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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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Conformity & Obedience #3

PART 3 Dispositional and Situational The 2 approaches to explaining obedience were to some extent reconciled via the work of Alan Elms (Alan Elms & Stanley Milgram, 1966). One of Milgram’s assistants, Elms tested sub-samples of the 20 most obedient and the 20 most defiant from Milgram’s first 4 experiments, using Adorno’s F-Scale questionnaire. He found that those who tested highest on the F-Scale gave more stronger shocks and held the shock buttons down longer than those who were low scorers. Participants were also asked a series of open-ended questions about their relationship with their parents and their attitudes towards the experimenter (authority figure) and the ‘learner’. Elms reported that participants high in authoritarianism were more likely to see the learner as responsible for what happened to him, rather than themselves or the experimenter who was seen as an admirable figure by many of the authoritarian participants, They also often spoke in negative terms about their fathers. Though Elms’ sample groups were small, the implication is that there is indeed a dispositional element in blind obedience – so that some will respond to a situation demanding obedience more than others. In Integrated SocioPsychology terms the vMEME most likely to obey blindly the orders of a legitimate… Read More

Vulnerability to Stress #2

ART 2 Life events and stress For most people life can be very challenging at times. Everybody experiences major ‘life events’ or ‘life changes’ which can prove acutely stressful and bring about illness – eg: marriage, divorce, death of a close friend or family member, etc, etc. Even Christmas can be acutely stressful! And stress-related illness can contribute to further illness. The idea of ‘life events’ causing stress to the point of illness had begun in 1919 with the ‘life chart’ work of Adolph Meyer. His work became the foundation for the Schedule of Recent Events developed by N G Hawkins, R Davies & Thomas Holmes in 1957; this looked at the cumulative effect of life events in causing stress. (Amusingly Holmes’ interest in the relationship between stress and illness came from finding his mother-in-law’s visits so stressful that he developed a cold every time she came to stay!) In 1967 Thomas Holmes & Richard Rahe added the idea of the magnitude of different life events – measured in ‘life change units’ (LCUs) – to get a more precise understanding of the cumulative effect. They examined the medical records of over 5,000 medical patients as a way to determine whether stressful events might… Read More

Workplace Stress

Relaunched: 13 April 2020 The workplace is commonly acknowledged as one of the most stressful environments most of us have to deal with. Yet, ironically, stress is one of the most common causes of absenteeism from the workplace. According to a 2019 Business in the Community report, 61% of employees have experienced a mental health problem due to work and one in 3 have been formally diagnosed with a mental health issue. So what actors affect occupational stress  and how? Noise in the Environment Many workplaces, particularly in construction and manufacturing, are noisy – often to an unsafe level, requiring ear defenders. But even an open plan office can be noisy. David Glass, Jerome Singer & Lucy Friedman (1969) carried out an investigation in which participants had to carry out tasks under 5 conditions:- loud noises at random soft noises at random loud noises at fixed intervals soft noises at fixed intervals no noise What the researchers found was that the participants performed best under the no noise condition and worst for random loud noises – showing how disruptive unpredictable noise can be. Paul Bell et al (1990) have linked higher noise levels in factories to hypertension, headaches, stomach and intestinal disorders.… 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

Stress & Illness

Updated: 27 January 2020 Stress can make you ill! Stress can even kill you! Hans Selye (1936) was arguably the first theorist to carry out scientific research linking illness to chronic stress. Selye noted that the rats in his experiments and hospital patients showed a similar pattern which he termed the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) because it represented the body’s attempts to cope in an adaptive way with stress. GAS has 3 stages – see graphic below. Stage 1 involves increased activity in both the SAM and the HPA systems. In the case of elongated stress, the Alarm reaction occurs 6-48 hours after the trigger of fight or flight and includes loss of muscle tone, drop in body temperature and decreases in size of the spleen and the liver. Stage 2 involves the body adapting to the demands of the environment, with activity in the HPA. As this stage proceeds, the parasympathetic system requires more careful use of the body’s resources to cope. The system is being taxed to its limits, with an increase in the size of the adrenal glands and a decrease in certain pituitary activity such as the production of growth hormones. If the stress is not too… Read More

Can vMEMES cause Clinical Depression..?

Updated: 24 January 2019 The Gravesian approach lies at the core of Integrated SocioPsychology. The following is a plea to psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health workers and those involved in research into various areas of psychopathology to examine rigorously Clare W Graves research with a view to its implications for mental health conditions. There are literally millions of people whose suffering could be alleviated if we understood more of the psychological processes underlying it. There are a multiplicity of reasons why the work of Clare W Graves (1970, 1971b/2002, 1978/2005) needs to be taken up much more comprehensively by the academic communities and investigated rigorously for its validity. (Which will result in a much higher profile and wider acceptance of his theory.) One of these reasons, I propose, is the applicability to mental health of the Gravesian approach. Strangely enough, for all the many champions of Graves’ work and the Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ developed by Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996), little has been said about the relationship between Graves’ Spiral of motivational systems (vMEMES) and psychological disorders. Although my plea is for research into the Gravesian approach related to all forms of mental illness, in this piece I will be focusing primarily on… Read More

Separation, Deprivation & Privation #2

PART 2 MATERNAL DEPRIVATION If separation can damage – sometimes seriously – the bond between child and mother/caregiver, maternal deprivation is the disruption of the bond so that the attachment ceases to be, at least temporarily. Sometimes this disruption is permanent: Bowlby (1969) estimated that 25% of children experiencing maternal deprivation are irreparably damaged. He attributed maternal deprivation to lengthy or many separations, leading the BEIGE/PURPLE biological driver to form and maintain attachments to eventually become frustrated – often with pathological results. Bowlby based his ideas partly on the work of other developmental psychologists and partly on his own research – most notably his famous ‘Forty-Four Juvenile Thieves’ study (1944). Between 1936 and 1939 an opportunity sample of 88 children was selected from the London Child Guidance Clinic where Bowlby worked – he literally picked suitable children from consecutive referrals. Of these, 44 were juvenile thieves and had been referred to the clinic because of their stealing. The other 44 ‘controls’ had been referred to him due to emotional problems – though they did not display anti-social behaviour. The 2 groups were roughly matched for age and IQ. On arrival at the clinic, each child had their IQ tested by a psychologist… Read More

Biological Factors in Crime #2

PART 2 Hormones In 1980 Dan Olweus et al measured blood testosterone level in institutionalised delinquent and non-delinquent 16-year-old boys and assessed aggression using a questionnaire. High levels of self-reported physical and verbal aggression were associated with higher levels of testosterone – though the results were not statistically significant. It was also noted that those with higher levels of testosterone were likely to respond more vigorously in response to challenges from teachers and peers. John Archer (1991), in a meta-analysis of 5 studies covering 230 males, found a low positive correlation between testosterone and aggression. However, the type of participant and the form and measurement of aggression differed substantially between the studies. Angela Book, Katherine Starzyk & Vernon Quensy (2001), in a meta-analysis of 45 studies, found a mean correlation of 0.14 between testosterone and aggression – though John Archer, Nicola Graham-Kevan & Michelle Davies (2005) challenged Book, Starzyk & Quinsey’s findings on the grounds of methodological problems with the study which meant that a correlation of 0.08 was more appropriate.  James Dabbs et al (1987) measured salivary testosterone in 89 violent and non-violent criminals and found those with a history of primarily violent crime had the highest levels of testosterone whereas… Read More

How to build a MeshWORK

Updated: 16 July 2018 It is difficult to be prescriptive about developing a MeshWORK. Because the Gravesian approach enables us to recognise and work with a number of different value systems (vMEMES) in play at any one time, MeshWORKS interventions – and, indeed, the very structures to deliver those interventions – will be dependent on the needs of the client peoples and/or organisations. So a MeshWORK is highly organic and readily flexible, shifting its structure and its interventions to meet the changing circumstances and the changing natures of the client peoples and/or organisations. However, there are 2 core principles:- Breadth The MeshWORK must create CAPI – Coalesced Authority, Power and Influence (Integration). This is a concept Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck has borrowed from management guru, Ichak Adizes (1987) for enhancement of the MeshWORK concept. (Adizes’ Organisation LifeCycle is often a powerful tool to link with the Gravesian approach for MeshWORK development – particularly when using the Lower Quadrants of 4Q/8L to look at needs and conflict in organisations. Adizes provides not only the most highly-advanced model of organisational development but also a means of mapping which vMEMES are driving (or hindering!) that development. # ‘Authority’ is the ability to make decisions. #’Power’ is the… Read More

Milgram’s Obedience Experiments

Relaunched: 27 February 2018 “I observed a mature and initially poised businessman enter the laboratory smiling and confident. Within 20 minutes he was reduced to a twitching, stuttering wreck who was rapidly approaching nervous collapse. He constantly pulled on his earlobe and twisted his hands. At one point he pushed his fist into his forehead and muttered, ‘Oh, God, let’s stop it!’ And yet he continued to respond to every word of the experimenter and obeyed to the end.” – Stanley Milgram, 1963 Stanley Milgram’s ‘electric shock’ experiments of the 1960s and 1970s – and the many replications and variations of them throughout the Western world and way beyond – are some of the most audacious, genuinely creative and thought-provoking sociopsychological studies ever undertaken. They provide truly disturbing insights into the human readiness to obey those in authority to the point of carrying out horrific acts of violence, secure in the knowledge that the person is ‘doing the right thing’ and that no unpleasant consequences will follow from carrying out those orders. Yet the experiments are as controversial for validity of their methodologies as their results. The theory the experiments gave birth to, Agentic Shift Theory (aka Agency Theory), despite the strength… Read More