Inhibitory Potential Principle


INITIAL VALUE(S), LAW OF. = Wilder's law of initial value(s). The Romanian-born Canadian/American pharmacist/neuropsychia-trist Joseph Wilder (1896-1993) originally formulated in 1931 the law of initial values (LIV) which is an empirical and statistical rule that may be stated as follows: the response to agents stimulating the function under investigation depends to a very large extent on the initial level of that function; if that level is low, there is a tendency to marked increase, and if the value is high, often there is a minimal or no increase, and often a paradoxical drop in the examined function; the exact opposite is true for inhibitory agents. In other terms, the LIV states that the response to the stimulus of a physiological function is almost always related to the initial level of intensity of that function where the higher the initial level, the lesser will be the sensitivity to a new stimulus. Essentially, the LIV is a completely general and positivistic assertion with two emphases: regarding the full range of a variable, there is a negative correlation between initial scores and change scores; and regarding only the extreme (high and low initial scores) of a variable, there is frequent occurrence of null reactions, or even paradoxical reactions. Thus, the LIV effectively points out that the reaction of the organism to a stimulus is not dependent solely on the nature and intensity of that stimulus. In 1958, Wilder reported that the LIV was widely known and taught in European medical schools about 25 years before it came to the attention of American researchers. The LIV has been applied to study of the autonomic concomitants of psychic processes (such as anxiety, hostility, depression, and emotion); to the areas of psycho-physics, somatopsychic and psychosomatic medicine; to study of blood pressure and heart beat before and after the administration of drugs such as adrenalin, atropine, and pilo-carpine; to study of Ivan Pavlov's theory of excitation-inhibition of the central nervous system, and Hans Eysenck's personality theory of introversion-extraversion. Even though the statistical aspects of the LIV were recognized in America, it was not until 1956 when J. I. Lacey published an important monograph on the issue that American psychophysiolo-gists began to take an interest in the LIV. Since that time, the LIV has been widely accepted and studied in psychophysiology, although some confusion still exists as to its importance and generality. Although the LIV has both statistical and psychophysiological aspects, many researchers today assert that the LIV belongs more exclusively to the domain of the psychophysiologist than to the statistician. See also REDINTEGRATION, PRINCIPLE/LAW OF. REFERENCES

Wilder, J. (1931). Das "ausgangswert-gesetz," ein unbeachtetes biologisches gesetz und seine bedeutung fur forschung und praxis. Zeitschrift fur die Gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 31, 317-338.

Lacey, J. I. (1956). The evaluation of autonomic responses: Toward a general solution. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 67, 123-164.

Wilder, J. (1957). The law of initial value in neurology and psychiatry. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders, 125, 73-86.

Wilder, J. (1958). Modern psychophysiololgy and the law of initial value. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 12, 199-221.

Block, J. D., & Bridger, W. H. (1962). The law of initial value in psychophysi-ology: A reformulation in terms of experimental and theoretical considerations. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 98, 12291241.

Wilder, J. (1962). Basimetric approach (law of initial value) to biological rhythms. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 98, 1211-1220.

Wilder, J. (1967). Stimulus and response: The law of initial value. Bristol, UK: Wright.

Heilizer, F. (1975). The law of initial values (LIV) in personality. Journal of General Psychology, 92, 273-290.

(1977). The problematic law of initial values: Theoretical discussion and empirical investigations. Zeitschrift fur Experimentelle und Angewandte Psychologie, 24, 463-491.

Campbell, M. E. (1981). Statistical procedures with the law of initial values. Journal of Psychology, 108, 85-101.

Berntson, G., Cacioppo, J., & Quigley, K. (1991). Autonomic determinism: The modes of autonomic control, the doctrine of autonomic space, and the laws of autonomic constraint. Psychological Review, 98, 459-487.

Geenen, R., & Van de Vijver, F. (1993). A simple test of the law of initial values. Psychophysiology, 30, 525530.

Jamieson, J. (1993). The law of initial values: Five factors or two? International Journal of Psychophysiology, 14, 233-239.


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