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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

individual differences’

Stress & Illness

Updated: 27 January 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

Separation, Deprivation & Privation #4

PART 4 Romanian Orphan Studies Much of the Western world went through a GREEN-tinged liberalisation of cultural norms during from the 1960s onwards. One outcome of this was the increasing acceptance of couples living together without being married and of children being born out of wedlock. The result was that far fewer babies and young children ended up in orphanages and similar institutions. Those that did were cared for much better and much more holistically, with much more attention paid to their psychological and emotional well-being. This was very much a consequence of psychological  research into the damaging effects of institutionalisation in preceding decades. Cleo Dontas et al (1985) provide a good example of a Greek orphanage where each baby was allocated a member of staff to care specifically for them and form an attachment. 15 babies, aged 7 to 9 months, were observed in the 2-week adjustment period of adoption and were found to be forming good attachments with their new adoptive parents – perhaps reflecting J0hn Bowlby’s (1953) Continuity Hypothesis of a good internal working model. However, such progress meant there was little opportunity for a new generation of developmental psychologists to replicate the kinds of studies René Spitz (1945) and… 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

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

Separation, Deprivation & Privation

Relaunched: 5 December 2017 In considering problems to do with failed attachment or lack of attachment, developmental psychologists usually use 3 categorisations:- Separation:  this is where the young child has been temporarily separated from the mother/caregiver for a period of days or even weeks, with the result that the bond between them has been weakened and/or damaged Maternal deprivation: the child and the mother/caregiver have been separated substantially, with the result that the bond is seriously damaged or even destroyed Privation: the child has never formed a real bond with their mother or any other caregiver As we shall see, it is not always easy to determine whether a child is suffering from separation or, more, maternal deprivation; neither is it always easy tell whether  a child is suffering from severe deprivation or is truly privated. However, all 3 categorisations are associated with emotional and behavioural difficulties, usually mildest in cases of separation and worst in those where the child is truly privated. This can be seen as the PURPLE vMEME not having its safety-in-belonging needs met, leading to the emergence and dominance of unhealthy RED in the child’s vMEME stack, with the consequence of Id-like thinking and beh&aviour. It is important to… Read More

Schizophrenia and the Tragic Story of Moby Grape

Recently, after several years without a turntable, I treated myself to one and started digging out LPs I hadn’t played in years. Among the delights I rediscovered was the music of Moby Grape. Moby Who? I hear you say. Well, for 6 months or so back in 1967, Moby Grape were the ‘next big new thing’ for the record companies starting to take a serious interest in the burgeoning hippie music scene of San Francisco. Unfortunately Moby Grape’s star did not rise for very long, crashing down in a tragic welter of legal disputes, drug abuse and ‘madness’. RCA already had an album out by Jefferson Airplane by late 1966. Warner Bros had signed the Grateful Dead but didn’t quite know what to do with them. Quicksilver Messenger Service were just getting going and Janis Joplin was beginning to find her feet in Big Brother & The Holding Company. For most A&R men/talent scouts filtering into the San Francisco Bay Area, the local hippie bands, with to some extent the exception of the Airplane, were just weird. They didn’t understand the music business. Moreover, in their insular, stoned way, most of them didn’t want to understand that music was a business!… Read More