MURRAY, Tom (United States)

Title of contribution:

Complexity vs Simplicity in Ego Development

Summary of recent resrch on the STAGES developmet

Where & when:

Marbella II. (Shadow)
Sunday, May 31st, 2020
15:30 – 18:00

Toscana II.
Sunday, May 31st, 2020
11:30 – 13:30

Complexity vs Simplicity in Ego Development

Scientific studies of awakening and transpersonal development are hindered by inadequate and conflicting terms and models. I will present a framework, based on well-validated studies of ego development and human meaning-making wisdom, which coordinate the STAGES model with models of hierarchical complexity, and proposes to clarify some common puzzles in our understanding of what spiritual growth and awakening are. It integrates “ascending” and “descending” models of spiritual growth using a developmental model with two elements: “complexity capacity” and “spiritual clarity.” The first element draws on contemporary cognitive science and transpersonal psychology studies; while the second element draws on theories of shadow work, trauma recovery, and contemplative neuroscience. It supports a post- or trans-metaphysical understanding of spirituality.

Summary of recent resrch on the STAGES developmet

STAGES is a relatively new developmental model developed by Terri O’Fallon (in collaboration with Kim Barta), which extends the ego development model and assessment frameworks of Cook-Greuter and Loevinger. It adds additional stage levels and includes theory of four foundational drivers underpinning all stage transitions, which was inspired by Wilber’s quadrant model. In this presentation we will summarize a number of research studies of, and based upon, on the STAGES model that illustrate the models validity and usefulness. These studies include: a validation study showing that STAGES replicates Cook-Greuter’s model up through Construct Aware; a validation study showing inter-rater consistency over the entire range of levels; studies indicating the validity of using alternative sentence stems; Rasch analysis and longitudinal analysis showing the psychometric strength of the assessment; an analysis and critique of the Ogive cutoff model used in most sentence completions tests.

About Tom Murray:

Tom Murray is Chief Visionary and Instigator at Open Way Solutions LLC, which merges technology with integral developmental theory, and is also a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts School of Computer Science. He is an Associate Editor at Integral Review, is on the editorial review board of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, and has published articles on integral theory as it relates to a variety of topics. See

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