Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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3 Stage Theories of Development

Updated: 16 May 2021 The work of Clare W Graves (1970) and its Spiral Dynamics ‘build’  (Don Beck & Chris Cowan, 1996) theorise about motivational systems and their emergence. Where the emergent system reaches its nodal peak in matching the life conditions (internal and or external), this can be considered an ‘existential state’, level or stage. In the period Graves was constructing his concept from the results of his research, several other developmentalists were coming up with very similar theories and models. Unlike Graves who perceived ‘stages’ as merely markers in the processes of emergence, however, these other researchers tended to see development in more or less discreet stages which were distinct from each other. In spite of the limitations of these stage theories, the findings of their developers offer much additional insight into the characteristics of vMEMES, vMEME transition states and the workings of the Spiral. These additional insights are discussed in the pages on vMEMES. The purpose of these pages is to describe the basic structures of what are arguably the 3 most important stage models and to provide some background and critiquing of these theories. The Comparison Map places these and some other leading developmental models into a schematic… Read More


International Speaker and Author 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020      2021 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January: Invited by Said E Dawlabani to be a keynote speaker at the Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future conference in Dallas, Texas 20-22 April. Commentary: In format at least, this was to be modelled in part on Don Beck’s Annual Confab. (I had been to the first in 2000.) Said intended it to be both a tribute to Don’s legacy and a major gathering of Gravesians to consider the current state of the world and what the Graves approach could offer it. The excerpt left is from Shipley College Star #41 which ran a short piece on the invitation. January-March: Ran Psychology Topics #5: Memory, Prejudice & Discrimination evening classes at both Shipley College and Rossett. Commentary: Both were great classes that really gelled – though I managed to get the Rosset class into 2 quite hostile and competitive groups to demonstrate Social Identity Theory! That didn’t work quite as well at… Read More


2002 The work I undertook with ‘William’ came out of a management development programme I was delivering for ‘Brentbros Ltd’, a smallish family-run machine parts and assembly operation. ‘John’, the Managing Director, was under pressure from his wife (who did the books) to take more time out from the company. They were both in their late 50s and she wanted them effectively to go into semi-retirement. Brentbros, in Adizes LifeCycle terms, had been in ‘Go-Go’ for years without ever having seriously attempted the journey into ‘Adolescence’. John, typical of an Adizes ‘Founder’, still made nearly all decisions in the company. For John to acede to his wife’s wishes would mean he would have to delegate decision-making to others – and they would have to be capable of making those decisions. So I was brought in – on a recommendation from one of Brentbros’ customers – to develop the management capabilities of those people in his team John saw as having potential. 5 people, including ‘Delia’ (John’s daughter and office manager), workshop manager ‘Adrian’ and his assistant, William, went through 5 months’ twilight training (2 hours at the end of every second Monday). The length and format of the training allowed the… Read More

Separation, Deprivation & Privation #2

PART 2 MATERNAL DEPRIVATION If separation can damage – sometimes seriously – the bond between child and mother/caregiver, maternal deprivation is the disruption of the bond so that the attachment ceases to be, at least temporarily. Sometimes this disruption is permanent: Bowlby (1969) estimated that 25% of children experiencing maternal deprivation are irreparably damaged. He attributed maternal deprivation to lengthy or many separations, leading the BEIGE/PURPLE biological driver to form and maintain attachments to eventually become frustrated – often with pathological results. Bowlby based his ideas partly on the work of other developmental psychologists and partly on his own research – most notably his famous ‘Forty-Four Juvenile Thieves’ study (1944). Between 1936 and 1939 an opportunity sample of 88 children was selected from the London Child Guidance Clinic where Bowlby worked – he literally picked suitable children from consecutive referrals. Of these, 44 were juvenile thieves and had been referred to the clinic because of their stealing. The other 44 ‘controls’ had been referred to him due to emotional problems – though they did not display anti-social behaviour. The 2 groups were roughly matched for age and IQ. On arrival at the clinic, each child had their IQ tested by a psychologist… Read More

Separation, Deprivation & Privation #3

PART 3 PRIVATION The effects of privation are characterised by Michael Rutter (1981) as Affectionless Psychopathy (John Bowlby, 1944) and other severe problems often associated with maternal deprivation. These include a long-term inability to form relationships, a lack of guilt and a penchant for anti-social behaviour which can can lead to delinquency. Distinguishing whether a child is deprived or privated can be difficult without knowledge of their background – though privation would be expected to produce more extreme  effects. In the real extreme these effects can manifest as Reactive Attachment Disorder. This, according to Kandis Cooke Parker & Donald Forrest (1993), is characterised by:- a lack of ability to give and receive affection cruelty to others, especially domestic animals abnormalities in eye contact and speech patterns lying and stealing lack of long-term friends serious control problems clinging, dependent behaviour attention-seeking and indiscriminate friendliness It can be assumed that, with the PURPLE vMEME not getting its belonging needs met, not only does RED emerge in a rather unhealthy way but the child has not learned what they must do to be socially acceptable. In this respect PURPLE takes on the fuctions of the Ego, as Sigmund Freud (1923b) explained them. Not all children experiencing privation develop… Read More


Humber MeshWORKS… 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020      2021 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January-February: Delivered Gravesian-centred staff training sessions for the Garths. February: Worked with Cathy Byrne on developing Spiral strategies to employ in her application to become headteacher of the new school being formed from the merger of the Danepark and Court Park primary schools in Hull. Commentary: A ‘graduate’ from the previous Summer’s SD-NLP open workshop programme, the remarkable story of Cathy’s management of the merger is told as a case study in The Parks in the Services pages. In some circles, there’s a lot of contention about the elitism so often associated with those who claim to think in 2nd Tier – especially TURQUOISE thinking. But I actually do think Cathy does think in TURQUOISE at times. Her fearlessness, her ability to see things clearly from multiple perspectives and to build towards the ‘Big Picture’ would fit with the little we know about this vMEME – and she’s often been way ahead… Read More

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

What is Globalisation?

Relaunched: 13 December 2016 “Despite huge differences in distance, upbringing and social context, many of us now listen to the same music, read the same books and watch the same films and television. Youth in Soweto listen to LA rap; viewers in southern China’s Guandong province watch pirated tapes of Jackie Chan; Sri Lankan refugee kids in Toronto come home from school to settle down in front of Tamil movies rented from the local grocery store. Teenagers and their young siblings in almost every place on earth know Bart and Lisa Simpson. I can sit at my home computer downloading the latest comminqués from Mexico’s indigenous Zapatista rebels and out of the corner of my eye watch the World Cup live from Korea on the TV in the next room.” Peter Steven (2004, p16-17) is describing the communication aspect of globalisation. Alan Cochrane & Kathy Pain (2000) describe other aspects:- “Drugs, crime, sex, disease, people, ideas, images, news, information, entertainment, pollution, goods and money now all travel the globe. They are crossing national boundaries and connecting the world on an unprecedented scale and with previously unimaginable speed. The lives of ordinary people everywhere in the world seem increasingly to be shaped by events,… Read More

Selfplex Defence Mechanisms

Updated: 23 February 2021 What the great Sigmund Freud termed ‘ego defence mechanisms’ are called ‘selfplex defence mechanisms’ in Integrated SocioPsychology. (The reasons for this are largely semantic: ‘ego’ has multiple meanings beyond the one Freud assigned it whereas ‘selfplex’ is used in a quite specific sense.) Freud’s Ego, driven by the Reality Principle, firstly works to restrain the Id (if it feels good, do it) where there might be undesirable consequences to the Id acting out its instincts. It then tries to balance out the conflicting demands of the Id and the Superego (do what it is right). The implication is that the we are largely unaware of the Id bubbling away in our Unconscious – except where it leaks out in parapraxes (‘Freudian slips’ of the tongue which reveal your unconscious thoughts and desires) and in dreams. Also much of the conflict between the 3 parts of the mind takes place below the surface of the consciousness in what Daniel J Siegel (2012) terms ‘non-conscious processing’. Consequently we may not understand why we employ the ego defence mechanisms we do. This concept of conflicts in the Unconscious is reflected in the ‘Iceberg Model’ – see graphic above – on the basis that, as with… Read More

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..? #2

PART 2 The frustration of needs Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1971)  effectively describes the sequential levels of needs/goals of the emerging vMEMES. Eg: PURPLE wants to find safety in belonging; RED craves esteem; etc. As Maslow theorised mainly from case studies, rather than the kind of methodological research Clare W Graves undertook, it’s hardly surprising that his Hierarchy does not match exactly to Graves’ Spiral. However, the match is close enough  – see the Comparison Map – for us to consider Maslowian concerns and principles from the perspective of vMEMES. By doing this, we see not the ‘theoretical needs’ so often associated in a rather abstracted way with Maslow’s Hierarchy but living neurological systems within us desperate to be fulfilled. Maslow’s Hierarchy is looked upon by a number of psychologists as a guide to ‘ideal mental health’. In other words, if an individual is able to progress up the Hierarchy, with their needs met at each level, then they will move beyond the lower subsistence/deficiency levels and start to meet their ‘growth needs’ and eventually their ‘being needs’. According to Marie Jahoda (1958), Self-Actualisation – YELLOW in the Graves construct – is  a key element of ideal mental… Read More