Saturday, February 26, 2011

Keith Rice - A Biological Basis for vMEMES?

Over at Keith Rice's site, Sociopsychologist, he lays out what feels to me like a preliminary look at finding neural correlates for the developmental values memes (vMEMES) in the Clare Graves, Beck & Cowan model of Spiral Dynamics.

Although it's a good first effort, there are only brain regions suggested and not specific structures. He hints at some better detail (in the work of Joseph LeDoux, for example), but he also derails his project by using Freud's concepts of id, ego, and superego - something most psychoanalytically trained folks don't even do these days.

I would propose that there is much to be gleaned from the work of interpersonal neurobiology (especially the brilliant work of Allan Schore, which is psychoanalytically based, in the neuroscience of attachment affect regulation [a major component of the development of the self]), especially regarding the more communal memes. Likewise, I suspect there is much to learn from the work of Antonio Damasio about how the "self" is created in the brain, and how that applies to the more individualistic memes. That is only for starters.

I would also look at work by Jaak Panksepp, Rodolfo LlinĂ¡s, Vilayanur S. Ramachandran, Merlin Donald, Gerald Edelman, Francisco Varela, Steven Rose, Michael Gazzaniga, Robert Sapolsky, and so many others. I would also look at people like Jerome Bruner, Geroge Lakoff, Kenneth Gergen, and other people working in language and interpersonal realms.

Anyway, here is the beginning of Rice's post.
A Biological Basis for vMEMES?

vMEMES, the motivational systems identified 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 work of what we call a ‘vMEME’ has to have a concomitant pattern of neurological activity.

So where is it? Or: where are they...the 8 vMEMES identified so far from the work of Clare W Graves, that is?

According to Spiral Dynamics co-developer Don Beck (Wright Foundation, 2009) a project has been launched with the Brain Research Laboratory at the University of Cologne to track the neurology of the vMEME systems. Until Cologne’s Brain Research Laboratory publish their findings, just how vMEMES operate in the brain will remain a mystery...or will it?

In fact, by some judicious mapping of existing neuroscience, it is possible to build a picture of how 1st Tier vMEMES might work in the brain. 2nd Tier systems appear to be decidedly more tricky.

1st Tier vMEMES and Sigmund Freud

In our quest to track how vMEMES might function neurologically, we need to consider the work of arguably the single most influential psychologist ever, Sigmund Freud. It is possible to create a rough match between Freud’s structure of the mind (based on observation and reflection) and that of Graves (based on arduous research).

Read the whole article.


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