OF See Galtons Laws

INHIBITION, LAWS OF. The term inhibition has different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In general, inhibition is the restraining, repressing, preventing, decreasing, or prohibiting of any process or the process that brings about such restraining. In the context of physiology, inhibition is the partial or complete arrest of an already active function, especially of a muscular contraction; it is also that condition of a tissue or organ in which a function cannot be excited by the usual stimulus. In the area of psychoanalysis, inhibition refers to a mental condition that, through an opposing force, tends to check or prevent certain modes of expression, especially such as would expose to others the individual's thoughts or character (synonymous terms are repression and suppression). In the context of learning/memory, inhibition (or "interference") is the reduction in, or prevention of, a response due to the operation of some other process, such as retroactive inhibition or proactive inhibition (see interference theories of forgetting). The term central inhibition is used whenever the assumed inhibitory action is taking place within the central nervous system; cf., reciprocal inhibition, where inhibition is shown by antagonistic muscles when the neural message to one muscle to contract is accompanied by a relaxation of the other, resulting from an inhibition of its motor nerve cells; and reflex inhibition, which is the prevention of one reflex by a mutually incompatible one. The terms external inhibition and internal inhibition refer, respectively, to the inhibition of a conditioned response produced when a novel or irrelevant stimulus is presented along with the conditioned stimulus, and to the inhibition that depends on a conditioning process such as extinction (cf., I. Pavlov's inhibition of inhibition, or disinhibition, which refers to the removal of an inhibi tion by an extraneous stimulus). The term latent inhibition refers to inhibition that is established by nonreinforced exposure to a stimulus; for example, an animal learns not to attend to that stimulus so that when it is presented in a reinforcing situation, learning is inhibited; also called the stimulus preexposure effect. The terms reactive inhibition and inhibitory potential were used by C. L. Hull to refer, respectively, to the hypothesized inhibitory tendency that builds up as a result of effortful responding, and to the hypothesized state that results from the performance of a response that reflects the organism's tendency to inhibit the making of the response. Among his static laws of the reflex, B. F. Skinner describes the law of inhibition, where the strength of a reflex may be decreased through presentation of a second stimulus that has no other relation to the effector involved. The Wedensky inhibition principle/effect - named after the Russian physiologist Nikolai E. We-densky (1852-1922), refers to the situation where a critical frequency for stimulating a nerve in a nerve-muscle preparation is found, and at which rate the muscle responds with a very rapid series of twitches (e.g., 200 per sec.), whereas if the rate of stimulation is increased somewhat, the muscle responds with a single contraction followed by complete relaxation; this phenomenon is related to the theory of neuromuscular inhibition via its interference or "over-crowding" of nerve pulsations. Heymans' law of inhibition - named after the Dutch psychololgist Gerardus Hey-mans (1857-1930) who set up the first psychological laboratory in Holland, refers to visual stimulation where the threshold value of a given stimulus is increased proportionately to the intensity of the inhibitory stimulus, when an inhibitory stimulus is offered. The Ran-schburg inhibition effect - named after the Hungarian psychiatrist Paul Ranschburg (1870-1945), is the generalization that under tachistoscopic viewing conditions (i.e., where materials are presented only for a very brief exposure period) more individual stimuli can be recognized if all are different than if some are identical; that is, the effect refers to the inhibition among identical materials (cf., repetition effect - a special case of Ranschburg inhibition in serial recall of a string of items, where generally superior performance is observed when none of the items occurs more than once versus some items being repeated). See also FREUD'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; HULL'S LEARNING THEORY; INTERFERENCE THEORIES OF FORGETTING; PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING PRINCIPLES/LAWS/THEORIES; SKINNER'S DESCRIPTIVE BEHAVIOR/ OPERANT CONDITIONING THEORY; WOLPE'S THEORY/TECHNIQUE OF RECIPROCAL INHIBITION. REFERENCES

Zeitschrift fur Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane, 26, 305382.

Ranschburg, P. (1905). [Retroactive inhibition]. Jahrbucher fur Psychiatrie und Neurologie, 5, 560-578. Pavlov, I. (1927). Conditioned reflexes. New

York: Dover. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: Appleton-Century. Hull, C. L. (1943). Principles of behavior.

New York: Appleton-Century. Hull, C. L. (1952). A behavior system. New

Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Wolpe, J. (1958). Psychotherapy by reciprocal inhibition. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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