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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

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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

Is Theresa May going to bring about a Constitutional Crisis?

So, after the meeting of Theresa May’s Cabinet at Chequers last Wednesday (31 August), the formal pre-G20 interview (released Sunday 4 September) and comments made at the G20, it appears we are still not much nearer understanding what “Brexit means Brexit” will actually mean in reality. Labour MP Stephen Kinnock told the Westminster Hour it was “the most vaccous phrase in modern political history”. The BBC’s Gavin Hewitt reflects similar consternation abroad: “The much-quoted ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is met with bafflement. A Washington Post columnist said it had as much meaning as a parent declaring ‘bedtime means bedtime’. The French talk of ‘le grand flou de Theresa May’, the great vagueness of the British PM.” In the meantime, in this extended period of uncertainty, hate crimes against ‘foreigners’ continue to rise, the economy flounders for the most part, investment in business & industry remains largely on hold (with threats of withdrawal by major Japanese TNCs), sterling is in freefall more often than  it is stable and savers lose hundreds of thousands via the lowest interest rates in generations. (David Cameron’s legacy truly will be one of best-forgotten ignominy!) Following the Chequers meeting, BBC News (2016c) cited former Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire as saying there was a… Read More

Psychosocial Development #2

PART 2 In his later stages, Erikson moves away from and beyond Sigmund Freud’s 5 stages. STAGE 5: PEER RELATIONSHIPS/ADOLESCENCE It was adolescence that interested Erikson first and most; and the patterns he saw here were the starting points for his thinking about all the other stages. At this stage, adolescents are in search of an identity that will lead them to adulthood. Adolescents make a strong effort to answer the question “Who am I?” Erikson notes the healthy resolution of earlier conflicts can now serve as a foundation for the search for an identity. If the child overcomes earlier conflicts, they are prepared to search for identity. Did they develop the basic sense of trust? Do they have a strong sense of industry to believe in themselves? Without these things, the adolescent is likely to experience confusion about their social role(s), meaning an uncertainty about your place in society and the world. When an adolescent is confronted by role confusion, Erikson says that is likely to produce an identity crisis. Erikson strongly supported the notion that society should provide clear rites of passage – certain accomplishments and rituals that help to distinguish the adult from the child. In one way… Read More

Caregiver Sensitivity vs Temperament Hypothesis

Updated: 17 August 2016 From the time of Sigmund Freud’s first major work in 1900, there has been a stream of thought in Psychology which places responsibility for the development of the child’s personality unequivocally on to the parents – especially the mother. Freud himself (1940) writes: ““The reason why the infant in arms wants to perceive the presence of the mother is only because it already knows by experience that she satisfies all its needs without delay.” He says the mother’s status is “…unique, without parallel, established unalterably for a whole lifetime as the first and strongest love-object…” As mother satisfies “all its needs”, the implication clearly is that, if the child doesn’t turn out ‘right’, then mother hasn’t satisfied all its needs. From an Integrated SocioPsychology perspective, this makes a lot of sense. If the PURPLE vMEME doesn’t get its safety-in-belonging needs met in infancy, then the unavoidable emergence of the RED vMEME is likely to occur more forcefully and with much fewer of the socially-determined constraints PURPLE would impose on its self-expression – Id with little or no Ego, in Freudian terms. Based on the research of Joseph LeDoux (1992; 1996) into the limbic system, Jerry Coursen (2004-2005) has hypothesised that there is… Read More

Social Learning Theory

Updated: 15 July 2020 Behaviourism, as a paradigm, doesn’t concern itself with mental processes. In Classical Conditioning John B Watson (1919) treated the mind as a ‘black box’ that Behaviourists did not need to bother with. In Radical Behaviourism B F Skinner (1945) acknowledged that there were ‘private internal events’ but that these were merely the conscious experience of the body functioning. However, not all Behaviourists took such a dismissive view of the concept of internal mental processes. Some did allow for some cognition to influence behaviour. Foremost among these was Edward C Tolman (1932) who proposed the concept of cognitive maps – although Tolman didn’t use the term, he is clearly conceptualising what we now call schemas.  Tolman developed this concept from work he had done (Edward C Tolman & Charles Honzik, 1930) on rats learning the layout of a maze they had to negotiate to get food. In the study 3 groups of rats had to find their way around a complex maze. At the end of the maze there was a ‘goal box’ of food. Some groups of rats got to eat the food, some did not, and for some rats the food was only available after 10 days. The… Read More

Leadership – a SocioPsychological Perspective

Updated: 26 May 2016 What makes a successful leader successful? is a question that appears to have vexed politicians and philosophers from the beginnings of civilisation. Certainly, the number of books and articles on leadership by ‘management gurus’ and social psychologists since the end of World War II indicates an ongoing fascination with the topic and, arguably, a vital need to understand the nature of leadership. Peter F Drucker, Stephen Covey, Warren Bennis, Howard Gardner, James MacGregor Burns, John William Gardner, John Kotter and Peter Senge are just a handful of the heavyweight names who have contributed high-profile books on the subject. One unequivocal key factor which has emerged from the multitude of investigations into ‘leadership’ is that leadership and management are not the same thing. Drucker (1967) was perhaps the first to say this, articulating: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Covey (p101, 1989) provides an illuminating example to illustrate this point: “…envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They’re the producers, the problem-solvers. They’re cutting their way through the undergrowth, clearing it out. The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle… 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

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

Of Components and Tiers…

by Don Beck June 2003 Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck is occasionally prone to post what effectively amount to teach-ins or mini-lectures on the Spiral Dynamics e-lists. This is an extract from one such posting in 2003. You can e-mail Don or visit the Spiral Dynamics Integral website to find out more about his work. The 3 Components The Gravesian/Spiral Dynamics/SDi framework tracks the relationships among 3 essential components:- The life conditions – both external and internal or within a person The awakened vMEMETIC code that contains the complex, adaptive, contextual intelligences to deal with those specific life conditions The surface level content that displays those codes, in all 4 Quadrants. There is no guarantee that a specific set of life conditions will, automatically, activate the adaptive codes. They may overwhelm the preexisting capacities. I heard a BBC report that described a project of moving thousands of ‘Bantu speaking’ Africans in Somalia into urban centres in this country, with just a few speeches to ‘orient’ them to our life style. These projects, for the most part, have failed because, like the deep sea diver who gets the bends when ‘coming up’ too rapidly, one can most certainly get the ‘cultural bends’.… Read More