Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


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

Spiral Dynamics and the Enneagramme

March 2005 With its roots reputedly in Suffi mysticism, the Enneagramme has developed through centuries to become arguably the most potent of the typing methodologies. Only the Myers-Briggs Typing Inventory, derived from the types postulated by Carl Gustav Jung,(1921)  and the DISC Inventory, based on the work of William Moulton Marston (1928), have anything like as strong a reputation for reliability. While some of those who champion the systems-in-people approach that Spiral Dynamics identifies are wary of types-of-people models such as the Enneagramme and Myers-Briggs, undoubtedly typing models with an irrefutable level of accuracy cannot be ignored and must offer insight into the human psyche in all its many manifestations. For example, it might be argued that a Type is impacted by particular gravitations – developments of harmonics and conflicts amongst vMEMES. So, when types flip into different but predictable patterns, what movement in the selfplex influenced this? And how are meta-programme axes affected by such shifts – reflected in the ‘flip pattern’? For more than 2 years Fabien Chabreuil – e-mail – and his wife, Patricia – email – have been working with their students at the Institut Français de l’Ennéagramme in Paris to understand how Spiral Dynamics and the… Read More

When BLUE fails, call for Clint!

Updated: 25 August 2016 For those of us who were raised in the 1960s and 1970s, Clint Eastwood was arguably the ultimate ‘big screen tough guy’. Never impossibly-muscled like the generation of ‘action men’ who came after him – the likes of Arnold Schwarzenneger and Sylvester Stallone – and rarely prone to the ridiculous levels of single-handed mass slaughter commonplace in their movies, Eastwood mostly played far more believable characters. And, because they were far more believable, Eastwood’s anti-heroes exuded a far greater sense of menace. Though Eastwood has long since moved on to become acclaimed as a director and filmmaker of quality, character-driven films with strong narratives, on the occasion this now rather-old actor gets his fists flailing, he is still believable as someone who would very willingly do you serious harm. Periodically there are still Eastwood seasons on TV, usually built around one or more outings of his 2 main anti-heroes, the mysterious ‘Man with No Name’ gunslinger and the homicidal maverick cop ‘Dirty Harry’. That Eastwood can still command a TV season of his films, when most of his contemporaries are forgotten by all but the most devoted, is testament to the enduring power of the myth Eastwood… Read More

Underclass: the Excreta of Capitalism

Updated: 15 September 2016 Though records indicate there have always been a small minority of criminals and ‘wastrels’ who formed an ‘underclass’ at the bottom of whatever social stratification any society had at whatever stage in its history, it was Charles Murray (1989) who first identified this social class as an emerging and important factor in contemporary British society. Murray says of the term: “By ‘underclass’, I do not mean people who are merely poor, but people who are at the margins of society, unsocialised and often violent. The chronic criminal is part of the underclass, especially the violent chronic criminal. But so are parents who mean well but who cannot provide for themselves, who give nothing back to the neighbourhood, and whose children are the despair of the teachers who have to deal with them…. When I use the term ‘underclass’ I am indeed focusing on a certain type of poor person defined not by his condition – eg: long term unemployed – but by his deplorable behaviour in response to that condition – eg: unwilling to take jobs that are available to him.” Those long-term unemployed who fraudulently claim benefits while doing ‘black market’ jobs, the addict who deals… 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

Dilts’ Brain Science

Updated: 5 February 2014 The Neurological Levels model developed by Robert Dilts (1990) is a key concept in NLP and forms the basis for understanding at the Nominal Level in Integrated SocioPsychology. The ‘walking the levels’ therapeutic exercise Dilts derived from the model is regarded as highly effective by a great many NLP Practitioners. However, Neurological Levels as a construct has received a rough ride from a number of critics on both scientific and methodological grounds. Some of these criticisms are outlined in Peter McNab’s Aligning Neurological Levels – A Reassessment (1999) article. One aspect of the Neurological Levels concept which is often criticised is Dilts’ attribution of brain anatomy and activity. It certainly is doubtful whether statements from Robert Dilts & Judith DeLozier’s online Encyclopedia of NLP (p 866-867, 2000) such as:- ◦“The level of neurology that is mobilised when a person is challenged at the level of mission and identity, for instance, is much deeper than the level of neurology that is required to move his or her hand.” ◦‘Forming and manifesting beliefs and value about our capabilities, behaviours and the environment requires an even deeper commitment of neurology…” ◦“Neurologically beliefs are associated with the limbic system and the… Read More

Is Collectivism being overtaken by Individualism?

Updated: 9 November 2016 It’s been a given in cross-cultural research in the behavioural sciences that Individualism has increasingly dominated in the West since at least the end of World War II while the rest of the world has tended to be collectivistic. In the context of the early 21st Century, this dichotomy provokes 2 key questions:- Was it ever as simple as: West, individualistic; rest of the world, collectivistic – and, if so, how did it get to be so? Is Collectivism being overtaken by Individualism – and, if so, what are the driving factors? Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede & Michael Minkov (2010) define Individualism as “the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups”. In individualistic societies, the stress is put on personal achievements and individual rights. People are expected to stand up for themselves and their immediate family, and to choose their own affiliations. By contrast, in collectivistic societies, individuals are seen to act predominantly as members of a lifelong and cohesive group or organisation. People have large extended families which provide safety in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Individualism, according to Ellen Meiksins Wood (1973), is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology or social outlook that emphasises the… Read More

Social Change

Updated: 17 May 2017 Social change means some aspect of society, culture or sub-culture changes. The changes may be overt and dramatic and obvious to everyone or they may be more discreet and less obvious…until people come to a realisation society around them has already changed. An example of this is the attitude of the general public in the UK towards welfare and benefits. As Elizabeth Clery shows in the results of the 2012 British Social Attitudes survey – see graphic above – there is an increased perception that people on welfare are over-reliant on their benefits and that cutting benefits won’t harm too many people too badly. The following 2 years’ surveys  showed only the most marginal reversal (3%) of this trend (Sarah Alcock, 2015) and the election in 2015  of a Tory government determined to cut even more could be seen as voter approval of these strategies. This is actually a major attitudinal shift in a country that, for many years, had largely prided itself on a generous attitude to welfare. Yet these more subtle changes in public perception often only become news when surveys like the British Social Attitudes annual survey pick them up. Of course, sometimes a slow growth in… Read More

Selfplex Defence Mechanisms

Updated: 10 May 2016 What the great Sigmund Freud termed ‘ego defence mechanisms’ are called ‘selfplex defence mechanisms’ in Integrated SocioPsychology. (The reasons for this are largely semantic: ‘ego’ has multiple meanings beyond the one Freud assigned it whereas ‘selfplex’ is used in a quite specific sense.) Freud’s Ego, driven by the Reality Principle, firstly works to restrain the Id (if it feels good, do it) where there might be undesirable consequences to the Id acting out its instincts. It then tries to balance out the conflicting demands of the Id and the Superego (do what it is right). The implication is that the we are largely unaware of the Id bubbling away in our Unconscious – except where it leaks out in parapraxes (‘Freudian slips’ of the tongue which reveal your unconscious thoughts and desires) and in dreams. Also much of the conflict between the 3 parts of the mind takes place below the surface of the consciousness in what Daniel J Siegel (2012) terms ‘non-conscious processing’. Consequently we may not understand why we employ the ego defence mechanisms we do. This concept of conflicts in the Unconscious is reflected in the ‘Iceberg Model’ – see graphic above – on the basis that, as with… Read More

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..? #2

PART 2 The frustration of needs Abraham Maslow’s famous Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1971)  effectively describes the sequential levels of needs/goals of the emerging vMEMES. Eg: PURPLE wants to find safety in belonging; RED craves esteem; etc. As Maslow theorised mainly from case studies, rather than the kind of methodological research Clare W Graves undertook, it’s hardly surprising that his Hierarchy does not match exactly to Graves’ Spiral. However, the match is close enough  – see the Comparison Map – for us to consider Maslowian concerns and principles from the perspective of vMEMES. By doing this, we see not the ‘theoretical needs’ so often associated in a rather abstracted way with Maslow’s Hierarchy but living neurological systems within us desperate to be fulfilled. Maslow’s Hierarchy is looked upon by a number of psychologists as a guide to ‘ideal mental health’. In other words, if an individual is able to progress up the Hierarchy, with their needs met at each level, then they will move beyond the lower subsistence/deficiency levels and start to meet their ‘growth needs’ and eventually their ‘being needs’. According to Marie Jahoda (1958), Self-Actualisation – YELLOW in the Graves construct – is  a key element of ideal mental… Read More