Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Muzafer Sherif’

Prejudice & Discrimination Theories #2

PART 2 Realistic Conflict Theory It is widely recognised that people tend to identify with their groups. They also tend to have negative views about some other groups – out-groups. But why do some outgroups attract hostility and discrimination but others are treated neutrally or sometimes even admired? This is what Realistic Conflict Theory (RCT) tries to explain. RCT states that,   whenever there are 2 or more groups seeking the same limited resources, this will lead to conflict, negative stereotypes and beliefs about the outgroup – prejudice –  and discrimination between the groups. The conflict can lead to increasing animosity and eventually to violence. Competition over resources can be played out as a ‘zero-sum game’, in which only one group is the winner (obtained the needed or wanted resources) and the other loses (unable to obtain the limited resource due to the winning group achieving the limited resource first). The likely length and severity of the conflict is based upon the perceived value and shortage of the given resource. It is tempting to think of ‘limited resources’ as BEIGE survival needs – eg: water and food – but, depending on which vMEMES are dominant in the vMEME stack, ‘resources’ can be… Read More

Boris and Trump: How do They get away with it?

Boris Johnson has learned very well from his hero, Donald Trump. If the populist right-wing leader of a ‘democratic’ country contradicts himself repeatedly, breaks his promises, has a scurrilous personal life, makes deeply offensive and totally insensitive remarks about anything and anybody, and even tells bare-faced lies, he can get away with it. That’s provided he’s got the right-wing press totally on his side; they attack and smear his opponents with unsubstantiated half-truths and even outright lies, and its journalists avoid taxing the leader and his close political allies with probing questions. Even when the leader’s opponents are succeeding in exposing the corruption of the leader and his cronies. It also helps a great deal, if you have organisations like Cambridge Analytica and lots of Russian bots manipulating social media on your behalf. Daniel Dale at CNN is just one analyst who has delved into what he terms Trump’s “bombardment of lies — Trump’s unceasing campaign to convince people of things that aren’t true.” He goes on to write:- “Trump made more than 2,700 false claims this year [2019]. (We’re still calculating the final total.) Some of them were innocent slips, some of them little exaggerations. But a large number of… Read More

Looking Beyond the Midterm Elections

In Quest for Humanity’s Master Code by Don Beck 6 November 2018 I am thrilled to publish this ‘guest blog’ by Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck which has been published elsewhere – such as Said E Dawlabani’s MEMEnomics Group – and has been sent to several media outlets.  Don is, of course, writing about the left-right extreme polarisation in American politics which has become such as dominating and divisive discourse in the United States since Donald Trump began his presidential campaign in 2016. But the Brexit ‘debate’ – and ‘debate’ may too polite a term for it! – has wrought similar highly-polarised divisions in British society. As with the US, so superordinate goals will need to be created in the UK to bring our divided kingdom together in a healing process. A great deal of what Don has to say is relevant to all societies bedevilled by polarisation. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. I want you to stand 30 years in the future and tell me if the America you see is the one you envisioned in November 2018. Has the ‘us v them’ polarization disappeared? Have we become a stronger union because of it, or did one… Read More


International Speaker and Author 1988-1996    1997   1998     1999     2000     2001    2002      2003     2004     2005     2006     2007     2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013     2014      2015     2016     2017     2018      2019     2020 21st Century Group     HemsMESH     Humber MeshWORKS     Humberside MESH Network January: Invited by Said E Dawlabani to be a keynote speaker at the Spiral Dynamics Summit on the Future conference in Dallas, Texas 20-22 April. Commentary: In format at least, this was to be modelled in part on Don Beck’s Annual Confab. (I had been to the first in 2000.) Said intended it to be both a tribute to Don’s legacy and a major gathering of Gravesians to consider the current state of the world and what the Graves approach could offer it. The excerpt left is from Shipley College Star #41 which ran a short piece on the invitation. January-March: Ran Psychology Topics #5: Memory, Prejudice & Discrimination evening classes at both Shipley College and Rossett. Commentary: Both were great classes that really gelled – though I managed to get the Rosset class into 2 quite hostile and competitive groups to demonstrate Social Identity Theory! That didn’t work quite as well at Shipley as one… Read More

The West and Russia: a Divergence of Values? #2

PART 2 Nationalism and the ‘dictator’ meme In the wake of Crimea, Gallup’s Julie Ray & Neli Esipova reported Putin had polled 83% approval, a massive gain from 54% the previous year – see graphic below. Clearly the Crimean takeover made Russians feel good about their president! Also interesting is the way approval slowly but surely dropped from 83% in 2008 to its low point in 2013. Was this drop a reflection of growing public awareness of corruption, the slowing of economic growth, restricted opportunities for personal advancement and widespread poverty? If so, it indicates Russians squarely put the blame on their president. From the same set of surveys, Ray & Esipova – see graphic below – found  that Russians reported greater confidence in their institutions after Crimea. Again there is a high in confidence in 2008 for national government and the electoral process, followed by a decline in confidence in the following years. Only the military bucks this confidence trend. However, all three institutions receive a significant boost in 2014. What is that much more interesting about the second set of results is that it allows us to see that, all institutions received a boost in 2008 – the year… Read More

The 7th Code

by Don Beck October 2006 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2000. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. Clearly, the contours of YELLOW (G-T/Systemic/Authentic) have not been etched in tin much less set in concrete. But, with all due respect to other developmental models, this highlights the uniqueness of the Gravesian/SDi perspective in that it does address, with great specificity, how each new vMEMETIC code actually appears; what are the life conditions that spark and drive it; and how life problems ‘G’ will awaken the capacities (T) to deal with new realities, new challenges and new threats as well. What provides the totem pole for development is, in our view, the accumulation of the vMEMETIC codes or schemes (with the multiple expressions of content or themes) that form societal stacks that maintain all of the awakened codes and set the stage for new ones in the future. This is what we call The Double Helix; namely the interaction between life conditions experienced and the… Read More

Robber’s Cave

Relaunched: 4 March 2018 The Robber’s Cave study is on a par with Stanley Milgrim’s ‘Obedience Experiments’ and Philip Zimbardo’s infamous prison study at Stanford University (Craig Haney, Curtis Bank & Philip Zimbardo, 1973), both for its sheer audaciousness and what it tells us about situational pressures to produce normative influence. Muzafer Sherif had been a growing force in the development of Social Psychology ever since his ‘autokinetic effect’ experiments in 1935 had developed the concept of conformity that would come to be known as informational influence. In fact, Sherif could be considered one of the founders of Social Psychology. His work was also highly thought of by interactionist sociologists, becoming the first psychologist to receive the Cooley-Mead Award for contributions to Social Psychology from the American Sociological Association. By the end of the 1940s his interest in understanding social processes, particularly social norms and social conflict had led him to conceive of developing a field experiment in which pubescent boys would be nurtured into forming 2 distinctive teams with strong group identities to see how conflict between the 2 groups could be exacerbated and then reduced. This would be the basis of the famous and challenging Robber’s Cave study of 1954 (Muzafer Sherif et al, 1961).… Read More

Killing the Terrorists

20 January 2009 This feature is being written even as Israeli shells fall on the citizens of Gaza and people are being killed and maimed. (That’s quite a sobering thought!) The aim of the Israeli assault on Gaza avowedly is to neutralise terrorist organisation Hamas’ capacity to fire rockets into southern Israel. However, there is also talk of toppling Hamas – the duly-elected party controlling the government of the Gaza Strip. Does a government have the right to take action to protect its citizens? In a BLUE-ORANGE Western-style democracy, the government has an obligation to take action. If it doesn’t, the electorate will punish it at the polls – and it’s no coincidence that Israel has an election next month. (By contrast, with the kind of RED-BLUE zealotry, with which Hamas runs Gaza, its government can actually sacrifice large numbers of its own citizens with a fair degree of impunity!) Does a government have a right to invade the land of those who are trying to kill its citizens (and sometimes succeeding!)? The Americans certainly saw it as legitimate to invade Afghanistan as a response to 9/11 – and most of the rest of the world supported the invasion (or at… Read More

Assimilation-Contrast Effect

Updated: 4 October 2015 The Assimilation-Contrast Effect is grounded in Social Judgement Theory, developed by Muzafer Sherif & Carl Hovland (1961) and Muzafer Sherif & Carolyn Wood Sherif (1968). According to Muzafer, when a potential issue of conflict arises, people – individual or group – approach it with one of 3 ‘latitudes’:- Latitude of Acceptance: – consists of the information you find pleasing and acceptable Latitude of Rejection: – consists of the information you find objectionable Latitude of Noncommitment: – consists of information you find neither pleasing nor objectionable The key to which latitude information fell into would depend on the level of ego investment – ie: how important the issue was to you personally and how committed to it you were. In other words, how much your sense of self-esteem was involved – clearly the domain of the RED vMEME. Muzafer found that working in the Latitude of Acceptance led to what he called an ‘assimilation effect’ – ie: you will find to some degree acceptable information that is not really that close to what you believe. On the other hand, when working in the Latitude of Rejection, there is a ‘contrast effect’ – ie: you find unacceptable even information that is… Read More

Islamification: Europe’s Challenge #2

PART 2 Preparing for change British Home Secretary Theresa May was vilified by much of the media for her 6 October speech at the Conservative Party conference for saying (amongst other things):  “… when immigration is too high, when the pace of change is too fast, it’s impossible to build a cohesive society.” (The Guardian’s Alan Travis called it a “new low in politics of migration”.) However, May was merely echoing the Functionalist argument of Talcott Parsons (1966) that sudden large-scale change disrupts the equilibrium of society and leads to dysfunction. Parsons postulates that social change is necessary for a society to renew and refresh itself but at a gradual pace which the institutions of society can adjust to and cope with. The disruption of equilibrium brought on by significant sudden large-scale change can bring about conflict. Over the past half-century Western Europe has been flooded with migrants. Their cultures were initially marginalised and disregarded – and then, through Multiculturalism, given nominal equal status with the host majority and a degree of positive discrimination to help foster that equality. A half-century is a relatively short amount of time to assimilate such large-scale changes. In retrospect, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been more overt conflict… Read More