Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Dictionary of philosophy and psychology including many of the principal conceptions of ethics, logics, aesthetics ... and giving a terminology in English, French, German and Italian, vol. 1 [a-laws]
Baldwin, James Mark
of the same mental process. The judgments 
‘ this crow is black ’ and £ this crow is white ’ 
have a common starting-point and divergent 
continuation. It is divergent continuation 
from the same point which constitutes the 
conflict. Conflict arises only between con¬ 
nected processes—between processes which 
claim to occupy in some degree the same posi¬ 
tion in a system of relations. The ultimate 
explanation of conflict rests, therefore, in the 
ultimate theory of mental system as such. 
Theories which locate conflict in the direct 
incompatibility of mental images would, how¬ 
ever, deny this. Yet, except in cases of 
directly antagonistic processes, such as black- 
no-black, round-not-round, there would seem 
to be no intrinsic reason that such conflicts 
should take place. Theories which find the 
ground of conflict in the rival claims of dif¬ 
ferent elements in the same system are as 
varied as the theories of mental System (q. v.). 
Motor theories, however, have the evident 
advantage in the fact that channels of co¬ 
ordinated action are fewer than those of 
incidental stimulation ; the conflict of the 
stimulations may thus be due to their rival 
claim upon the motor channels (cf. Baldwin, 
Ment. Bevel, in the Child and the Race, 286, 
308 f., 322 f.; and Münsterberg, Grundzüge der 
Psychol., i. 534). 
Competition, on the contrary, occurs be¬ 
tween disconnected processes. It is due 
merely to the narrowness of consciousness, to 
the fact that mental activity in a given direc¬ 
tion more or less completely excludes activity 
in other directions. ‘ The typical instance is 
what we call distraction of mind, in which 
attention is solicited simultaneously by a 
plurality of objects so disconnected in their 
nature that they cannot be attended to to¬ 
gether’ (Stout, Analytic Psychol., i. 285). 
Both conflict and competition are illus¬ 
trated in hypnotic somnambulism. The 
attention is held upon one object to the ex¬ 
clusion of all possible competing objects ; and 
the objects of actual perception in the envi¬ 
ronment are inhibited by conflict with the 
suggestions of the hypnotizer. In many in¬ 
stances of the latter case only partial inhibi¬ 
tion takes place, and there is a partial adjust¬ 
ment of elements of objective reality with 
those of the suggested image. 
Literature : Binet, L’Inhibition dans les 
Phénomènes de Conscience, Rev. Philos., Aug., 
1890; A. Binet and Y. Henki, Les Actions 
d’Arrêt dans les Phénomènes de la Parole, 
Rev. Philos., Jan., 1894; Exneb, Entwurf 
z. ein. physiol. Erklärung d. psychischen 
Erscheinungen (1894); Baldwin, loc. cit.; 
Stout, loc. cit.; Oddi, L’Inibizione (1898); 
Colozza, Del potere di inibizione (1898); 
citations under Attention, and in Bibliog. 
G, 2, d. See also the following topic. 
Inhibition (nervous) : Ger. Hemmung, In¬ 
hibition ; Fr. arret, inhibition ; Ital. inibizione, 
arresto. Interference with the normal result 
of a nervous excitement by an opposing force. 
It differs from paralysis, in case of which the 
nervous action is prevented, while in case of 
inhibition it is overcome, diverted, or neutra¬ 
lized. The normal effect of a higher upon 
a lower centre of a series is the partial inhibi¬ 
tion of the lower. Reflexes may be inhibited 
voluntarily or by the strong stimulation of 
sensory nerves up to a certain point. 
The conception of inhibition is due to 
Brown-Séquard. Setschenow attempted to 
demonstrate a special centre for inhibition 
( lieber den Hemmungsmechanismus f. d. Reflex- 
thätigkeit im Gehirn des Frosches, 1863), 
but it is now conceded that inhibition is 
a general peculiarity of the interference of 
nervous activities, which tend to modify each 
other either by augmenting or repressing 
(inhibiting) each other. Physiologically, inhi¬ 
bition is a necessary condition in preserving 
the balance and tone of bodily function. The 
ganglion cells of the heart, for example, are 
constantly inhibited by the vagus nerve, and 
similar control is exercised over all other vital 
processes. As James says, ‘ we should all be 
cataleptics and never stop a muscular con¬ 
traction once begun, were it not that other 
processes simultaneously going on inhibit the 
contraction. Inhibition is therefore not an 
occasional accident ; it is an essential and 
unremitting element in our cerebral life.’ The 
exact nature of the process remains obscure. 
Cf. Summation. 
Literature : Bombarda, Les neurones, 
l’hypnose et l’inhibition, Rev. Neurol., No. 11 
(1897); Bkown-Séquakd, Faits nouveaux 
relatifs à la mise en jeu ou à l’arrêt (inhibi¬ 
tion) des propriétés motrices ou sensitives de 
diverses parties du centre cérébro-rachidien, 
Arch, de Physiol., 2e sér. vi (1879); Re¬ 
cherches expérimentales et cliniques sur l’in¬ 
hibition et la dynamogénie, application des 
connaissances fournies par ces recherches aux 
phénomènes principaux de l’hypnotisme, de 
l’extase et du transfert, Gaz. hebd. de Méd., 
2e sér. xix (1882); Inhibition de certaines 
puissances réflexes du bulbe rachidien et de 
N n 2 


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