On inhibition/disinhibition in developmental psychopathology: views from cognitive and personality psychology and a working inhibition taxonomy

Psychol Bull. 2000 Mar;126(2):220-46. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.2.220.


Disinhibition is a common focus in psychopathology research. However, use of inhibition models often is piecemeal, lacking an overarching taxonomy of inhibitory processes. The author organizes key concepts and models pertaining to different kinds of inhibitory control from the cognitive and temperament/personality literatures. Within the rubrics of executive inhibitory processes, motivational inhibitory processes, and automatic attentional inhibition processes, 8 kinds of inhibition are distinguished. Three basic temperament traits may address key executive and motivational inhibitory processes. Future developmental psychopathology research should be based on a systematic conceptual taxonomy of the kinds of inhibitory function relevant to a given disorder. Such an approach can clarify which inhibition distinctions are correct and which inhibition deficits go with which disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Personality Development*
  • Psychopathology