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excitatory–inhibitory processes

1. processes in which the transmission of neuronal signals is activated or inhibited by the effects of neurotransmitters on the postsynaptic membrane.

2. antagonistic functions of the nervous system defined by Ivan Pavlov.

3. the stimulation of the cortex and the subsequent facilitation of learning, memory, and action (excitatory processes) versus central nervous system processes that inhibit or interfere with perceptual, cognitive, and motor activities (inhibitory processes). Individuals with a predominance of inhibitory over excitatory processes are theorized to be predisposed to a higher degree of extraversion, whereas individuals with a predominance of excitatory over inhibitory processes are theorized to be predisposed to a higher degree of introversion. Introverted–extraverted behaviors are said to serve the function of modulating these excitation and inhibitory processes: That is, individuals who build up excitatory processes slowly and inhibitory processes quickly need to behave in an extraverted fashion to provide “excitement,” whereas introverts are already excited so they do not need to behave in an extraverted way to increase this excitability but tend instead to shy away from excitatory stimuli. [proposed by Hans Eysenck]

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Psychology term of the day

February 26th 2024

Cartesian self

Cartesian self

in the system of René Descartes, the knowing subject or ego. The Cartesian self is capable of one fundamental certainty because, even if all else is subject to doubt, one cannot seriously doubt that one is thinking, as to doubt is to think. Thus, Descartes concludes, cogito ergo sum (“I am thinking, therefore I exist”). From this position, Descartes argues that all ideas intuited by the self with the same clarity and distinctness as the cogito must be equally true; this enables the intuition of further indubitable truths, such as the existence of God and the external world. However, since the ideas clearest to the self are the contents of the mind, the notion of the Cartesian self has led to a radical dualism between the inner life of the mind (subjectivity) and the outer world of things (objectivity). It has also led to the idea that knowledge is necessarily subjective and has opened the question as to how the outer world, including other human beings, can be known except as an idea. See Cartesian dualism; egocentric predicament; solipsism.