Disinhibition can be defined as the inability to withhold a prepotent response or suppress an inappropriate or unwanted behavior. It can refer to the production of socially inappropriate comments and/or actions.
Inhibition has been a topic of study in the field of psychology and physiology since the nineteenth century. Early work on inhibition focused on trying to understand control of behavior and the interaction between structure and function. Many scholars were involved in shaping early ideas about inhibition, and the following are noteworthy contributors: Marshall Hall, Alexander Bain, Theodor Ribot, Ivan Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner.
Disinhibition can include a wide variety of behaviors, such as impulsivity (e.g., aggression, impatience, binge eating, gambling), risk taking, novelty or sensation seeking, carelessness, perseveration, acquired extroversion, nonplanning, a preference for smaller immediate rewards...
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
References and Readings
Barratt, E. S. (1985). Impulsiveness subtraits: Arousal and information processing. In J. T. Spence & C. E. Izard (Ed.), Motivation, emotion and personality (pp. 137–146). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers.
Barratt, E. S. (1994). Impulsiveness and aggression. In J. S. Monahan & H. J. Steadman (Ed.), Violence and mental disorder: Developments in risk assessment (pp. 61–79). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Burgess, P. W., Alderman, N., Evans, J., Emslie, H., & Wilson, B. A. (1998). The ecological validity of tests of executive function. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 4, 547–558.
Burgess, P. W., & Shallice, T. (1996). Response suppression, initiation and strategy use following frontal lobe lesions. Neuropsychologia, 34, 263–272.
Buss, A. H., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 452–459.
Cummings, J. L., Mega, M., Gray, K., Thompson-Rosenberg, J., Carusi, D. A., & Gornbein, J. (1994). The neuropsychiatric inventory: Comprehensive assessment of psychopathology in dementia. Neurology, 44, 2308–2314.
Delis, D. C., Kaplan, E., & Kramer, J. H. (2001). Delis-Kaplan executive function system: Examiner’s manual. San Antonio, TX: The Psychological Corporation.
Dickman, S. J. (1990). Functional and dysfunctional impulsivity: Personality and cognitive correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 95–102.
Eriksen, B. A., & Eriksen, C. W. (1974). Effect of noise letters upon the identification of a target letter in a nonsearch task. Perception & Psychophysics, 16, 143–149.
Eysenck, H. J. (1967). The biological basis of personality. Springfield: Charles C. Thomas.
Gray, J. A. (1972). The psychophysiological basis of introversion-extroversion: A modification of Eysenck’s theory. In V. D. Nebylitsyn & J. A. Gray (Ed.), The biological basis of individual behavior (pp. 182–205). San Diego: Academic Press.
Hallet, P. E. (1978). Primary and secondary saccades to goals defined by instructions. Vision Research, 18, 1279–1296.
Kertesz, A., Davidson, W., & Fox, H. (1997). Frontal Behavioral Inventory: Diagnostic Criteria for Frontal Lobe Dementia. The Canadian Journal of Neurological Science, 24, 29–36.
Kornblum, S., Hasbroucq, T., & Osman, A. (1990). Dimensional overlap: Cognitive basis for stimulus-response compatibility – A model and taxonomy. Psychological Review, 97, 253–270.
Logan, G. D., Cowan, W. B., & Davis, K. A. (1984). On the ability to inhibit simple and choice reaction time responses: A model and a method. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 10, 276–291.
Stout, J. C., Ready, R. E., Grace, J., Malloy, P. F., & Paulsen, J. S. (2003). Factor analysis of the frontal systems behavior scale (FrSBe). Assessment, 10, 79–85.
Stroop, J. R. (1935). Studies of interference in serial verbal reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 18, 643–662.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
About this entry
Cite this entry
Cahn-Weiner, D.A., Johnson, J.K. (2011). Disinhibition. In: Kreutzer, J.S., DeLuca, J., Caplan, B. (eds) Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1293
Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY
Print ISBN: 978-0-387-79947-6
Online ISBN: 978-0-387-79948-3