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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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3 Stage Theories of Development #2

PART 2 Stages of Moral Development Lawrence Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development constitute an adaptation of a psychological model originally conceived of by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1932). Kohlberg, while a Psychology postgraduate student at the University of Chicago, expanded Piaget’s concepts and then developed them throughout the course of his life. The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behaviour, has 6 identifiable developmental stages, the thinking at each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor. Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgement far beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages. Expanding on Piaget’s work, Kohlberg (1963) determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice and that it continued throughout the individual’s lifetime – a notion that spawned dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research. Kohlberg also took the concept beyond Piaget’s model in that he allowed for moral development to be influenced by aspects of the social environment such as what other people might say. (Piaget limited moral development to the effects of the individual’s own active self-discovery.) Kohlberg’s methodology used the Moral Judgement Interview he had first developed… 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

Biological Factors in Crime

Updated: 7 December 2016 Are criminals born or ‘made’? This is a question which has vexed philosophers for millennia and psychologists and sociologists since the dawn of the behavioural sciences early in the 19th Century. The deterministic view offered by biological explanations for criminality – ie: you have no real choice, it’s in your biological make-up – have major implications for how society treats criminals – especially violent ones.  Biological theories assert criminal behaviour has a physiological origin, with the implication that the ‘criminal’, therefore, has difficulty not committing crime because it is ‘natural’ –  ie: the ‘born criminal’ concept. Biological determinism can be used to undermine the legal concept of criminal responsibility: criminals are held to be personally and morally accountable for their actions. Only when the Law of Diminished Responsibility is applied in cases of self-defence and mental illness – and in some countries (eg: France) ‘crimes of passion’ (temporary insanity) – is the defendant assumed not to have acted from their own free will. 3 cases illustrate how biological arguments have been used as mitigating factors to reduce the level of criminal responsibility:- In 1994 Stephen Mobley was sentenced to death for shooting dead the manager of an American branch of Domino’s Pizza. He was also found… Read More