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Clare W Graves’ Research

Updated: 12 February 2021 Clare W Graves (1914-1986) was the psychologist on whose work Spiral Dynamics (Don Beck & Chris Cowan, 1996) and several other powerful and practical conceptual models have been built. Although he achieved the eminent position of ‘Professor of Psychology Emeritus’ at Union College, Schenectady, New York State, when he retired through ill health in 1978, he was not particularly well known outside of certain academic and management theory networks and he has been largely ignored since his death. However, his model and the theory that supports it are without doubt amongst the most powerful and certainly the most cohesive and comprehensive of all attempts to map the development of the human psyche. Those who get to grips with Graves’ work tend to become decidedly passionate about it – such is the power of the model! His work is critical and fundamental to the aims of Psychology and the other behavioural sciences and is at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. Graves was an associate professor at Union when he began his remarkable project in 1952. (He became a full professor in 1956.) At the time Graves recognised the frustration of his students when trying to make sense of the… Read More

RED Thinking is not up to 21st Century Crisis Leadership

The RED vMEME is strong in the vMEME stack of most politicians. Granted, there may be a sense of calling to public duty (BLUE) for some while others may see becoming a politician as personal career progression ORANGE); but there will almost always be strong RED. The schemas in the selfplex that I am important…that I have the answers…that I can make a difference…. This RED drive will enable these people to put themselves forward, to shout louder in a world of noise where he or she who shouts loudest is the one most often others listen to. It will literally drive them to work long hours, cajole potential allies and bully enemies, and build power networks with ‘subservient lesser beings’ dependent on their favours. Strong RED, lacking any real anticipation of consequences, will make promises it can’t keep and tell lies it can’t possibly substantiate to avoid the immediate shame of seeming powerless under pressure from ‘challenging lesser beings’. RED is usually mediated by BLUE and ORANGE in most politicians. Such strong RED gets out of hand from time to time so politicians tell stupid and indefensible lies, get caught having sex with someone they shouldn’t, fail to declare a… 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

Graves Comparison Map

Updated: 18 November 2020 The Comparison Map provides an at-a-glance reference for comparing and contrasting other key developmental theories with the Gravesian approach. (Click on the graphic for an enlarged view of the map on its own. Click back in your browser to return to this page.) Notes:- Where developmentalists have matched their models to those of other developmentalists, they do not always agree completely with each other’s matches. There is, therefore, a small degree of my personal interpretation in the chart above. Differences between the work of Clare W Graves, Abraham Maslow, Jane Loevinger/Susanne Cook-Greuter and Lawrence Kohlberg are dealt with in vMEMES and/or 3 Stage Theories of Development. Comparisons between the work of Graves and Theodore Adorno et al (1950) are covered in Adorno’s types of prejudiced persons. The map uses the colour scheme Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) applied in their Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ of Graves’ work. Other differences are  outlined briefly below. Gerald Heard’s (1963) Ecological (or Leptoid Man) incorporates elements of integrated and advanced spiritual thinking which could be argued as being 2nd Tier. O J Harvey, David E Hunt & H M Schroeder (1961) identified 4 developmental types in their hierarchy. Hunt (1966) separated out… Read More

Self-Actualisation/YELLOW #2

Part 2 Research on Self-Actualisation While Maslow conducted extensive biographical research and case studies of people he considered to be self-actualisers, his methodologies cannot be considered ‘scientific’. Moreover, his criteria for describing a ‘self-actualiser’ could be argued as highly subjective. He did not explicitly compare self-actualisers with self-actualisers. Nevertheless, his work has provided valuable insights the ‘being ways of thinking’. In his near 30 years of research, Graves did conduct investigations of a much more scientific nature and built on Maslow’s ideas, as did Jane Loevinger. Everett Shostrum (1963, 1977) developed the Personal Orientation Questionnaire to create a standardised approach to identifying self-actualisers. The results of scoring the questionnaire reveal the extent (high or low) to which a person self-actualises in their life. Michael Sheffield et al (1995) used it to find that those low in Self-Actualisation tend to have poor interpersonal relationships. Mark Runco, Peter Ebersole & Wayne Mraz (1995) found that creative thinking is more associated with high Self-Actualisation. L Thomas & P E Cooper (1980) found that self-actualisers are more likely to be open to experiences and accepting of those experiences. They are also more likely to recognise a ‘peak experience’ and to use such experiences to enhance… Read More

Bibliography M

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 Ma, Vaunne & Thomas Schoeneman (1997): ‘Individualism versus Collectivism: a Comparison of Kenyan and American Self-Concepts’ in Basic & Applied Social Psychology #19 Maalouf, Elza (2014): ‘Emerge!: the Rise of Functional Democracy and the Future of the Middle East’ (Select Books, New York NY) Mac an Ghaill, Mairtin (1994): ‘The Making of Men: Masculinities, Sexualities and Schooling’ (Open University Press, Milton Keynes) Maccoby, Eleanor  (1980): ‘Social Development: Psychological Growth and the Parent-Child Relationship‘ (Harcourt Brace, New York NY) MacCallum, Fiona & Susan Golombok (2004): ‘Children raised in Fatherless Families from Infancy: a Follow-Up of Children of Lesbian and Single Heterosexual Mothers at Early Adolescence’ in Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 45/8 MacDonald, Alex & Olly Neville (2013): ‘The EDL Endorsement proves that UKIP’s Faux-libertarian Pretence doesn’t work’ (Liberal Conspiracy) http://liberalconspiracy.org/2013/04/06/the-edl-endorsement-proves-that-ukips-faux-libertarian-pretense-doesnt-work/ (Accessed: 22/02/16) MacDonald, Fred (1992): ‘Blacks and White TV: African-Americans in Television since 1948’ (Nelson-Hall, Chicago IL) MacDonald, Helen, Marjorie Beeghly, Wanda Grant-Knight, Marilyn Augustyn, Ryan Woods, Howard Cabral, Ruth Rose-Jacobs, Glenn Saxe & Deborah Frank (2008): ‘Longitudinal Association between Infant Disorganized Attachment and Childhood Posttraumatic… Read More

Bibliography K

 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 Kadushin, Alfred (1970): ‘Adopting Older Children’ (Columbia University Press) Kagan, Jerome (1976): ‘New Views on Cognitive Development’ in Journal of Youth & Adolescence 5/2 Kagan, Jerome (1984): ‘The Nature of the Child’ (Basic Books, New York NY) Kagan, Jerome (1994): ‘Galen’s Prophecy: Temperament in Human Nature’ (Basic Books, New York NY) Kagan, Jerome & Howard Moss (1962): ‘Birth to Maturity: a Study in Psychological Development’ (John Wiley & Sons, New York NY) Kagan, Jerome & Robert Klein (1973): ‘Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Early Development’ in American Psychologist #28 Kagan, Jerome, Steven Resnick & Nancy Snidman (1988): ‘Biological Bases of Childhood Shyness’ in Science #240 Kagan, Soeren (2015): ‘Germany’s Muslim Demographic Revolution’ (Gatestone Institute) http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6423/germany-muslim-demographic (Accessed: 23/11/15) Kahane, Adam (2012): ‘Working together to change the Future: Transformative Scenario Planning’ (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco CA) Kahn, Meehran (2017): ‘UK GDP Growth slows to 0.3% in Q1’ in Financial Times (28 April) Kahn, Stephen, Gary Zimmerman, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi & Jacob Getzels (1985): ‘Relations Between Identity in Young Adulthood and Intimacy at Midlife’ in Journal of Personality & Social Psychology… Read More

Bibliography H

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 Haaretz Service (2010): ‘Shas Spiritual Leader: Abbas and Palestinians should perish’ (Haaretz) http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/shas-spiritual-leader-abbas-and-palestinians-should-perish-1.310800 (Accessed: 08/08/14) Habermas, Jürgen (1962; translated by Thomas Burger with Frederick Lawrence, 1989): ‘The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of Bourgeois Society’ (Polity, Cambridge) Hackett, Conrad (2015): ‘5 Facts about the Muslim Population in Europe’ (Pew Research Center) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/11/17/5-facts-about-the-muslim-population-in-europe/ (Accessed: 24/11/15) Haggbloom, Steven, Renee Warnick, Jason Warnick, Vinessa Jones, Gary Yarbrough, Tinea Russell, Chris Borecky, Reagan McGahhey, John Powell, Jamie Beavers & Emmanuelle Monte (2002): ‘The 100 Most Eminent Psychologists of the 20th Century’ in Review of General Psychology 6/2 Haggerty, Michael (1999): ‘Testing Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: National Quality-of-Life across Time’ in Journal of Social Indicators Research 46/3 Haidt, Jonathan (2001): ‘The Emotional Dog and Its Rational Tail: a Social Intuitionist Approach to Moral Judgement’ in Psychological Review 108/4 Haidt, Jonathan (2005): ‘The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom’ (Basic Books, New York NY) Haidt, Jonathan, Craig Joseph & Jesse Graham (2009): ‘Above and Below Left–Right: Ideological Narratives and Moral Foundations’ in… 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

‘Lost’ in Purgatory?

Over 2 weeks later it’s still being remarked upon in the internet fan forums about just how similar in theme were the final episodes of 2 of the biggest TV dramas of the past few years, Ashes to Ashes (21 May) and Lost (24 May). The Life On Mars/Ashes to Ashes story arcs ended with ‘rough diamond’/’Neanderthal throwback’ [take your pick!] DCI Gene Hunt revealed to be a Christ-like figure living in purgatory to work with the souls of dead coppers to help them accept their untimely demise and move on to the afterlife proper. Hunt even got to fend off the devil-like Discipline & Complaints investigator Jim Keats’ attempts to steal the dead coppers’ souls. Truth to tell, I wasn’t much impressed with the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ finale, ruminating that the purgatory explanation was something of a cop-out, saving the writers from having to come up with some kind of science fiction story of alternate realities/dimension shifts/etc, etc. But – blow me! – just a few days later a near-identical theme was acted out in ‘Lost’s’ 2.5-hour grand finale. This time around it was Jack Shephard being Christ-like to save the island from the darkness brought on by the devil-like ‘Man in… Read More