Vol. 5 No. 2 Dec 2009
The Coherent Heart: Heart–Brain Interactions, Psychophysiological Coherence, and the Emergence of System-Wide Order
Rollin McCraty, Mike Atkinson, Dana Tomasino, and Raymond Trevor Bradley
Abstract: Abstract: This article presents theory and research on the scientific study of emotion that emphasizes the importance of coherence as an optimal psychophysiological state. A dynamic systems view of the interrelations between psychological, cognitive and emotional systems and neural communication networks in the human organism provides a foundation for the view presented. These communication networks are examined from an information processing perspective and reveal a fundamental order in heart-brain interactions and a harmonious synchronization of physiological systems associated with positive emotions. The concept of coherence is drawn on to understand optimal functioning which is naturally reflected in the heart’s rhythmic patterns. Research is presented identifying various psychophysiological states linked to these patterns, with neurocardiological coherence emerging as having significant impacts on well being. These include psychophysiological as well as improved cognitive performance. From this, the central role of the heart is explored in terms of biochemical, biophysical and energetic interactions. Appendices provide further details and research on; psychophysiological functioning, reference previous research in this area, details on research linking coherence with optimal cognitive performance, heart brain synchronization and the energetic signature of the various psychophysiological modes.
Tags: Rollin McCraty, Mike Atkinson, Dana Tomasino, Raymond Trevor Bradley, Cognitive performance, coherence, emotion, heart rate variability, heart-brain interactions, neurocardiology, psychophysiological coherence, quantum holographic principles
The Ethics of Promoting and Assigning Adult Developmental Exercises: A Critical Analysis of the Immunity to Change Process
Abstract: The Immunity to Change (ITC) process devised by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey is promoted as an influential technique for creating individual and organizational change. A critical analysis of the ITC process applied in university settings and organizational contexts show that an unintended result is the unwillingness and inability of some participants to participate adequately. Significant theoretical and ethical implications arise in the interplay between three interrelated variables (a) the role and competence of the facilitator, (b) expectations and capabilities of the participants, and (c) the mental demands and assumptions of the process. The inquiry illustrate that the ITC process is probably built upon an implicit assumption that change into greater mental complexity is always good and right, and its inherent structure creates demands that can put participants “in over their heads.” The main conclusion is that developmentallyaware, ethical approaches to using transformational practices such as the ITC should meet at least three demands: they should be conducted as voluntary activities on the part of well-informed participants, they should integrate an adult developmental perspective into the process itself, and they should openly allow the possibility that it is theorganizations that may also need to change.
Reliability and Validity Tests of the Harthill Leadership Development Profile in the Context of Developmental Action Inquiry Theory, Practice and Method
William R. Torbert and Reut Livne-Tarandach
Abstract: In this paper, we describe how the Harthill Leadership Development Profile (LDP), a language-based instrument has evolved from Jane Loevinger’s Washington University Sentence Completion Test (WUSCT), and has been redesigned to assess and offer feedback about adults’ action logics in work or educational settings, in the context of Developmental Action Inquiry (DAI) theory, practice, and method (Torbert, 1972, 1976, 1987, 1991; Torbert & Associates, 2004). Next, we challenge a recent critique of the LDP as a soft measure unsupported by published, quantitative psychometric reliability and validity studies (Stein & Heikkinen,2009) and present both previously unpublished and previously published-but-not aggregated studies illustrating Harthill LDP as a well-calibrated measure of adult ego development. Because the DAI approach to social inquiry and social practice invites us all to interweave first-, second-, and third-person inquiry and everyday action, the validity studies reported tend to concern field-based experiments seeking to generate developmentally transforming change in adults, including the researchers and/or interventionists, as well as in the organizations in which they participate. In our conclusion, we briefly consider what a social science and a social practice based on the developmentally late action-logics will look like, once social science is recognized as embracing, not just 3rd-person empirical positivist research “on” subjects, but also 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-person research and action with co-participants in live settings.
Toward Integral Higher Education Study Programs in the European Higher Education Area: A Programmatic and Strategic View
Abstract: This essay somehow arbitrarily freezes my ongoing attempt to grasp the present situation and future possibilities of higher education courses, programs, institutions and initiatives that are inspired by integral and likeminded approaches. The focus in this essay is on the European Higher Education Area and its specifics, whereas some implicit or explicit comparisons with the USA are made. My reflections are triggered by the recurrent observation that in Europe there seems to be i) more demand than offer of integrally oriented higher education programs, ii) an imbalance between overused but little successful and underused but potentially more promising strategies to implement such programs, iii) little or no learning from past failures, and iv) little mutual awareness, communication and collaboration between different activists and initiatives in this field. The context for this essay is i) the current societal macroshift, ii) the unfolding of academic level integral and likeminded research worldwide, and iii) the large scale reform of the European Higher Education systems brought about by the Bologna process, its (false) promises and the potential it nevertheless has for realizing examples of a more integral higher education. On this basis the consequences for attempts to overcome a relatively stagnant state of affairs in Europe are discussed. Given that; most past attempts to implement programs inspired by an integral worldview have failed from the start, or disappeared after a relatively short period, or are marginalised or becoming remainstreamed, this essay aims to devise a potentially more promising strategic corridor and describes the contours of the results that could be brought about when following a developmental trajectory within this corridor. This futurising exercise is inspired by principles shared by many integral and likeminded approaches, especially the reconsideration, integration and transcendence of premodern, modern and postmodern structures and practices of higher education.
This essay is programmatic and thus deliberately combines facts and values, past and future, summaries of first person observations and third person factual information, without the burden of systematic referencing required by scholarly writing. It does not claim to replace empirical surveys which, however, are still lacking to date regarding the actual state of affairs of higher education inspired by integral and likeminded approaches in Europe. Accordingly, at this stage, the essay is an exercise of awareness-raising to stimulate more and better collaboration across streams, disciplines and countries between those scholars, students and activists who are already inspired by integral and likeminded approaches and interested or already engaged in developing and sustaining higher education programs according to a more integral spirit.
Tags: Higher Education, transformation, Markus Molz, Andragogy, European Higher Education Area, implementation, integral and likeminded approaches, knotworking, learning communities, macroshift, project-based learning, service learning, strategy, study programs, vocation
Donald F. Padelford
Abstract: It is hypothesized that hierarchically negentropic systems (defined herein), including organisms, are associated with partially non-local information/probability fields which, a) entail or express interiority, b) engender “entangled learning” with similar negentropic systems, and c) cause otherwise random processes, including mutation in biotic systems, to become somewhat non-random. These effects, which are believed to be driven by quantum interactions, modify those identified with the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. A series of tenets, or broad organizing principles, related to such systems and their associated fields, are enumerated. An empirical test which could potentially falsify certain aspects of the hypothesis is given.
Tags: consciousness, Falsification, Adaptive mutation, directed mutation, entanglement, entropy, evolution, information / probability fields, interiority, natural philosophy, negentropy, non-locality, non-random, reductionism, Donald F. Padelford
R. Scott Pochron
Abstract: The following paper chronicles the evolution of the author’s thinking on leadership through the course of his work experience. Leadership is viewed as a dynamical process involving both formal and informal roles. The process is initiated as an individual identifies opportunities and feels pulled to respond to emerging patterns and initiate action to enable positive change. The dynamics between formal and informal leadership structures and leadership as a state of mind are discussed.
Chad Stewart, Zach Smith and Norio Suzuki
Abstract: This article builds on a paper by Stein and Heikkinen (2009), and suggests ways to expand and improve our measurement of the quality of the developmental models, metrics and instruments and the results we get in collaborating with clients. We suggest that this dialogue needs to be about more than stage development measured by (even calibrated) stage development-focused, linguistic-based, developmental psychology metrics that produce lead indicators and are shown to be reliable and valid by psychometric qualities alone. The article first provides a brief overview of our background and biases, and an applied version of Ken Wilber’s Integral Operating System that has provided increased development, client satisfaction, and contribution to our communities measured by verifiable, tangible results (as well as intangible results such as increased ability to cope with complex surroundings, reduced stress and growth in developmental stages to better fit to the environment in which our clients were engaged at that time). It then addresses four key points raised by Stein and Heikkinen (need for quality control, defining and deciding on appropriate metrics, building a system to evaluate models and metrics, and clarifying and increasing the reliability and validity of the models and metrics we use) by providing initial concrete steps to:
• Adopt a systemic value-chain approach
• Measure results in addition to language
• Build on the evaluation system for instruments, models and metrics suggested by Stein & Heikkinen
• Clarify and improve the reliability and validity of the instruments, models and metrics we use.
We complete the article with an echoing call for the community of Applied Developmental Theory suggested by Ross (2008) and Stein and Heikkinen, a brief description of that community (from our perspective), and a table that builds on Table 2 proposed by Stein and Heikkinen.
Abstract: Quality-control efforts in the field of applied developmental psychology are just beginning. In this paper I set these efforts in a larger context to frame their significance and guide their direction. I argue that the challenges arising in the current post-national constellation are best understood as educational crises. The task demands of the global problem space increasingly outstrip available human capabilities. This situation is leading to a scramble for usable knowledge about education—defined broadly as any process intentionally undertaken to promote human development. There is a growing demand for techniques and technologies that catalyze the transformation of human capabilities; and this demand exceeds available supplies. Education becomes a growth market as specific types of human capabilities come to be recognized as scarce but valuable resources. This pressing global demand for innovative educational solutions and approaches has the potential to systematically distort the production of relevant usable knowledge. I present a set of general quality-control challenges that face the field of applied developmental psychology as it strives to meet the demands of a globalized crisis-ridden educational marketplace. I argue that the field should overcome temptations to circumvent peer review processes by going directly to consumers. I suggest adopting a general stance of epistemic humility so that research and collaboration are promoted and argumentative strategies that insulate approaches from criticism are avoided. Finally, I argue that more careful attention should be paid to the normative dimensions of educational enterprises, as they involve the creation of new values and raise ethical questions about the shape of what life ought to be like.