Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

Graves Comparison Map

Updated: 22 May 2016

The Comparison Map provides an at-a-glance reference for comparing and contrasting other key developmental theories with the Gravesian approach. (Click on the graphic for an enlarged view of the map on its own. Click back in your browser to return to this page.)

Graves Comparison Map

Where developmentalists have matched their models to those of other developmentalists, they do not always agree completely with each other’s matches. There is, therefore, a small degree of my personal interpretation in the chart above. Differences between the work of Clare W Graves, Abraham Maslow, Jane Loevinger/Susanne Cook-Greuter and Lawrence Kohlberg are dealt with in vMEMES and/or 3 Stage Theories of Development.

The map uses the colour scheme Don Beck & Chris Cowan (1996) applied in their Spiral Dynamics ‘build’ of Graves’ work.

Other differences are  outlined briefly below.

  • Gerald Heard’s (1963) Ecological (or Leptoid Man) incorporates elements of integrated and advanced spiritual thinking which could be argued as being 2nd Tier.
  • O J Harvey, David E Hunt & H M Schroeder (1961) identified 4 developmental types in their hierarchy. Hunt (1966) separated out to some degree from Harvey and Schroeder when he came across empirical evidence of a level of thinking less complex than Type 1 – which he termed Sub-Type 1 and which he and Graves eventually mapped to C-P (RED).
  • Theodore Adorno et al (1950) are most noted for their identification of the Authoritarian Personality, the most common high-scoring type they identified in their research into prejudice. In the Authoritarian Personality’s dislike of ethnic minorities, the BLUE vMEME may be working in a vMEME harmonic with PURPLE. In cases where an authoritarian personality has displayed sadism and/or extreme cruelty, the temperamental dimension of Psychoticism may also be a factor.
    Like Loevinger, some of the types they identified seem more to describe transitional states rather than nodal states.  Although matched to ORANGE/green on the map, it is probably better to say the Easy-Going Personality fits somewhere in the GREEN/YELLOW transition. Adorno et al’s description is too vague to place it for definite in either the exiting or the entering phase.
    Where the Crank shows mysticism and superstition, this could also mean some degree of vMEME harmonic with PURPLE. Some describers for the Protestor hint at a harmonic of BLUE in the mix.
    The researchers also identified what seems to be a non-prejudiced version of RED – Impulsive – which indicates the importance of memes and schemas in the way the vMEME acts out and presents itself.
    In the 1950 publication, Adorno et al denied that there was any sense of hierarchy in their findings. Yet just a year later, Else Frenkel-Brunswik, Adorno’s chief collaborator on the project, was making it clear that there was a hierarchy in the types they had found, with the unpredjudiced demonstrating more complex thinking than the prejudiced.
  • Max Weber (1922), it is important to note, was describing observable behaviour as distinct from an underlying motivational cause of behaviour.
    Traditional Action appears to include elements of BEIGE survival-level behaviour.
  • William Moulton Marston (1928) had no hierarchical order to his behavioural types which were a mixture of temperamental traits and motivational factors (vMEMES).

The researchers shown in this chart are the ones whose work is more significant and influential and which most closely resembles the sequences found in the Gravesian approach. The map is based to a significant degree on the work of Bill Lee, the ‘Graves Archivist’. To view Bill’s expanded and more detailed pages comparing the Gravesian levels with the work of other developmental psychologists, including ones not represented here, please visit the Graves web site: Bill’s comparisons are themselves based on Graves’s (1978/2005) matches.


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2 Responses

  1. Jack says


    I honor, respect and appreciate your work as it helps me process so many aspects of Graves’work in its great depth and complexity.

    Thank you!

  2. Gernia says

    Very good, thanks for posting.