Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Suicide? #2

  PART 2 The social construction of suicide Scientific and quantitative methods are completely rejected by some Phenomenologists. J Maxwell Atkinson (1978) does not accept that a ‘real’ rate of suicide exists as an objective reality waiting to be discovered. According to Atkinson, behavioural scientists who proceed with this assumption will end up producing ‘facts’ on suicide that have nothing to do with the social reality they seek to understand. By constructing a set of criteria to categorise and measure suicide – in scientific language, by operationalising the concept of suicide – they will merely be imposing their ‘reality’ on the social world. This will inevitably distort that world. As Michael Phillipson (1972) observes, the positivistic methodology employed by Durkheim and other researchers “rides roughshod over the very social reality they are trying to comprehend”. Suicide is a construct of social actors, an aspect of social reality. Official statistics on suicide, therefore, are not ‘wrong’, ‘mistaken’, ‘inaccurate’ or ‘in error’. They are part of the social world. They are the interpretations, made by officials, of what is seen to be unnatural death. Since, Phillipson argues, the object of Sociology is to comprehend the social world, that world can only be understood… Read More

Biological Factors in Crime #2

PART 2 Hormones In 1980 Dan Olweus et al measured blood testosterone level in institutionalised delinquent and non-delinquent 16-year-old boys and assessed aggression using a questionnaire. High levels of self-reported physical and verbal aggression were associated with higher levels of testosterone – though the results were not statistically significant. It was also noted that those with higher levels of testosterone were likely to respond more vigorously in response to challenges from teachers and peers. John Archer (1991), in a meta-analysis of 5 studies covering 230 males, found a low positive correlation between testosterone and aggression. However, the type of participant and the form and measurement of aggression differed substantially between the studies. Angela Book, Katherine Starzyk & Vernon Quensy (2001), in a meta-analysis of 45 studies, found a mean correlation of 0.14 between testosterone and aggression – though John Archer, Nicola Graham-Kevan & Michelle Davies (2005) challenged Book, Starzyk & Quinsey’s findings on the grounds of methodological problems with the study which meant that a correlation of 0.08 was more appropriate.  James Dabbs et al (1987) measured salivary testosterone in 89 violent and non-violent criminals and found those with a history of primarily violent crime had the highest levels of testosterone whereas… Read More

How to build a MeshWORK

Updated: 16 July 2018 It is difficult to be prescriptive about developing a MeshWORK. Because the Gravesian approach enables us to recognise and work with a number of different value systems (vMEMES) in play at any one time, MeshWORKS interventions – and, indeed, the very structures to deliver those interventions – will be dependent on the needs of the client peoples and/or organisations. So a MeshWORK is highly organic and readily flexible, shifting its structure and its interventions to meet the changing circumstances and the changing natures of the client peoples and/or organisations. However, there are 2 core principles:- Breadth The MeshWORK must create CAPI – Coalesced Authority, Power and Influence (Integration). This is a concept Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck has borrowed from management guru, Ichak Adizes (1987) for enhancement of the MeshWORK concept. (Adizes’ Organisation LifeCycle is often a powerful tool to link with the Gravesian approach for MeshWORK development – particularly when using the Lower Quadrants of 4Q/8L to look at needs and conflict in organisations. Adizes provides not only the most highly-advanced model of organisational development but also a means of mapping which vMEMES are driving (or hindering!) that development. # ‘Authority’ is the ability to make decisions. #’Power’ is the… Read More

The Biological Impetus to Attachment

 Updated: 5 November 2022 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… Read More

Glossary P-Q

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 Paradigm: in the broadest sense, a representative model or example of a theory or methodology. According to Thomas Kuhn (1962), it is a general theoretical orientation accepted by the majority of scientists in their particular field. This can include the collective set of attitudes, values, procedures and techniques that comprise the generally-accepted perspective of a particular discipline at a point in time. For example, the paradigm of Behaviourism disallowed the notions of cognitive function in favour for forms of stimulus-response pairings Paranoia: Parapraxis: a parapraxis (aka: the ‘Freudian slip’) is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious wish, conflict, or train of thought. The concept was first introduced by Sigmund Freud (1901) is thus part of classical Psychoanalysis. Slips of the tongue and the pen are the classical parapraxes, but Psychoanalytic Theory also embraces such phenomena as misreadings, mishearings, temporary forgettings, and the mislaying and losing of objects. Parasympathetic System: see Autonomic Nervous System. Parietal Lobe: see Cerebral Cortex. Passionate Love:… Read More

Glossary O

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 Obedience: can be defined as the carrying out/execution of instructions/orders/commands of someone who is recognised to have the right to give a person such instructions/etc – ie: they have legitimate authority. According to Stanley Milgram’s Agentic Shift Theory  (1974), when someone accepts such orders, they shift from being in an autonomous state and having free will to being in an agentic state and not having free will. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): a serious condition characterised by undesirable – sometimes highly-disturbing – and intrusive thoughts and compulsive, often ritualistic behaviours. The behaviours, though not always obviously so, serve to compensate for, control or distract from the unwanted thoughts. Clare W Graves saw OCD as the result of emerging BLUE fighting back the impulses of RED which would fit with Carl Gustav Jung’s assertion that OCD was the intrusion into consciousness of threatening sexual and aggressive ideas being warded off through ritualistic behaviours and/or repeated verbal incantations.At a biological level OCD has been associated with problems in the caudate nucleus affecting signalling between the orbitofrontal cortex and the thalamus.… 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 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 G

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 GABA: gamma-amino butryic acid is a neurotransmitter that is produced at times of stress or anxiety and acts as the bodys’ natural form of stress relief. GABA works by inhibiting the transmission of an action potential at the synapse. GDP: Galvanic Skin Response: a means of measuring the electrical conductivity of the skin which is increased by sweating. When the autonomic nervous system is aroused through stress or strong emotion, an electrode placed on the skin – eg: the wrist or the palm – relays the electrical activity to a machine that responds to electrical signals. Gamete: reproductive cell – either sperm or egg – in its mature state. Gender: the psychological characteristics associated with being male or female. Many of these characteristics are socially determined and may be relative to the particular culture or society rather than being universal. Sociologists and psychologists usually distinguish between these sociopsychological characteristics and the anatomical features of being either biologically male or female. Gender Bias: generally this is the tendency to prefer one gender over another. It is the… Read More