What We are Doing Now


Research Projects



Below are a variety of research projects that are being carried out, some by the Integral Research Center, others by affiliated researchers, partner research institutions, and independent researchers that IRC is pleased to promote.

The iTEACH Project: Integral Transformative Education Assessment for Curriculum research

In the Fall of 2009, the Integral Research Center launched an ambitious longitudinal study using methods from all eight zones of Integral Methodological Pluralism to assess the transformative effects of integral education. We are working with Theo Dawson and Zachary Stein of Developmental Testing Service and Susanne Cook-Greuter and Elliott Ingersoll of Cook-Greuter and Associates to help us with this exciting project.

Innovative programs both mainstream and alternative highlight the transformative nature of their educational programs. We in the Integral Theory at John F. Kennedy University (www.jfku.edu/integraltheory) share in these sentiments. However, we want to find out specifically, "In what ways do our students transform?" Do they, over the course of three years in our program, actually demonstrate vertical stage development (e.g., exiting Kegan's third order and stabilizing fourth order)? Or is it more of a horizontal development (e.g., increased access to emotional content)? And even if it is predominantly horizontal development, what aspects are developing? In short, we don't only want to tell everyone about how transformative this program is, we also want to demonstrate the exact ways it is transformative through empirical investigation. The results of this ongoing study are being used to improve the developmental potential of the curriculum; support students and faculty to engage a shared critical-sympathetic inquiry into the construction of psychological knowledge; and to participate, as a community, in a collaborative process of inquiry and action in service of optimal individual and collective learning, growth, and transformation.

More information on the iTEACH Project (updated October, 2010)

Preliminary Results (Fall 2009)

Joel Kreisberg, DC, MA (John F. Kennedy University): Integral Research into the Meaning of Healing  

An integral approach to medicine and healthcare includes both pathogenic and salutogenic (health creating) perspectives. What are the characteristics of healing? How do we understand healing from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person perspectives? This ongoing integral research project starts with the premise that meaning, (along with manageability and comprehensibility), is an essential attribute for healing, using a mixed methodological approach, to better understand the phenomenon of healing. [More details, PDF]

Gail Hochachka, MA (Drishti):

Case Studies on an Integral Approach to International Development
An Integral Research project on drawing on various lines of inquiry from six zones, to explore how the interior and exterior dimensions of change are engaged by international development organizations. Specifically, the central research question was: How is interiority integrated into international development approaches? With a secondary question: To what extent and how was Integral Theory used in this regard?
Developing Capacity and Community Well-being: Action Research on an Integral Capacity Development Approach in the Mapacho River Watershed, Peru
This research project inquires into what process-framework, including criteria and indicators, should be used to assess the effectiveness of integral capacity development. This type of research-based assessment is useful and necessary to anchor claims of effectiveness with actual quantitative and qualitative data. Drishti-Centre for Integral Action is partnering with a Canadian organization, One Sky, and a Peruvian organization, Asociación para la Conservación de la Cuena Amazonica (Amazon Conservation Association, or ACCA). ACCA and One Sky are currently working with an integral capacity building approach to improve effectiveness in Amazon rainforest conservation.

[More details on both of these projects]

Theo Dawson, Ph.D., and Zak Stein Ph.D.(c) (Developmental Testing Service)

The Developmental Testing Service is involved in a number of research projects that may be of interest to the integral community, including the aforementioned partnership with the IntegralResearchCenter to study the development of concepts central to integral theory.

  • Since 2002, we have been studying and documenting the life-span development of several skills important to leadership, including reflective judgment, evaluative reasoning about leadership, ethical reasoning, and managerial decision           making.
  • We are working with faculty at the University of Australia to develop and test a set of online assessments focused on social perspective taking in leadership contexts from a "self-in-relationships" viewpoint.
  • This fall, we will be working with Lynn Feldman, who is planning to use the LLRA (Lectical Leadership Reasoning Assessment) to evaluate student learning in her social activism course.
  • If funding is approved, this fall we will begin work on a longitudinal study with Dr. Mike Hogan, examining the growth of reflective judgment skills in college students.
  • We are helping Dr. Sharon Solloway with her mindfulness research by hosting the Solloway Mindfulness Survey, which is offered free of charge on our web site. We're building an interface that will allow teachers to use the SMS as an assessment of students' progress toward intentional attention.
  • Through DiscoTest.org, we are collaborating with several academics and teachers to conduct research into the development of science concepts, ethical reasoning, and reflective judgment in 4 to 18-year-olds, and translate findings into high quality developmental assessments focused on students' ability to reason with the ideas and concepts they learn in school.


Terri O'Fallon, Ph.D. (Pacific Integral):
Generating Transformative Change Research Project

This is our fifth year of providing an Integral program that develops leaders prepared to generate transformative change in human systems. In this program ten to twenty participants learn together in an 18-month program, a variety of integrated approaches that fit within the Integral Frame. In order to adequately equip our participants we feel it is relevant for them to experience a transformative change inside of a human system as they are learning about how to lead such a change. Thus part of our engagement is to do research which documents the changes that the participants and the cohorts make as they travel through the program. [More details]  

Research on Developmental Levels
Pacific Integral intends to begin a new research project to further refine the last two levels of development researched by Susanne Cook-Greuter, with her support. We are in the process of developing a website where the participants will be able to take the Leadership Map online anonymously, allowing the scorer to score all of stem 1 together, stem 2 together (etc) supporting the reduction of scorer bias. The intention is to do a grounded research project that will support the refinement of Construct Aware and Unitive levels of development.

Andre Marquis, Ph.D. (University of Rochester): Integral Psychotherapists' Treatment-Matching Decisions

Perhaps the most critical decision psychotherapists need to make in their everyday practice is which of the many available interventions and change processes they should use with a given patient; yet theoretically sound and empirically demonstrated guidelines to guide these decisions are often unavailable, which in turn reduces the effectiveness of the treatment and the future well-being of the patient.   The proposed project aims at addressing this problem by using new conceptual and practical tools offered by Integral Psychotherapy – a recent application of Wilber’s Integral Theory to the field of psychotherapy.  While integral psychotherapy has the potential to offer a comprehensive and theoretically-based approach to therapists’ treatment-matching decisions, no empirical research is available to date on how expert “integral” therapists actually use integral theory principles and tools to make these decisions, nor on the outcomes and, therefore, the effectiveness of these decisions. [Full abstract and research plan]

Elliott Ingersoll, Ph.D. (Cleveland State University):

Ego Development and Spiritual Maturity
This project is examining relationships between level of ego development and sub-scale patterns on the Spiritual Wellness Inventory -SWI  (Ingersoll, 1995). The Spiritual Wellness Inventory appears more to be a measure of spiritual maturity so we are seeking to confirm the curvinlinear relationship between conformity and ego identity in the responses to the SWI.

Ego Development and Clinical Estimates
This study is providing 30-minute tapes of counseling sessions with clients who have taken the SCTi to those trained by Susann Cook-Greuter in scoring the SCTi. The hypothesis is basically whether or not trained raters can accurately identify a client' s level of ego development by listening to the way they use language in these 30-minute clips from counseling sessions. If the raters can do this accurately, this will strengthen the notion that clinicians trained in ego development can "ballpark" or "guesstimate" a client's level of ego development by listening to them.

Ego Development and Public Safety Officers and Convicted Felons
This project is collecting norms on ego development and the NEO-FFI for candidates to 3 area police academies. These subjects will be followed longitudinally to see if any relationship exists between later ego identity and likelihood of promotion. The theory would predict that police officers with early conventional ego identity would be more likely to do things "by the book" and less likely to self-nominate for promotion in the field which requires "thinking on your feet." We are also collecting data from samples of convicted felons to get a sense of the variance in this population. We are beginning with two populations those convicted of violent felonies and those convicted of non-violent felonies.


Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D.: The Integral Cinema Project

The naturally comprehensive nature of cinematic media, its growing personal, cultural, and social pervasiveness and influence, and its increasing potential to induce altered states of consciousness and catalyze shifts in human development make an Integral approach to cinematic media potentially a powerful and valuable tool for Integral education, research, and the evolution of consciousness. Wilber notes the great and invaluable potential for the temporary transformation of consciousness through the process of embedding an integral vision into the cinema, and the subsequent evocation of that vision in the minds of the viewers. 

The Integral Cinema Project is a research, production, and educational initiative exploring the application of Integral Theory for cinematic media theory and practice. The mission and purpose of the Integral Cinema Project is to develop and test a comprehensive model for Integral cinematic media theory, development, production, and distribution, through a process of theory-building, the creation of a series of short cinematic experiments, and a full-length integrally-informed transmedia project with content delivered across feature, TV, web, mobile, and interactive platforms. This research endeavor will be documented in a digital video documentary, and the results disseminated through various publications, media, and educational workshops.

The estimated potential benefits for a comprehensive application of Integral Theory to cinematic media theory and practice include: The creation of more powerful and effective cinematic realities that could potentially induce transformative states of consciousness, and stimulate shifts in stages of human development and the evolution of consciousness; the capacity to establish more creatively fulfilling, healthy, efficient, and cost-effective production workflows; an increased ability to target and reach desired audiences; an enhanced aptitude for comprehending and navigating the rapidly evolving and convergent cinematic media environment; and the fostering of a greater understanding of the cinematic medium itself.

More information on the Integral Cinema Project.


Karen De Looze (Brussels Free University): Manifesting an Integral Anthropology.

This project investigates what the crucial challenges are that anthropology is facing today and how an ‘integral anthropology’ could help answer these. At the same time, with this project, we want to provide a place for anthropology in the inter- and transdisciplinary integral interactions that have emerged throughout the years. ‘Integral’ matures to an entirely new phase, once the results of its in-depth application in different research disciplines, that are likely to have led to ideas for refinement, are again brought into conversation. Anthropology, the study of the role of the human species in our world, the universe, and the cosmos, could contribute to and benefit from such an exchange as much as any other research field. Therefore, we aim to provide the first steps to build and integral perspective on and application of anthropology.



Integral Scholars Forum

The Integral Research Center supports a community of the adequate among graduate students and post-graduate academics interested in or doing Integral Research. If you are longing to have a group within which you can pose questions for theoretical clarification or discuss issues of methodology, data analysis, and research design, then join us online in the Integral Scholars Google Group (i.e., graduate students and researchers using an Integral approach in their work; inspired by Ken Wilber's AQAL model).