Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


Conformity & Obedience #2

PART 2 More research into conformity  Timothy Williams & Shunya Sogon (1984) looked at Japanese students belonging to a sports club and found that normative influence was much greater when participants cared about the opinions of other group members. The higher level of conformity found by Williams & Sogon may reflect the collectivistic nature of Japanese society and, therefore, may not be generalisable beyond similar societies. However, it shows clearly the influence of fitting in with those you with whom you have a belonging connection – that connection fulfilling the needs of the PURPLE vMEME. Supporting this, Paul McGhee &, Richard Teevan (1967) found that students high in the need for affiliation were more likely to conform. Dominic Abrams et al (1990) found an in-group influence, proposing that their 1st-year Psychology students would show more conformity if the other group members were perceived to be in the same in-group (Psychology students from a nearby university) than if they were from an out-group (Ancient History students from the same university). Accordingly, there was conformity on 58% of trials when in the presence of an in-group but only 8% with an out-group. Morton Bogdonoff et al (1962) found arousal levels were high in all participants once they were faced with the opposing judgements of… Read More

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

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..?

Updated: 24 January 2019 The Gravesian approach lies at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. The following is a plea to psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health workers and those involved in research into various areas of psychopathology to examine rigorously Clare W Graves research with a view to its implications for mental health conditions. There are literally millions of people whose suffering could be alleviated if we understood more of the psychological processes underlying it. There are a multiplicity of reasons why the work of Clare W Graves (1970, 1971b/2002, 1978/2005) needs to be taken up much more comprehensively by the academic communities and investigated rigorously for its validity. (Which will result in a much higher profile and wider acceptance of his theory.) One of these reasons, I propose, is the applicability to mental health of the Gravesian approach. Strangely enough, for all the many champions of Graves’ work and the Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996), little has been said about the relationship between Graves’ Spiral of motivational systems (vMEMES) and psychological disorders. Although my plea is for research into the Gravesian approach related to all forms of mental illness, in this piece I will be focusing primarily on… Read More

Maintenance and Breakdown of Relationships

Relaunched: 8 December 2018 George Levinger (1977) developed a 5-stage model of relationships, providing a complete overview from beginning to end. In many ways the first 3 stages parallel the Stimulus-Value-Role model of Bernard Murstein (1970). However, like Ichak Adizes (1999) who applied his Organisation LifeCycle concept to relationships, the last 2 stages imply a certain inevitability that a relationship will decline unless strategies are deployed to maintain the relationship and keep it in what Adizes calls ‘Prime’. The first intention of this piece is to consider how relationships can kept in Prime or brought back to it. It is usually relatively easy to keep a relationship going in the ‘first flushes’ of love when the partners idealise each other and there is lots of sexual activity. A year or so later when sexual activity has decreased – William H James‘ (1981) ‘honeymoon effect’ – and the partners are struggling to deal with the ‘daily grind of real life’, maintaining those idealised feelings about your partner and the relationship can be quite a task. Peter Pineo (1961) identified that, in many marriages, relationship satisfaction decreases almost linearly with length of time of the relationship. Ted Huston, Susan McHale & Ann Crouter (1986)… Read More

Romantic Relationships: Economic Theories

Relaunched: 27 November 2018 Simon Green et al (2016, p149-150) write: “The economic approach works on the assumption that people run relationships in a similar way to a joint bank account – keeping an eye on what they and their partner are putting into and getting out of the relationship. The theories share the view that people may choose to move on if someone else offers a better ‘deal’, in a similar way to a bank offering an incentive to join them. Economic theories help to explain how couples keep their relationship going and the decision to stay or go when relationships get into difficulties.” Social Exchange Theory Developed by John Thibaut & Harold Kelley (1959) from the work of George Homans (1958), this approach is based on the precept that people try to maximise the rewards from a relationship – eg: attention, affection – while minimising the costs – eg: time and effort, dealing with the other person’s emotional problems. The underlying assumptions is that people seek out and maintain those relationships in which the rewards exceed the costs. The minimum acceptable  for a relationship to form and be sustained is that rewards received should at least equal rewards given. The establishment of a… 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

Continuity Hypothesis

Updated: 24 August 2019 The Continuity Hypothesis was put forward by John Bowlby (1953) as a critical effect of attachments in his development of Attachment Theory. He was greatly influenced by Sigmund Freud (1940) who viewed an infant’s first relationship – usually with the mother – as “the prototype of all later love-relations”. This ‘prototype’ Bowlby termed the internal working model – a set of conscious and/or unconscious  rules and expectations which will be applied to all  relationships we develop with others. So our first experiences will influence our expectations and actions in future experiences – hence the sense of continuity. In his concept of the internal working model, Bowlby was borrowing Kenneth Craik’s (1943) concept of ‘mental models’ – ie: that all humans carry in their heads mental representations of the external world and their relations with it. These mental models – schemas and complexes of schemas in the selfplex – then provide the basis on which the individual perceives and deals with the external world. According to Bowlby, with the aid of working models, children predict the attachment figure’s likely behaviour and plan their own responses. What type of model they construct is therefore of great consequence. How the internal working model formed will influence… Read More

Strange Situation

Updated: 31 March 2021 Over 60 years after its prototype was first deployed and in spite of a welter of criticisms – especially from cross-cultural research – the Strange Situation remains the most popular and most used measure of children’s attachment. Just exactly what the procedure measures and how successful it actually is have been contested by several prominent researchers and theoreticians and a number of limitations have been acknowledged over the years. Ironically, considering the issues raised by some cross-cultural research, the idea for the procedure came from work in Uganda  by Mary Ainsworth. She had worked for a period with John Bowlby in the UK and been much influenced by Bowlby researcher John Robertson’s meticulous attention to detail in recording naturalistic observations, particularly to do with separation. In 1954 Ainsworth went to Uganda, as a result of her husband getting a research position there. She studied mother-child relationships in 6 villages of the Ganda people in Kampala, visiting 26 mothers and their infants, every 2 weeks for 2 hours per visit over a period of up to 9 months. Visits (with an interpreter) took place in the family living room, where Ganda women generally entertain in the afternoon. She was particularly interested in determining… Read More

Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis

Updated: 17 August 2016 From the time of Sigmund Freud’s first major work in 1900, there has been a stream of thought in Psychology which places responsibility for the development of the child’s personality unequivocally on to the parents – especially the mother. Freud himself (1940) writes: ““The reason why the infant in arms wants to perceive the presence of the mother is only because it already knows by experience that she satisfies all its needs without delay.” He says the mother’s status is “…unique, without parallel, established unalterably for a whole lifetime as the first and strongest love-object…” As mother satisfies “all its needs”, the implication clearly is that, if the child doesn’t turn out ‘right’, then mother hasn’t satisfied all its needs. From an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, this makes a lot of sense. If the PURPLE vMEME doesn’t get its safety-in-belonging needs met in infancy, then the unavoidable emergence of the RED vMEME is likely to occur more forcefully and with much fewer of the socially-determined constraints PURPLE would impose on its self-expression – Id with little or no Ego, in Freudian terms. Based on the research of Joseph LeDoux (1992; 1996) into the limbic system, Jerry Coursen (2004-2005) has hypothesised that there is… Read More


PART 4 How complex is people’s thinking? The issue of just how far the bulk of any population ascend the Spiral/Hierarchy – experience the emergence of vMEMES in an ascending sequence – is a contentious one. In 1996 Beck & Cowan conjectured that the percentages of the world’s population dominated by a nodal vMEME in their thinking was:- BEIGE: 0.1% PURPLE: 10% RED: 20% BLUE: 40% ORANGE: 30% GREEN: 10% YELLOW: 1% TURQUOISE: 0.1% The percentages, of course, don’t add up to 100% and there is no breakdown of percentage to continents, cultures or societies. Cowan (Chris Cowan & Nastasha Todorovic, 2006b) has admitted that the figures were a (very!) rough interpretation/extrapolation of various data sets (including United Nations data) while Beck has never commented (for public consumption) on the estimates. Nonetheless, in general it supported the notion that the bulk of the population – the Western population, at least – were not significantly beyond a BLUE (Kohlberg) or BLUE/orange (Loevinger) way of thinking. Further support for this notion came from research using Kohlberg’s concepts. Using what effectively was a 9-stage model incorporating 3 sub-stages, Lawrence Walker, Brian De Vries & Shelley Trevethan (1987) found general agreement with Kohlberg. They interviewed 40 boys and 40 girls… Read More