Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Shelley Taylor’

Chesham & Amersham: a Middle-Class Revolt brewing?

It was, of course, only a byelection. There were clearly very important local issues – in particular, the impact of HS2 on the area and fears about the Government’s planning reforms – and the Liberal Democrats have a long history of exploiting local issues with great success at byelections. However, the sheer size of Sarah Green’s victory – overturning a 16,000 Tory majority for an 8,000 Lib Dem majority in a seat that has only ever been Tory – has got a number of pundits looking for national electoral significance in the result. It could be as shallow as “Some voters just don’t like Boris” – as ‘one senior Tory’ told The Guardian’s Katy Balls. Certainly there are many things about Boris Johnson himself – from his dishevelled appearance to his overt contempt for the rule of law – that irk an awful lot of people. However, it may be that the voters of Chesham & Amersham have to come to dislike the narrow-minded, xenophobic, neo-racist, authoritarian and brazenly self-interested-to-the-point-of-outright corruption brand of Toryism that Johnson and his cronies have infected the Conservative Party with. A dislike so intense they broke with lifelong support of the Conservatives and gave their vote to… 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

Remainers need Simple Messages and Charismatic Leaders

It’s somewhat astonishing that, in the second week of the UK general election campaign, the Conservatives are polling at an average of 39%, according to the Press Association’s rolling average of voter intentions (highlighted by the Evening Standard’s Rebecca Speare-Coles) – see below. True, Labour are creeping up, now on 29%. But, in what has been a calamitous 10 days for the Tories – from Jacob Rees Mogg’s highly-insensitive comments implying a lack of common sense amongst those who perished in 2017’s Grenfell Tower disaster to Boris Johnson’s hostile reception from South Yorkshire flood victims – Labour should be doing much better. But what about the poor old Liberal Democrats? When the latest (9 November) NatCen Poll of Polls – see below – puts Remain on 53% to Leave’s 47%, how come the Lib Dems have slumped from 21% to just 16%? Given that they are unequivocally Remain and would like to revoke Article 50 without even the formality of a second EU referendum, it is also somewhat astonishing that their voter intentions have slipped so much. Potentially disastrously so! While there are multiple factors accounting for these poll results – and the polls, as has been shown in both the… 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

Glossary S

Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Sample: Sample Bias: Sanguine: Schema: the term  means any cognitive structure or encoded packet of information in the mind-brain. That cognitive structure, according to Susan Fiske & Shelley Taylor (1991), “contains knowledge about a thing, including its attributes and the relations among its attributes”. Michael W Eysenck & Cara Flanagan (2001)  say schemas – the plural is sometimes referenced as ‘schemata’ –  are socially determined, learned and refined through social exchanges. When schemas are shared culturally in this way, they effectively function as memes. Schizophrenia: a severe mental illness where contact with reality is impaired (psychosis) and the sufferer finds that thoughts and feelings often don’t fit together. Symptoms commonly associated with this illness include bizarre delusions and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices); although neurocognitive defecits in memory, organisation and planning and language impairments (speech peculiarities) are also frequent.There are considered to be 5 classifications of Schizophrenia:- ○ Disorganised – characterised by delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech and large mood swings ○ Catatonic – where the ‘patient’ has periods of peculiar or very limited activity and mobility –… Read More

Glossary E

  Nos   A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Eclectic Approach: where a psychologist or therapist will use the most appropriate models and techniques from whatever school or field, regardless of academic boundaries, to meet their clients’ needs. Ecological Validity: aka external validity. See validity Economic Determinism: the thesis, as advanced by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels (1848) – though they did not explicitly use the term – that economic factors underlie all of society’s decisions. Thus, the social relations specific to a particular mode of production are said to structure social relations between classes and are held to be the base underpinning the legal and political systems. This implies that all political, cultural, and social life can be predicted from the prevailing relations of production. Economic Imperialism: Egalitarianism: Ego: generally, an individual’s sense of self – though there are numerous connotations/sub-meanings related to the term. Sigmund Freud (1923b) applied something of a different, quite specific meaning to ‘ego’ – it is a part of the Id-Ego-Superego tripartite mind. The Ego has the role of restraining the unacceptable desires of the Id… Read More

Bibliography T

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P-Q    R    S     T     U    V    W    X-Y-Z Taitimu, Melissa, John Read & Tracey McIntosh (2018): ‘Ngā Whakāwhitinga (standing at the crossroads): how Māori understand what Western Psychiatry calls “schizophrenia” in Transcultural Psychiatry 55/2 Tajfel, Henri (1970): ‘Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination’ in Scientific American #223 Tajfel, Henri (1982): ‘Social Psychology of Inter-Group Relations’ in Annual Review of Psychology #33 Tajfel, Henri & John Turner (1979): ‘An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict’ in William G Austin & Stephen Worchel: ‘The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations’ (Brooks-Cole, Monterey CA) Takahashi, Keiko (1990): ‘Are the Key Assumptions of the ‘Strange Situation’ Procedure universal? A View from Japanese Research’ in Human Development 33/1 Takano, Yohtaro & Eiko Osaka (1999): ‘An Unsupported Common View: comparing Japan and the US on Individualism/Collectivism’ in Asian Journal of Social Psychology 2/3 Lisa Tamres, Denise Janicki & Vicki Helgeson (2002): ‘Sex Differences in Coping Behavior: a Meta-Analytic Review and an Examination of Relative Coping’ in Personality & Social Psychology Review 6/1 Taormina, Robert & Jennifer Gao (2013): ‘Maslow and the Motivation Hierarchy: Measuring Satisfaction of the Needs’ in American Journal of Psychology 126/2 Tapsfield, James… Read More

Schemas & Memes

Updated: 15 May 2017 Love is a meme. The Beatles made great music is a meme. Smart clothes is a meme. Smart is a meme. Clothes is a meme. Depression, as a description of a weather system, is a meme. Weather system is a meme. Weather is a meme. System is a meme. Depression, as a description of a mental state, is a meme. Mental is a meme. State is a meme. Schema is a meme. Meme is a meme. And, if you take this in and believe it, then meme is one of your schemas! (The plural of schema is sometimes referenced as schemata.) Schemas and memes are arguably two reflectors of the same concept – ideas! (from the instinctive and unspoken structural to the metaphysical abstract) – in different contexts. The theories around both terms emphasise the enormous impact of ideas upon the human psyche. A schema can be defined as any cognitive construct or encoded packet of information in the mind-brain. A meme is a unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is contained in a medium of communication – eg: a book – or is transmitted verbally or by repeated action (behaviour) from one… Read More