GRAVES on ASSESSMENT
"A number of people have sought to develop
"tests" which would assess a person's position in the
level of Human Existence hierarchy. Some have had a limited
measure of success but some have reported that their efforts have
not been as successful as their interpretation of my words have
led them to hope.
It is my considered opinion that this problem has arisen for
one of two reasons: (1) The theory which follows in this book may
be wanting. That is always a possibility in work of this type. But
(2) this problem may arise because consumers of my words may fail
to comprehend what it is that one must assess, if the theory in
this book is to be put to the test of experiment and application.
With the case of the 27-year-old female and the 24-year-old
Hungarian refugee [referring to two written conceptions of the
mature adult personality in operation], I present the first
representation of what is central to assessment within the
emergent-cyclical theory of adult development. If you should be
disposed to develop assessment instruments, in order to test or
apply this theory, be certain you understand what is to be
Those who have tried to develop instruments have based them on
what people think, do or believe, which is not the proper base for
assessment devices. They should be based not on what the person
thinks but how s/he thinks, not on what people do or what they
believe but how they do what they do, and how they believe that
which they do believe."
[To test his theory, Dr. Graves used a tachistoscope to measure
the recognition time of subjects to certain words. These were
selected in his data gathering phase in the context of the
"So it was hypothesized that if one operationally defines
and designates certain existential states, as per above, a subject
whose thinking it thereby designated as representing a particular
state will recognize words representing the dominant thinking of
the state more quickly than the words representing other states.
The stimulus words used and ordered according to the four most
common states in our society are listed per state below."
© Copyright 1977, The Quetico Centre
and 1999, Linda Wiens with
Stimulus Words for Dr. Graves'
Chris Cowan, Natasha Todorovic, & Marian Graves
All Rights Reserved
Excerpted from Dr. Graves' manuscript to be published in 2001