Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences


What is Romantic Love? #3

PART 3 Triangle of Love Following on from their work on the famous  Love Quiz, Phil Shaver & Cindy Hazan  (Phil Shaver, Cindy Hazan & Donna Bradshaw, 1988) proposed that love is composed of 3 behavioural systems:- attachment caregiving sexuality The 3 systems interact to produce the adult love style. According to Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, the attachment and caregiving systems are acquired in infancy. The latter is knowledge gained about how one cares for others, learned by modelling the behaviour of the primary attachment figure – effectively an internal working model of John Bowlby’s Continuity Hypothesis. The sexuality system is also learned in relation to early attachment – eg: insecure-avoidant individuals, with their PURPLE vMEME’s safety-in-belonging needs unfulfilled, are more likely to have the view that sex without love is pleasurable There is considerable correspondence with the work of Berscheid & Walster, as well as the Triangle of Love theory of Robert J Sternberg (1986). Shaver, Hazan & Bradshaw, for example, proposed that companionate love would include attachment and caregiving but not necessarily sexuality. Passionate or romantic love might involve only sexuality. Sternberg’s theory is, in his own words, a theory of ‘consummate love’, comprised of components or elements. The model is illustrated below… Sternberg explains the… Read More

Lives on the Spiral

Personal Reflections On The Influence Of SDi ‘Lives on the Spiral’ is one of 2 contributions commissioned from me by Tom Christensen for his compendium, Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Learning (Integral Publishers, August 2015). Originally the work was to be entitled ‘SDi Applied’ as Tom wanted to present chapters which reflected Don Beck’s ongoing development of Clare W Graves’ research. Accordingly, Tom wanted the primary term used to be SDi rather than Spiral Dynamics or the ‘Graves Model’. Although I readily acknowledge my debt to Don Beck (and Chris Cowan, for that matter), I have never operated under the SDi umbrella, preferring to use terms such as the Gravesian approach. To maintain the integrity of the piece as published, I have retained the SDi terminology. However, readers should know that effectively I mean ‘Gravesian’. Tom ended up with so many strong contributions – including from the likes of Said E Dawlabani, Elza Maalouf, Barbara N Brown and Fred Krawchuk – that he and Integral Publishers split the material into 2 volumes: the first on Systems Change and the second on Individual Learning. Both my contributions are in the second book. I’ve had an interest in Psychology since my first year at… 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: 19 December 2016 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 the… 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

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


September 2004 ‘Shirley’ was a middle manager who came to me for therapy because she was being made redundant and her sense of self-esteem was rather low. On the one hand she could see that her organisation was in turmoil. It was run by a Self-Referencing RED ‘king’ who recognised intellectually the need for the organisation to enter what Adizes calls ‘Adolescence’ but couldn’t bring himself to share control emotionally. The result was an aggressive, almost brutal personal management style, an organisation that lacked the structure to support its expansion, and staff either leaving or being pushed out. (Ichak Adizes (1987) typifies this state as ‘Pathological Go-Go’.) On the other hand, Shirley, who was one of those being pushed out, blamed herself for her redundancy. She told me she was under-confident with “people who matter” work-wise – eg: bosses – and did not project herself well. She had even “crumbled” under questioning at some recent presentations. Her fear of not living up to the RED king’s expectations turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy when she failed to meet certain targets. Despite the lack of management support and the turmoil the organisation was in, Shirley roundly blamed herself. “I’m not good enough!” was her summation of her experience with this organisation and she was worried that… Read More

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