Scott Bristol's 'Values at Hand'.

Bands of Cognition

Summary: All phenomena is time dependent. Often different areas of science measure phenomena in different time frames or Bands of Cognition. A systemic theory of behavior and change needs to utilize a Unit of Measure that bridges and unifies the phenomena across these different time frames.

When discussing behavioral measurement and behavioral change we are immediately confronted with the question, “On which spatial-time dimension are we focusing?” Newell (1991) and Varela (1999) have recognized that different areas of science measure phenomena from different time frames. A systemic theory of behavioral measurement and behavioral change needs to span all four bands of cognition (Anderson,2002). The four Bands of Cognition as defined by Newell (1991,p.122) are used to present the Life Journey Map® methodology and its Unit of Measure as a systemic theory of values.

Bands of Cognition


10-4-10-2 seconds


10-1-101 seconds


102-104 seconds


105-107 seconds

Value Intent

Value Behavior

Value Discourse

Value Text

Word Preference Spontaneous Speech Problem Solving Dialogue Documentation
10-100 milliseconds

- EEG and AM patterns (Freeman,2000)

20-200 milliseconds 

- Brain 'readiness potential' preceding awareness (Libet,1999)

2-3 seconds

- Spontaneous speech utterances (Varela,1999).

- 'Utterances' or 'Speech Acts' are the fundamental unit of communications. (Bakhtin, 1952; Searle,1969)

10-90 minutes
- Business Meetings (Mintzberg,1973)
- Teaching (class)
- Therapy Session
- Movies
- Religious Text
- Institutional Policies
- Laws
- Dictionaries
- Books
- Speeches
- Movies
- Musical Recordings
Copyright 2002 by Scott Bristol

Unit of Measure

Values as states of intentionality manifest as words that commit us to a specific orientation toward what we are attending.  Searle defines the unit of linguistic communication as the issuance of the symbol or word or sentence in the performance of a speech act (Searle,1969) and he also asserts that the performance of a speech act is an expression of the corresponding intentional state (Searle,1983). Consequently, for values measurement, the assertive illocutionary speech act that demands word-to-world fit and that completes the ‘value statement’:  “ I value… (value definition)…”, is here defined as the cognitive unit of measurement that links the biological and cognitive bands of cognition.

In the Life Journey Map® measurement methodology the ‘value definition’ is comprised of three dictionary synonyms or phrases that covey an orientation or attitude toward being or acting in the world. One of the three synonyms is selected as the ‘value word’  (Bristol,2001a).  All three synonyms are referred to as the ‘value words’.

In what context or situation is one asked to imagine when ranking his or her values? The requested contextual frame is ‘self’. Making ‘self’ the contextual frame instead of an external situation accentuates the focus on internal or preconscious ‘states of intentionality’.

For example:

Contextual Frame: Self
Value Word: Honest
Value Words: Honest, truthful, candid
Value Definition: Being honest, truthful, and candid.
Value Statement: I value being honest, truthful, and candid.

This unit of measure lends itself to spanning all four bands of cognition. ‘Value statements’, as speech acts, are a measurable expression of behavior. The ‘value words’ that define and differentiate different ‘value statements’ predict or intend behavior.

Value Intent (Biological Level).  When the individual identifies with a ‘value statement’ they are identifying specific ‘value words’ that they have a preference or affinity towards. Word affinity or preference is one aspect of intentionality.

Value Behavior (Cognitive Level). In completing the Life Journey Map® values ranking process the individual is performing sub-vocal speech acts. The priority ‘value statements’ selected predict an observable ‘word-world fit’ in that the individual will use priority ‘value words’ more frequently in their spontaneous speech acts to orient and guide their behavior.

Value Discourse (Rational Level). In problem solving discourse individuals will seek others who use the same range of ‘value words’, assuring similarity of orientation and approach to addressing a given problem or situation. Using the same ‘value words’ in dialogue creates and defines the experience of ‘shared meaning’.

Value Text (Social Level). Written documents, especially those that carry an authoritative voice, will display a frequency of ‘value words’ proportional to the preferred orientation the individual or institution is advocating. Information perceived in this manner will have both a conscious and unconscious influence on behavior.

 Copyright 2002 by Scott Bristol