Inhibition at the neuronal level is a neuroscientific fact. But what is the status of the concept of inhibition at the level of cognition and behavior? Editors David S. Gorfein and Colin M. MacLeod have compiled a collection of chapters written by top researchers in psychology that bring this very question to light. Inhibition in Cognition thoroughly addresses the concept of inhibition and how it has developed over the past 20 years, including what consensus can be reached on its meaning.

Inhibitory processes have been postulated to explain decrements or changes in task performance in many domains of psychological research. Contributors from a variety of areas within psychology discuss where the concept has been used successfully, what criticisms can be applied to existing inhibitory explanations, and what alternative explanations to inhibitory processes exist.

This highly accessible volume is the first new book on cognitive inhibition in over 10 years. It covers the broad range of cognition, from attention and performance through memory and language, from development and aging through pathology and psychopathology. It is essential reading for those striving to better understand the nature of and interactions among the mechanisms responsible for executive control and implementation of real-time cognitive performance.

Table of Contents


Series Foreword



I. Introduction

  1. The Concept of Inhibition in Cognition
    —Colin M. MacLeod

II. Attention and Performance

  1. Inhibition of Task Sets
    —Ulrich Mayr
  2. Adventures in Inhibition: Plausibly, But Not Certifiably, Inhibitory Processes
    —Dale Dagenbach, Thomas H. Carr, David Menzer, Peter J. Duquette, Holly M. Chalk, Melinda Rupard, and Robert S. E. Hurley
  3. Mechanisms of Transfer-Inappropriate Processing
    —W. Trammell Neill

III. Memory and Language

  1. Theoretical Issues in Inhibition: Insights From Research on Human Memory
    —Michael C. Anderson and Benjamin J. Levy
  2. Saying No to Inhibition: The Encoding and Use of Words
    —David S. Gorfein and Vincent R. Brown
  3. Working Memory Capacity and Inhibition: Cognitive and Social Consequences
    —Thomas S. Redick, Richard P. Heitz, and Randall W. Engle

IV. Development and Aging

  1. Inhibitory Deficit Theory: Recent Developments in a "New View"
    —Cindy Lustig, Lynn Hasher, and Rose T. Zacks
  2. Aging and Inhibition Deficits: Where Are the Effects?
    —Deborah M. Burke and Gabrielle Osborne
  3. Interference Processes in Fuzzy-Trace Theory: Aging, Alzheimer's Disease, and Development
    —Valerie F. Reyna and Britain A. Mills

V. Pathology and Psychopathology

  1. Inhibition, Facilitation, and Attentional Control in Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type: The Role of Unifying Principles in Cognitive Theory Development
    —Mark E. Faust and David A. Balota
  2. Semantic Short-Term Memory Deficits and Resolution of Interference: A Case for Inhibition?
    —A. Cris Hamilton and Randi C. Martin
  3. Concepts of Inhibition and Developmental Psychopathology
    —Joel T. Nigg, Laurie Carr, Michelle Martel, and John M. Henderson

VI. Network Models

  1. Uses (and Abuses?) of Inhibition in Network Models
    —Daniel S. Levine and Vincent R. Brown

VII. Overview and Commentary

  1. Is It Time to Inhibit Inhibition? Lessons From a Decade of Research on the Place of Inhibitory Processes in Cognition
    —Thomas H. Carr

Author Index

Subject Index

About the Editors

Reviews & Awards

The contributors to this volume are broadly known for their expertise in the topic area. The type of debate presented here promotes the advancement of the field, and helps to unite researchers from distinctly different areas.
Applied Cognitive Psychology

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