Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


What is Romantic Love?

Relaunched: 5 November 2018 Being able to define ‘romantic love’ and understand how it comes about, how it works, how it lasts, how it changes and how it all too often fades is a set of challenges that has beguiled philosophers throughout the millennia and over the past couple of centuries psychologists and, to some extent, sociologists too. The theme of romantic love – and the sex that usually goes with it – is one of the most pervasive memes of our times. It dominates Western culture: approximately 90% of all pop music is concerned with it and it is at the core of many dramas – whether on TV, in films or in books. In so doing, it gives a great many of us a mission in life: to find that ‘special person’ to love and be loved by. The love to be obtained is as seen as somehow mystical; and terms with a hint of mysticism are often used for the special person such as ‘soulmate’ and ‘life partner’. Of course, while men and women in all civilisations seem to experience romantic love, not all cultures regard it as a suitable basis for marriage. Phil Shaver, Shelley Wu & Judith Schwartz (1991) compared… Read More

Miscellaneous FAQs

Click the question to go to its answer… 1. It’s said you have severe reservations about NLP. Please explain. 2. Were you expelled from the British Association of Counsellors & Psychotherapists? 1. It’s said you have severe reservations about NLP. Please explain. Updated: 17/05/15 Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) contains some very powerful therapeutic techniques indeed. And I use a number of these as first choice in tackling a therapy client’s problems. However, I do have severe reservations about NLP being presented, taught and used as if it is a complete and cohesive set of theories, models and techniques. Firstly, it is theoretically weak. There is no unified or even connectionist set of theoretical underpinnings. In terms of theory, it is a ragbag of disjointed models which are not properly integrated. Put the vMEMES of the Gravesian approach at the core of NLP and most of it starts to make sense. Even then it ignores many facets of the human psyche covered in other schools of Psychology. This, unfortunately, does not stop many NLPers – including ‘guru’ figures who should know better – from claiming that NLP can be used to tackle any and every form of psychological problem. It can’t! For one… Read More


Updated: 10 February 2016 Meta-programmes, a key concept in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), are observable distinctions in mental processing, as reflected in language and behaviour. They act as filters for how and what we let into our heads  – memes from the external world influencing the schemas of our internal representations – and they shape what comes out from us in terms of language and concepts – our schemas becoming memes to influence others. Meta-programmes are usually depicted as poles at the opposite ends of a scalable continuum. The concept of meta-programmes was conceived in the late 1970s by Leslie Cameron Bandler (then wife of NLP co-developer Richard Bandler), building on Noam Chomsky’s groundbreaking work around linguistic patterns reflecting mental filters. David Gordon, Robert Dilts and Maribeth Meyers-Anderson were among Cameron-Bandler’s leading collaborators in identifying the first sets of meta-programmes. As NLP has grown in scope and complexity, so more and more meta-programmes have been charted to identify more and more distinctions. Leading ‘guru’ Wyatt Woodsmall has reputedly talked about having identified over 350 meta-programmes! In 1997 L Michael Hall & Bob Bodenhamer grouped 51 principle meta-programmes into 5 overarching categories: mental, emotional, volitional, response and meta meta-programmes.They also linked meta-programmes to the concept… Read More

NLP+ Communication Model

Updated: 11 June 2016 The NLP Communication Model, developed by Tad James & Wyatt Woodsmall (1988) from the work of Richard Bandler & John Grinder (1975), is one of the key structures in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) – though it draws heavily on concepts in Cognitive Psychology and the ground-breaking work of linguistic analysts Alfred Korzybski (1933) and Noam Chomsky (1964). The starting point for the Communication Model – perhaps for NLP itself! – is Korzybski’s statement: The Map is not the Territory – which was adopted by Bandler & Grinder to become one of the founding presuppositions of NLP. In other words, we form cognitive representations (maps) of reality (the territory) – but the representation is not actually the reality, just as a map of a place is not actually the place itself but a representation more or less accurate. The concept of cognitive maps had been developed by the likes of Edward C Tolman (1932) and Kenneth Craik (1943); but Korzybski was arguably the first to draw attention to the degree of accuracy (or not!) of our mental maps. According to Korzybski, we delete, distort and/or generalise incoming information (memes) which then affects the way we attribute about both ourselves and… Read More

Attribution Theory

Updated: 17 June 2016 According to Fritz Heider (1958), we produce attributions (beliefs about the causes of behaviour) based on two sources of information… Internal attributions – based on something within the individual whose behaviour is being observed – their natural character External attributions – based on something external to that individual – nothing to do with who they are specifically, it is the situation they are in Internal attributions are often referred to as dispositional attributions while external attributions are called situational attributions. Internal or External Locus of Control? In his development of Attribution Theory, Heider was concerned primarily with how we understand the behaviour of others. The mechanisms for how we attribute the behaviour of others have been explored with varying degrees of success in Correspondent Inference Theory, Covariation Theory and Causal Schemata. However, Julian B Rotter (1966) focused on how people attribute the reasons for their own behaviour. From his research, Rotter concluded that people tend to have either:- internal locus of control – ie: they decide what to do – the root of their behaviour is dispositional external locus of control – ie: their behaviour is shaped by external, situational factors – eg: expectations Rotter found that,… Read More

A Biological Basis for vMEMES…?

Updated: 16 November 2015 vMEMES, the motivational systems identified in the Gravesian approach and termed such in Spiral Dynamics, clearly have to have a neurological basis. Whatever your views on Dualism and the ‘Mind-Body Debate’ – whether or not we think there is a ‘mind’ or ‘soul’ distinct from the brain – the motivational effect we recognise as the product of what we call a ‘vMEME’ has to have a concomitant pattern of neural activity. So where is it? Or: where are they…the 8 vMEMES identified so far from Clare W Graves research, that is? When Graves career’ imploded in 1978 (due to major health problems), CAT scans – the first technique for providing truly detailed images of the brain – were only just coming onstream and research into the brain was still relatively primitive. With exceptions such as the remarkable mapping of motor and sensory areas of the brain by Wilder Penfield – Wilder Penfield & Edwin Boldry (1937), Wilder Penfield & Theodore Rasmussen (1950) – research was largely dependent on invasive surgery on animals, post-mortems and cognitive and behavioural studies of brain-damaged patients. Early in the 21st Century, the technology to ‘look inside’ the brain is considerably more advanced… Read More

Diagnosis of Depression

Updated: 30 April 2019 In ordinary, everyday discourse, nearly any mood with some element of sadness may be called ‘depressed’. However, for depression to be termed Clinical Depression, it must reach criteria which are generally accepted by clinicians; it is more than just a temporary state of sadness. Generally, when symptoms last 2 weeks or more and are so severe that they interfere with daily living (failure to function adequately), someone can be said to be suffering from Clinical Depression. Clinical Depression affects about 16% of the population at one time or another in their lives.  According to the World Health Organisation (2018a): “Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.”The mean age of onset from a number of studies is in the late 20s. There is a gender difference in incidence as roughly twice as many women as men report or receive treatment for Clinical Depression, though the gap is shrinking and this difference disappears after menopause. Up to 25% of females will be diagnosed at some point in their life and up to 12% of men. At any one point in time it is estimated 9% of… 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