowing the cat to get the fish. On successive… Read More


27 April 2020 This school of Psychology, also known as Learning Theory, maintains that behaviours as such can be described scientifically without recourse either to internal physiological events or to hypothetical constructs such as the ‘mind’. Mental states such as moods and emotions are not appropriate subjects for scientific investigation as they cannot be studied objectively. Behaviourism as such was founded by John B Watson of John Hopkins University when he published his article ‘Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It’ — sometimes referred to as ‘The Behaviourist Manifesto’ –  in 1913. In this article, Watson outlined the major features of his new philosophy of Psychology. The first paragraph of the article concisely described Watson’s position: “Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behaviour. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. The behaviourist, in his efforts to get a unitary scheme of animal response, recognises no dividing line between man and brute. The behaviour of man, with all of its refinement and… Read More

Psychosocial Development

Updated: 23 June 2016 Sigmund Freud’s (1920) concept of the Id can be seen as the self-expressive side of Clare W Graves’ Spiral – with its ultimate and most visceral expression in nodal RED. The development of the self-sacrificial/conformist side of the Spiral also parallels Freud’s thoughts to some considerable degree. Firstly, the PURPLE vMEME’s restriction of BEIGE instinct to gain acceptance sounds like the Freudian Ego’s determination to avoid the consequences of the Id’s behaviours. Then, the Superego’s Conscience element is reflected in BLUE’s drive to ‘do the right thing’; while there are strong echoes of the Superego’s Ego Ideal element – how things should be – in GREEN’s idealistic intentions toward human inter-relations. Thus, while the Psychodynamic approach is frequently criticised these days as ‘unscientific’ and ‘overly fanciful’, it is clear many aspects are still relevant and have much to offer in developing our understanding of Integrated SocioPsychology. No other psychological theorist has yet come up with an explanation – or linked series of explanations – of the ‘human condition’ anything like as comprehensive as Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, the first of the Psychodynamic theories. Yet, from the earliest days of Freud’s theorising, it was obvious there were certain inconsistencies… 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

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


Updated: 13 December 2020 This vMEME is barely present in the world yet. Although there are increasing numbers of people in certain circles – eg: Integral salons – who claim to think in this way, there is yet to be sufficient scientific evidence to say for sure what the TURQUOISE way of thinking is. From the Gravesian approach Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) posit it will be on the collectivistic self-sacrificial side of the Spiral and it will be a more complex way of thinking than Self-Actualisation/YELLOW. Lawrence Kohlberg & Clark Power (1981, p257) note it is “much less unitary and definable”. Beyond this, with only tiny samples and anecdotal evidence, it is as much an untested hypothesis as a reality and descriptors must be read with great caution. Humanistic psychologists like Abraham Maslow (1943) and Carl Rogers (1959) considered Self-Actualisation to be the pinnacle of development of the human mind – the highest level in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. When someone had become all that they could be and fulfilled all their potential, then they could be said to have completely self-actualised. Maslow’s (1956) attempt to be specific about how a self-actualised person would think defined a way of thinking he… Read More

Services FAQs

Click the question to go to its answer… 1. What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and why is it the only form of psychotherapy funded through the National Health Service in the United Kingdom?  2. Which therapy is more effective: NLP or CBT? 1. What is Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and why is it the only form of psychotherapy funded through the National Health Service in the United Kingdom? Updated: 05/06/14 Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an umbrella term for a wide range of therapies which all share the same roots and principles. Essentially all CBT combines efforts to adjust ‘faulty thinking’ (maladaptive schemas) whilst using behaviour modification techniques to stop behaviour that would reinforce the faulty thinking. The focus then is on developing positive, enabling thinking processes with behavioural strategies that reinforce the new thinking. A large number of significant studies have shown CBT to be consistently effective in treating conditions such as Bulimia Nervosia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In conjunction with medication such as serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors like fluoxetine (‘Prozac’), CBT is now recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of mild-moderate Clinical Depression. There have even been a number of reports of it being used successfully… 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

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

Symbolic Interactionism

Updated:  19 May 2017 Symbolic Interactionism is an Interactionist approach in Sociology – although it also has a strong influence in Social Psychology, particularly in the use of phenomenonology to exolore the unique experience of the individual. It contrasts with approaches like Marxism and Functionalism which seem to suggest that people are like puppets controlled by the relations of  production or the pattern variables,  Rather than people slotting into their respective slots in the structure of society, Interactionism sees ‘society’ as being created by people actively working at relationships and thus morphing and changing as the dynamics of those relationships morph and change. Symbolic Interactionism is about creating and responding to symbols and ideas (memes). It is this dynamic that forms the basis of Interactionists’ studies. Sociological areas that have been particularly influenced by Symbolic Interactionism include the sociology of emotions, the sociology of health and illness, deviance and crime, collective behaviour/social movements, and the sociology of sex. Interactionist concepts that have gained widespread usage include definition of the situation, emotion work, impression management, looking glass self and total institution. Symbolic Interactionism derived initially from the writings of George Herbert Mead (1934). He argued that people’s selves are social products –… Read More