Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Integrative Complexity: The Psychology of Being Open Minded, and how to Increase it.

Integrative Complexity: The Psychology of Being Open Minded, and how to Increase it.

Brief Summary of this Note

• Integrative Complexity is the Minds Ability to draw from many reservoirs of knowledge to create well rounded and balanced yet loose conclusions

• A lack of integrative complexity makes hasty, quick, and rigid conclusions which draw from a limited reservoir of knowledge

• Integrative complexity has basis in both biology and in consciousness

• Fear Decreases Integrative Complexity

• Because of emotions and feelings on particular topics, people tend to display varying levels of integrative complexity based on given topics.

• Ideas which are Taboo often Decreases integrative complexity

• We can increase our levels of integrative complexity on given topics by balancing our emotions with our thinking and remain open to new ideas and information.

• We can increase our levels of integrative complexity simply by decided to not come to a conclusion on topics we do not yet understand

• We can increase our integrative complexity by learning a topic from many different angles and balancing various knowledge to come up with well rounded and less rigid conclusions.

What is Integrative Complexity?

It seems that our world is quite diverse, diverse with many people who all have differing ideas and persuasions about the nature of reality. People tend to view the world based on how they have seen it, there would be no good reason to say the sky was blue unless it really was, a person who saw the sky as green might be declared as being insane or they might have something wrong with their eyes. But how do we integrate all of our perceived information and come up with ideas about how the world works? This is a complex question, one which cannot be solely answered in this note. Two factors are the minds we are using and the environments we have experienced. By minds “we are using” I pretty much mean the brains we have taken on in this lifetime, every brain is slightly different and acts as both a filter and generator of perceptions. So the interaction of our consciousness with our brain creates our “mind” which creates our view of reality, it is a complex phenomena.

My guess is that all brains are indeed somewhat different and that they can have a dramatic influence on how we think, perceive, behave etc. Some brains have an easy time “open minded” that is have great integrative complexity, while others seem to always see things as black and white. Why? Because some brains might be wired for seeing things as black and white and some may be wired for seeing this as integrated and open, interconnected with each other, which might allow for a person to be open minded and draw from many reservoirs of diverse knowledge to come to a conclusions. In essence this is what we are talking about, the ability for a mind to draw from many areas of knowledge and not make hasty discernment. I like to call this type of mind a “colorful mind” and a mind which sees things as rigid and isolated as a black and white or “monochromatic mind.”

Biology and Integrative Complexity

Let me first point out that if a person’s parents are the monochromatic mind type it does not necessarily mean that their children will be for two reasons, because they may have not inherited it or throughout their life they may choose to facilitate a colorful mind, indeed our own self choices are a big part of what makes us up. At the same time the brain type will be a definite influence a person into being more colorful or more monochromatic minded. Indeed the colorful mind is most likely highly interconnected neurologically. This can be both facilitated by genetics a person’s experiences. On the contrary a “monochromatic mind’s” parts are more like isolated “computers” instead of a highly synergistic integrated network. It is our minds ability to be highly integrated which separates us from our animal friends, they do not have nearly the same level of integrative complexity, this is likely the biggest factor in the difference between an animal’s brain and a human’s brain. In the human brain one single nerve cell, called a neuron, can be connected to up to 25,000 others!

Around 50,000 years ago something drastically changed in brain structure for humans while allowed them to shift from being “man the hunted” to “man the hunter.” This was the topic of discussion between Ralph Abraham, Terrance McKenna, and Rupert Sheldrake in their book Chaos, Creativity, and Cosmic Consciousness. So what happened to humans 50,000 years ago? Suddenly the brain changed from isolated segments to being very interconnected. The connection is due to the increased connection of neurons between areas of the brain via the corpus collosum, which is down the center of the brain; this area of the brain is filled with millions of neuronal axons which are connecting wires between neurons. Just why the brain made such an evolutionary quantum leap in develop nobody knows.

McKenna says it was natural and had something to do with the hallucinogenic mushrooms, Rupert Sheldrake says it has to do with morphogenetic fields and Ralph Abraham thinks that it was divine intervention. While nobody is sure how we made this evolutionary leap which seems to defy the slow process of evolution and take such a leap, which seems to happen often in the fossil record, we did make it and it created a dramatic increase in the functionality in humans.

(Please note that neuronal changes do not show up in the fossil recorded, this is speculation based on how humans began to behave differently based on anthropological evidence).

This was also the time when early spirituality arose and evolutionarily speaking, not long (30,000 years) later humans began to grow and herd their own food. In fact I would suggest that this integration allows for consciousness (as in soul, mind, etc) to perceive more of reality while inhabiting a body, otherwise consciousness would be rather veiled and confused, until it was discarnate again of course (this is my perspective at least). To speculate further what if this dramatic increase in interconnection allowed for a new type of consciousness to live on earth…. That is the human consciousness/soul.

Integrative Complexity and how it affects our World

We would not likely have the world we have without integrative complexity, both neurologically, sociality, academically, and in our consciousness. It allows us to see how politics will affect our children in school and how we could nuclear energy as a weapon or a source of energy. This is the real difference between our mind and an animal’s mind, ours is highly interconnected. It was once thought that the wrinkles on our brains cause our intelligence but this is not true, brain wrinkles have more to do with animal size than intelligence. Even intelligence in the sense we normally think about it is not necessarily what integrative complexity (or a colorful mind/open mind) is. Indeed a high IQ score does not merit a high IC score or vice versa. I would even argue that IC is more important than IQ in our society today.

Right now as a society everything seems very divided and scattered. There are many more ideologies in general now than ever. Their seem to be more types of culture and subculture than ever. Complexity seems to be on the increase but it doesn’t seem that integration is. I think that integration might be the key to saving our planet and possibly our race. Every other group seeing every other group as contenders for scarce resources facilitates an isolated view point for both (or all) parties involved. Actually, an analysis done by Porter and Suedfeld in 1981 found that integrative complexity dramatically drops during times of war and strife. Porter suggests that fear and strive restricts the “information flow” and facilitates narrow minded black and white this or that thinking.

It has also been found that extremely liberal or extremely conservative politicians are both low in integrative complexity. It has also been found that of the liberals and conservatives who are have very moderate political views have much higher levels of integrative complexity than extremists, it should also be noted that there is little difference in IC between moderate liberals and conservatives, not just in politics but abroad. This information should warn us that anyone who seems to take an extreme position is probably not integrating all of the facts or information regarding a matter, they’re view is likely created from a limited reservoir of information and they are unable to integrate, (or add color) to their thinking regarding the topic or position which they are extreme about, this could be for many reasons.

It is also shown that people have dramatically varying levels of integrative complexity regarding specific topics. On the topic of abortion a person may display very little integrative complexity, they may not attempt to integrate all possible information regarding this topic but when it comes to writing their history paper they can be display a high level of integrative complexity because it does not illicit strong emotions for them.

Integrative Complexity and Our Lives; Generating a “Colorful Mind”

The Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna created a philosophy to facilitate IC. He stated that most things which exist are both what they seem to be, not what they seem to be and both what they seem to be and not what they seem to be. This sounds complex but is quite simple. A lamp is a lamp, but is also not a lamp, but is also both a lamp and not a lamp. We can point at a lamp and say it’s a lamp but it is also all the parts that make up a lamp which none of which are solely a lamp. So we cannot say is a lamp, we cannot say it’s not a lamp either, get the picture? As Buddha put it “it lacks inherit existence. This thinking is also reflected in the famous Yin-Yang. Things are not black, they’re not white, but there not mixed, but they are highly connected and “unrigid.” This is what the Yin-Yang tells us.

IC is indeed throughout eastern philosophy, it is not necessarily throughout western philosophy, this is probably because one of the most influential fathers of western thought, Aristotal, created the “two fold logic;” that something is either this or that, that a statement is either wrong or right. In ultimate reality this is not how things truly are, this are not this rigid. Of course is a bull frog and not a horse but both are transient forms which will eventually disappear, but ultimate reality will always be.

To increase our level of IC we need to remember to keep our emotions calm and look at a topic from many perspectives before making hasty decisions which facilitate stubborn and rigid thinking. If we are to seek enlightenment personally and as a global society than we need to further or IC which facilitates knowledge, wisdom, and compassion, these qualities will lead us to enlightenment and out of fear.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Twin Telepathy; My Dream of a Nobel Prize Shattered

Twin Telepathy: My Dream of a Nobel Prize Shattered.

Let me start off by saying no I didnt think I was going to get a Nobel Prize but I had an Idea I wish I could have Researched! I am way to humble to think I would get a Nobel Prize.I am an undergraduate of psychology and I have read many psychologically related text books and will probably read many more. One of which was called Sketching the Outline: Dispositional Traits and the Prediction of Behavior. In chapter six of that text a shocking study was cited in depth, the infamous Minnesota Twins Reared Apart study. The studies goal was to differentiate what traits of an individual where genetic and which ones were environmental. The University of Minnesota gathered a group of about 350 sets of twins, most of which were reared apart and monozygotic (genetically identical, not all twins who look alike are genetically identical but most are). The evaluated the similarities of personality between the sets of twins, in fact the twins were not allowed to meet each other until they were evaluated separated.

The results; one set of twins both always had to walk into the ocean, or any large body of water backwards, one set refused discuss controversial topics, both of one set would not vote because they said they were not politically informed enough, and one pair of twins, both named Jim by their adoptive parents both became fire fighters, married a women named Betty, divorced her, and then married woman named Linda! That’s right both of them did all these things! These results are astonishing. Those that performed the study attributed these similarities to genetics and so do many other psychologists but I wasn’t so sure.

My text later cited a pie chart which illustrated the percentages of known factors of personality. It illustrated that 35% is from environment (what we experience), 40% is genetic, and that 20% is unknown. 20% unknown! So my question is how do we know to attribute these amazing similarities to genetics when there is probably at the very least a 20% margin of error. My hypothesis is altogether different.

I completely understand that genetics is a large factor for intelligence, how we look, what diseases we might face, I even believe that the “big five” personality dimensions, openness, conscientiousness, extroversion/introversion, agreeableness/stubbornness, neuroticism/level headedness, have genetic factors. But wait a sec, a firemen gene, a Linda gene, a Betty Gene, a name me Jim gene? That’s preposterous! Something about this conclusion sounds a extremely sketchy!

While reading my text I had this huge epiphany, what if these twins are so similar not because of genes but because of quantum entanglement, what if they are sharing information with each other through psychic means at a distance, i.e. telepathy! There has certainly been enough scientific research on things like clairvoyance and telepathy to say that it exists. This is well illustrated in Dr. Dean Radin’s book, an MIT graduate, The Conscious Universe: Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena.

My hypothesis is that there is most likely a positive correlation between telepathic connection between the twins and the strange similarities between twins reared apart! Due to their similarity in physical makeup they would theoretically have more quantum entanglement than other people. This would also theoretically allow them to communicate information at a distance and without normal sensory data extraordinarily easier. I even commented on Dean’s blog about this just last week but got no response.

I dreamed that one day I would be able to test my hypothesis until two nights ago when I was reading a book by the famous psychic researcher, former CIA remote viewer, and lazar developer, Dr. Russell Targ. In his book he stated that some of the most intriguing evidence for telepathy is from genetically identical twins! He goes on to mention a book called Twin Telepathy by Guy Playfield, which is here

I am a twin myself. I have a twin sister but she is not necessarily the same as I am we look different and have different interests. My younger sister and I have much more in common, we look a lot alike, we are both vegetarian, we both question things, we both enjoy and understand science and growing up we had a high degree of psychic abilities. At around the age of 8 (her) and 13 (me) we played a guess what objective I am thinking of game. The two rules were that it could not be in our field of vision and in no way could we hint at what is was. At least 60% of the time we could guess each others object. I have many firsthand experiences of psychic phenomena.

Because of this, I thought that I was the first one to recognize that these interesting qualities where likely not genetic and that they were evidence of something beyond our current understanding. I have searched Google Scholar and my university library database for studies on monozygotic twins and there psychic abilities. I found two papers and both had highly positive results but still this was only two studies and there would need to be studies done on twins reared apart to suggest that this was a factor in their similarities. Indeed the author of the book, Twin Telepathy, did many studies of psychic abilities on twins reared apart in the U.K. with highly positive results.

I thought that I had an original idea and that my idea would be strong evidence that psychic stuff (PSI) effects us on an everyday bases. If my idea could be verified than PSI would then be integrated into mainstream psychology, there would no longer be a parapsychology and a “normal” psychology, it would all be psychology. For this I would earn a Nobel Prize! It turns out someone has already done it and they are barely known. They haven’t even received a Pulitzer Prize let alone Nobel! My lesson; Big changes take time and your probably not the first person to realize something even if it’s not a mainstream idea quite yet. This will happen at their own pace.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Letter to my Class Mates Regarding the SOUL!

Hello Class,

In our text book The Basics of Biopsychology, the author John P. J. Pinel, makes the broad claim that the brain is all there is. He states this by saying

“as evidence has accumulated, it has become clear that there is no need to postulate of the existence of anything other than the brain to account for particularly complicated psychological experiences.”

I will like to tell you that this is not how ALL scientists and more specifically psychologist, psychiatrists, and neurologist think, to the contrary even some noble prize winners and launderettes such as John Eccles PhD., Mario Beauregard, PhD, Wilder Penfield M.D, Candace Pert M.D., Stuart Hameroff PhD, and Roger Penrose PhD, think to the contrary, that the human mind is something more than just the brain.

I am not posting this to down play the importance of the brain in the overall human experience, nor do I think that the author’s book is disqualified as an adequate teaching instrument of the human brain/mind. I post this because as future psychologist we need to understand the workings of the human mind from many angles and I believe there is many phenomena which cannot be explained by the brain alone, memory restoration and consciousness or two of them. But I will give you links to the experts so you can think critically about this controversial issue yourself, which I have invested a great deal of time, blood, sweet, and tears in understanding.

A ancient fable may shed some light on this situation. Three blind men all walked up to an elephant at the same time. One felt the tale and said it has to be a broom, the other felt the skin and said it has to be limestone, and the third felt the trunk and said it must be a tree. This is a great example of one of the human conditions; none of us can understand everything at one time. The neurologist may see the mind as the brain and nervous system, the psychologist may see it as the brain and a mind, and a spiritual sage such as a pastor or father etc. may see it only as spirit. Different types of “see-ers” see it differently and not everyone agrees that the mind is only the brain.

It sounds like a nice idea to see the brain as more than the mind but is there any real merit for this? In deed there is.

The text mentions Cartesian Dualism which is similar to later philosophical ideas regarding dualism from Descartes, Kant, and the likes. Dualism says “mind is mind and matter is matter.” By mind we are generally talked about spirit or soul, something that could survive physical death, though not even all dualist are sure that it happens that way. Many have said dualism (spirt and body) is irrelevant because only like can affect like, Karl Popper, who has written the most up to date version on the philosophy of science refuted this claim but suggesting, like can affect unlike, gravity can affect matter, and matter indeed affects gravity. Therefore if mind is like gravity, totally invisible accept for its affects than it can indeed interact with the brain.

The author fails to mention the more modern version dualism. Modern dualism suggests that the human has two minds, the brain mind and another type of mind which is similar to gravity (Soul mind, or spirit mind). And it works similarly to how a T.V. works, it comes through the T.V. as a wave and if the T.V. functions correctly than the images on the screen will be clear and concise. According to modern dualism the brain is like a T.V. and the soul or mind is like the signals going into the T.V. If a part is broken in the T.V. then it will not function correctly.

A video game is also another great analogy. The soul-mind plays the character on in the game and the character on the game has nowhere near the same function as the actually gamer itself. Most modern dualist postulate that when the mind (soul, spirit, consciousness) takes possession of the brain and body, it losses itself in the body mind and therefore becomes highly entangled with it and cannot remember anything that happened before the occasion of conjoining with the brain/body!

This is quite speculative indeed but there are many phenomena which suggest that this is the case.

If one looks at and understands neurology, psychology, and parapsychology (there are some highly credentialed scientists in this field which do follow the accepted rules of science), than they are more likely to come to this conclusion, that mind is more than just brain and nervous system.

Memory function;

It is well known that the brain plays an important role in memory function, if we do not get enough B12 (which is responsible for the growth of new neurons) than we tend to have a difficult time with short term memory. The amazing thing about memory is that if person losses a portion of their brain often times they are able to get back all function and memory affiliated with that part of the brain. There was once a study where baby chicks who where just born were taught a trick. The used special dyes to see just were the memory of how to perform this function was stored in their brains. The researchers then cut that portion of the brains out of the chicks. An astounding 60% were able to still perform the trick and a greater number were able to learn how again.

So if memory is ONLY stored in the brain than why do the memories come back after that portion of the brain is taken out?

Some suggest a redundancy of memory storage in the brain. If this is so that those areas should have been highlighted by the dyes as well!!!


Consciousness is somewhat of an umbrella term; it has many different meanings in different fields. What I am talking about is actual awareness in general, the ability to generate new thoughts (in essence free will or the appearance of it), and possibly even self awareness. The brain and neural networks, are a vast and intricate network of chemical-electrical sensitive capacitors. It is an expanded version a computer with many devices (such being the organs and endocrine system etc) or possibly a network of computers. Computers are not aware nor are they self aware, true they can perform functions very similar to cognitive functions but they are not self aware nor can they seem to generate new thoughts out of the blue, they are deterministic, the human mind seems un-deterministic. How does a cascade of firing capacitors create consciousness? If one looks into neurology than one will find there is a lot of debate, this is something that neurologist have not been able to get a grasp on.

What if they have not gotten a grasp on this because there is one more component to the human Psyche?

Noble laureate Sir John Eccles believes that it does.

“this extraordinary belief cannot be accommodated to the fact that only a minute amount of cortical activity finds expression in conscious experience.”

By “this” he means “monism” the idea that brain is responsible for the entire human experience. And what he is saying here is that there seems to be more data at a given time in the human experience, sights, sounds, smells, touch, then the brain seems to be processing at that same given time!

Wilder Penfield, A Nobel Prize WINNER! states;

“The patient’s mind, which is considering the situation in such an aloof and critical manner, can only be something quite apart from neuronal reflex action!”

He also states

“although the content of consciousness depends in large measure on neuronal activity, awareness itself does not!”

Wilder Penfield was a Nobel Prize Winner for his work in understanding epilepsy, he also states

“There is no area of gray matter, as far as my experience goes, in which local epileptic discharge brings to pass what could be called “mind action”…. There is no valid experience that either epileptic discharge or electrical stimulation can activate the mind.”

Penfield also had this to say on the last page of his book

“I worked as a scientist trying to prove that the brain accounted for the mind and demonstrating as many brain-mechanisms as possible hoping to show HOW the brain did so. In presenting this monograph I do not begin with a conclusion and I do not end by making a final and unalterable one. Instead, I reconsider the present-day neuro-physiological evidence on the basis of two hypotheses: (a) that man’s being consists of one fundamental element, and (b) that it actually consists of two. In the end I conclude that there is no good evidence, in spite of new methods, such as the employment of stimulating electrodes, the study of conscious patients, and the analysis of epileptic attacks, that the brain alone can carry out the work that the mind does. I conclude that it is easier to rationalize man’s being on the basis of two elements rather than on the basis of one.”

The author of our text is a highly credentialed person, however we ought to at least hear out what some of these Nobel Prize Winner and Laureate has to say regarding the brain-mind issue!

Modern Physics;

Everyone has heard of “quantum physics” but few people understanding it. Quantum Physics is incredibly dualist (Matter / Mind) in nature. Ask any quantum physicist and they will tell you something along the lines of “matter especially matter on the quantum scale exists in a state of probability until consciousness has a chance to few the measurements regarding that particular matter.” This is called the observer effect in modern physics (quantum physics) and it is best illustrated by the infamous double split experiment.

Here is a very understandable video regarding it.

Modern Parapsychology

While not all scientists would agree that this Parapsychology is a “science” there are some that are not “ghost hunters” and who run experiments rigorously in accepted modern scientific methods. One of them is MIT graduate Dr. Dean Radin;

He has done many experiments involving the relationship of mind and matter. Many of which show that mind can have an effect on matter. In one of these experiments 75 other researchers performed the same or similar experiments and have the positive results as well.


Much of this information you will have to look into a bit more yourself. There is sufficient data out there that dualism still needs to be taken as a serious hypothesis of the mind. There are some who like this idea and some who do not. In your own research you may find very emotional people on either side of the debate. You should know from experience that these people are probably less objective about the issue and more “belief” oriented. If you are interested and it serves you I hope that you too will look into these exciting field with an open mind. I would love to communicate with anyone further on these matters as long as they are not malicious or rhetorical in regards to the information, or the discussion of such information. In such a case I would ignore you. I hope to discuss this further with anyone who enjoys the topic.

Recommended Books and Links


Science and the Near Death Experience: How Consciousness Survives Death

By Chris Carter

The Scientific Evidence of the Afterlife

By Dr. Jeffery Long

The Conscious Universe

By Dr. Dean Radin

As well as the material written by the scientists throughout the post.

Web Sites

(International Near Death Studies, Inc)

This is a highly credential panel of researchers

Largest single effort to create a database of near death experience surveys.

Also check out the many articles related to this in our university library.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Heard a great story about Charles Manson's Son: Chuck Manson had a son by a women that he raped at a drug binged party. The son was adopted by loving parents who took good care of him. He knew he was adopted. Later in life, he desired to know who his real parents were. He got in touch with his adopted mother and he asked her who his real father was. Reluctantly, she told him. He is the son of Charles Manson. The son struggled with schizophrenia mildly in college. However, he was also much into Zen and meditated everyday and was a very spiritual person. This shows that biology is only predisposition and that the Spirit can overcome many challenges.I am sure that the adopted son was a highly evolved spirit but it goes to show that if through practice he can have an enlightened life, then anyone can improve their own life through spiritual practice.... Maybe we have the will and courage to remain on the path.