Inhibition, or inhibitory control, is the ability to keep from making a typical response in reaction to something in the environment and instead performing a behavior that is nonhabitual. It represents one aspect of executive functioning, a broad term for the skills used to regulate thoughts and behavior. Inhibition works with other aspects of executive functioning, such as cognitive flexibility and working memory, to manage complex cognitive processes.

Inability to inhibit cognitive responses leads to poor academic performance, and inhibition in early childhood can be a predictor of later health, income, and general well-being. Inhibition is multifaceted and can be observed differently in diverse contexts. Inhibition develops throughout the life span, with infants and children progressing in their abilities until adulthood and a decline in some ...

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