[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 1960

The Experience of Time as a Determinant of Self-Control

Author Affiliations

Devon, Pa.
From the Devereux Foundation Institute for Research and Training.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;3(5):563-566. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.01710050113012

From a philologist's point of view, the verb "to inhibit" has a simple history and meaning. It derives from the Latin "in," which has the obvious meaning, and the Latin "habere" which means "to hold." Philologically, then, "to inhibit" means "to hold in."

Inhibition, as a generic term, can be used to describe several subcategories of behavior. Voluntarily exercised motoric, cognitive, and affective inhibition have all been studied (Meltzoff, Singer, and Korchin, 1953; Meltzoff and Levine, 1954; Singer et al., 1956; Meltzoff and Litwin, 1956). One point of view considers these subvarieties of inhibition as aspects of a general "ego delay function."

Time estimation and time conception have been related to various measures of inhibition and ego delay. Levine and Spivack (1959) demonstrated that the ability to forego immediate gratification for a more distant goal was related to the individual's breadth of conception of time.