Sentence Completion Test used for Greuter's Ego Development Model

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If you scroll down a bit, there's two links to one for Men and one for Women.

So technically this is the test used for Loevinger's model, which Greuter used as a jumping off point to develop her own model. This was owing to her feeling that Loevinger's model didn't do enough to distinguish and articulate the higher stages.

I've been reading through Cook-Greuter's dissertation, and it's been interesting getting a sense of the methodology used in the construction of one of these developmental Stage models.

The questions are designed to be open ended, with the idea being that the researchers can use the criteria they develop to tease out what the likely minimum level of ego development is for someone to articulate a particular response.

What the researchers expected to find is that awareness of the mind's role in constructing Reality increases as a person's ego develops towards the higher stages.

What's interesting about the methodology used here is that it shines a spotlight on how indispensable qualitative interpretation is to scientific models, something that's especially prevalent in the social sciences.

While unavoidable, it can also call in to question the criteria being used to draw up qualitatively distinct categories (would a team of researchers and subjects without a W.I.E.R.D. bias have arrived at the same results?).

Are these models better thought of in more philosophical terms as schema for thinking about an aspect Reality, similiar to how we might think of something like Hegelian Dialectics?

Obviously the use of developmental Stage models is huge in Integral communities (which I would consider to be, at least in part). So it behooves us to be critical about how the value and emphasis we place on Stage models.

Edited by DocWatts

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I had a thought along the lines of being critical of these theories that may not be more than tangentially relevant to your specific questions here, but I'll mention it anyway:

When it comes to complex phenomena like human behavior and cognition, trying to make clear-cut categories is almost always a problematic way to go about things, whether it be personality typologies (most notably MBTI) or structural stage theories (SD etc.). It's just the case that these things are multi-faceted and spectrumy; that they vary over times and situations, and that they don't come in discrete, pre-prepared or ready-made packets.

Now, there are certainly some aspects of the human organism that are more easily dichotomizable than others (e.g. monogenetic traits like male/female or blue/brown eyes), but when you look at broader categories like personality traits or thought patterns (which are largely polygenetic and environmentally determined), it's a different story.

To account for this understanding, this is the proposal: rather than "stabilizing at one stage" (or even a "center of gravity"), there simply exists developmental altitudes that are unlocked in a specific order. It's a bit like how you're not able to jump 1.5 feet up into the air before you jump 1 feet. Also, just because you're able to jump that high, that doesn't mean you're constantly hovering 1 foot above the ground. Also, maybe you're only able to get one leg above that height (or one aspect of yourself).

By doing this, you dial back some of the overly rigid aspects of categorization while still retaining the base structure or premise behind describing it that way and not another. Then it becomes up the particular model in question to lay out their own empirical data for how the categories actually behave, rather than smuggling it in a priori. That way you don't have to throw out all resemblance of predictive utility either (hence, it doesn't merely have to be a "schema", like you asked), but you just have to deliver the justifications for it on a case-by-case basis. In other words, if somebody is indeed able to successfully argue that you can be at one developmental stage, then so be it.

Now, I'm aware that certain theorists like Ken Wilber have already steered in the direction of addressing these points ("facets/lines of development"), but what I'm doing here is simply justifying why that is the correct impulse, and how it's not endemic to just the higher echelons of structural stage theory, but rather the entire field of social science (especially psychology), namely the basic insight that humans are largely not black and white.

Intrinsic joy is revealed in the marriage of meaning and being.

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@Carl-Richard Very well put, and I would say that in the broad strokes it captures much of my thinking in this topic as well.

Thinking back to when I was first learning about the Stage theories that are used in Integral communities, with a bit of distance it's easy to see how easy it is to misuse these theories, and to mistake the map for the territory.

Approaching this some years later from a broader perspective, I find the Stage models more useful if you hold on to them lightly, and are mindful of the map-territory distinction inherent to all conceptual models of Reality.

I see their utility primarily in providing a dialectical schema for framing the way one thinks about development, that can provide a loose roadmap for how one's meaning making apparatus (or their agent-arena relationship as John Vervaeke describes this) changes as one develops throughout life. 

Your analogy with developmental 'altitudes' is very apt way of putting it; one has to develop the capacity for rational thought (in the usual way that rationality is understood by most people) before one can develop the capacity for systems thinking, for instance. 

What also strikes me as a valid insight from Stage models more broadly is that there's a dialectic between differentiation and integration in the process of development, and that later stages or altitudes lead one towards various kinds of deconstruction.

Edited by DocWatts

I'm writing a philosophy book! Check it out at :

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