experiment seeks to determine the extent to which perceptual
defense and readiness may demonstrate the dominant behavioral
characteristics associated with certain hypothesized Levels of
has suggested that one may view behavior change as a function of
an orderly progression within the nature of the mature human
being.1 This is, Graves offers the concept of progression of
change, or movement through Levels of Human Existence, as an
attempt to incorporate aspects of the behavioristic,
psychoanalytic, existential points of view into an enlarged
conception of manís nature.
this enlarged framework, Graves
maintains, one may comprehend more adequately change which occurs
in the behavioral and institutional world of man.
Graves points out that it has been assumed that, since the mature
human organism stabilizes for the greater part of his adult life
at one biological level, the psychological nature of man likewise
remains unchanging. Thus, continued attempt has been made to
discover those general psychological principles which explain
differences in the mature human being.
Graves states, one may question whether the mature psychological
man varies only quantitatively over the biologically mature years
of his life. Rather, one may suggest that manís psychology also
changes qualitatively, in an orderly, though complex, manner when
manís conditions of existence change. One may relate these
changes, moreover, to Goldsteinís observations that normal
behavior does not correspond to tension decrease but
to tension increases and expenditure, in which new states of
tension impel the organism to value new experiences and new
activities according to its emerged nature.2
Graves points out, one may view manís becoming as an emergent
organism-environmental complex, similar to the development of the
cognitive component of the child as described by Piaget. Using the
analogy of the computer, Graves suggests that the brain of the mature biological
organism is not a system in which the data processing aspects
change only quantitatively with time.
the Levels of Existence conception of manís nature, the mind, if
viewed as a computer, must be seen as a computer which changes its
programming in a regular and orderly way, as well as one which
changes and reorders the data in its memory bank. Thus the mind of
the mature human organism moves continuously to metamorphize a new
form or quality, each of which is contiguous with but
qualitatively different from the previous stage.
this conception of the human organism, Graves suggests, one may
incorporate certain aspects of Maslowís hierarchy of needs3,
Krechís concept of dynamic neurological systems4, and the
epigenetic concept, within an organismic and General Systems point
of view, to hypothesize that the psychology of the mature human
being tends to pass through a series of hierarchically ordered
levels of integration, or Levels of Human Existence.