Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

fight or flight’

Vulnerability to Stress

Updated: 11 April 2020 Clearly some people become stressed more easily than others and some have the experience of stress – fight or flight  – more strongly than others. So what are the factors that influence these phenomena? A vMEMETIC approach One way of looking at this is to take a Maslowian viewpoint – ie: people have needs and having those needs unfulfilled causes stress. The vMEMES identified via the work of Clare W Graves are then the drivers to fulfil those needs. Of course, Graves held that motivational systems (vMEMES) emerge in symbiotic interaction with the life conditions in the environment – an internal response to external stressors and almost certainly the first emergence of a vMEME is an example of epigenetic modification. Graves’ position has been upheld completely by Chris Cowan (2004). However, Don Beck (2002a), with his concept of the prime directive, does imply that there is a maturational factor in the emergence of vMEMES. He has not said explicitly that vMEMES are programmed to emerge in sequence as someone develops through life, irrespective of the life conditions; but the implication that maturation matters is inescapable. The position Beck appears to be working towards is perhaps best represented… Read More

Stress & Illness

Updated: 23 November 2020 Stress can make you ill! Stress can even kill you! Hans Selye (1936) was arguably the first theorist to carry out scientific research linking illness to chronic stress. Selye noted that the rats in his experiments and hospital patients showed a similar pattern which he termed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) because it represented the body’s attempts to cope in an adaptive way with stress. GAS has 3 stages – see graphic below. Stage 1 involves increased activity in both the SAM and the HPA systems. In the case of elongated stress, the Alarm reaction occurs 6-48 hours after the trigger of fight or flight and includes loss of muscle tone, drop in body temperature and decreases in size of the spleen and the liver. Stage 2 involves the body adapting to the demands of the environment, with activity in the HPA. As this stage proceeds, the parasympathetic system requires more careful use of the body’s resources to cope. The system is being taxed to its limits, with an increase in the size of the adrenal glands and a decrease in certain pituitary activity such as the production of growth hormones. If the stress is not too… Read More

Why Brexit makes Me SO ANGRY!!

Carol Thornton is a Green Party councillor in North Lincolnshire. Way back in 2005 she came on one of my training courses in Hull. Our paths haven’t really crossed since but we’re Facebook ‘friends’ and occasionally comment on each other’s postings. Earlier this month Carol called one of my postings about Boris ‘Liar’ Johnson and some of the more dreadful economic consequences of a ‘hard Brexit’ “more overtly political than your usual. Whatever happened to the Spiral?” It was a good challenge that really took me aback. I pointed out that my last 4 Integrated SocioPsychology Blog posts had been concerned with the EU referendum and the development of Brexit. However, I conceded: “I struggle to be dispassionate and objective on the EU issue because Brexit is going to be such a social and economic disaster and #traitormay is just ploughing on regardless. It’s hard to be dispassionate and objective when you feel personally and immediately threatened by something. And I feel personally and immediately threatened by Brexit. I envision living out my old age in poverty because of what these moronic zealots are doing to our country. I am VERY ANGRY!!” When you feel “personally and immediately threatened”, the emotional… 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 H

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 Hegemony: Heritability: the proportion of the variance of a particular trait in a population that can be traced to inherited factors. The heritability ratio is calculated by dividing the genetic variability by the total variability plus the genetic variability. The genetic variance can be calculated by using concordance rates. Hierarchy of Needs: Abraham Maslow’s model of levels of human needs, starting with the purely physiological at the bottom and concluding with the transcendental at the top. The 8 levels are:- Transcendence Self-Actualisation* Aesthetic  – to appreciate symmetry, order and beauty Cognitive – the need to know and understand Esteem* – to achieve, be competent, gain recognition and approval Belonging/Love Needs* – to affiliate with others and be accepted Safety* – from danger Survival* – at a purely physiological level Those levels marked * were in the original 1943 Hierarchy. The Cognitive and Aesthetic levels were first discussed by Maslow in 1954 and formally added to the Hierarchy in 1970. Maslow first discussed Transcendence needs in 1969 but did not explicitly add it to the… Read More

Glossary F

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 F-Scale (Fascism Scale):  a psychometric designed by Theodore Adorno et al (1950) to measure the authoritarian personality. The test measures 9 traits that were believed to cluster together as the result of (Psychodynamic) childhood experiences. These traits are conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, anti-intraception, superstition and stereotypy, power and ‘toughness’, destructiveness and cynicism, projectivity and exaggerated concerns over sexuality (sexual repression). The F-Scale was one of several instruments developed by Adorno et al as part of their research into types of prejudiced persons. Face Validity: Factor Analysis: a multivariate statistical technique that allows the researcher to reduce many specific traits into a few more general ‘factors’ or groups of traits, each of which includes several of the specific traits. Factor analysis can be used with many kinds of variables but is particularly useful with personality characteristics. Failed State:  a state whose political and/or economic systems have become so weak that the government is no longer in control. It is unable to perform the 2 fundamental functions of the sovereign nation-state in the modern world system:… Read More

Glossary C

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 CAPI: As part of his Organisation LifeCycle concept, Ichak Adizes (1987) developed the concept of Coalescing the Authority to make decisions and the Power to implement decisions by those who know how to Influence/Integrate. Don Beck (2000a) has promoted CAPI of the stakeholders as a vital step in structuring any form of MeshWORK. Capitalism: a form of economic organisation in which the means of production are privately owned and controlled. Making profit from the use of capital is the prime objective. In theory those employed by the Capitalists benefit from the wages they are paid for their labour – though, as labour is often a principal – if not the principal cost – to maximise profit, the Capitalists have to keep wages as low as possible. They also have to sell what is made by the workers for the highest price the market will bear. Supporters of Capitalism tend to claim that the profit motive has lead to many countries – Western countries especially  – enjoying affluent lifestyles. Critics attack its reduction of all relationships… 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

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

Munir Hussain and the wrong messages of Judge John Reddihough

What has our kingdom come to when a man and members of his family are tied up by knife-wielding masked intruders and threatened with death, some of the victims escape, get help, chase the perpetrators and beat up badly one of them, only to be jailed for excessive use of force…?!?!? This is effectively what has happened to Munir Hussain and his brother Toker who were jailed this week for 30 months and 39 months respectively. Walid Salem, the intruder they caught, suffered such injuries (including, it is claimed, a permanent brain injury) in what  was clearly a sustained attack by the Hussains that he was considered unfit to be tried on a charge of unlawful imprisonment and was merely put on a supervision order. In sentencing the Hussain brothers, Judge John Reddihough described the assault on Salem by the Hussain brothers as “a dreadful, violent attack”. It undoubtedly was. Among the implements the Hussains and 2 other neighbours used to beat Salem were a cricket bat and a metal pole, (Reportedly the cricket bat was used to strike Salem with such force that it broke in 3!) “This case is a tragedy for you and your families,” the judge told Munir Hussain.… Read More