Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Invited Tutorial #33
CE Offered: None
2005 ABA Tutorial: Behavioral Economic Concepts for Understanding Health-Related Behavior
Sunday, May 29, 2005
2:30 PM–3:20 PM
International North (2nd floor)
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
None CE Offered. CE Instructor: Gregory Galbicka, Ph.D.
Chair: Gregory Galbicka (Sanofi Aventis)
Presenting Authors: : STEVEN R. HURSH (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine/SAIC)

The concepts of behavioral economics have proven useful for understanding the environmental control of overall levels of behavior for a variety of commodities, including, for example, reinforcement by food, water, drugs, and cigarettes. The general concepts will be summarized for application to the analysis of factors controlling overall consumption, overall response expenditure, and choice among different commodities. There has emerged a reliable mathematical expression that describes demand for various commodities and this basic demand law applies equally well to rats, monkeys, and human subjects. Behavioral economics provides a conceptual framework for understanding key factors that can contribute to reductions in consumption of illicit drugs and excessive consumption of other commodities and changes in choice behavior. When combined with an appreciation of the social and verbal dimensions of economic behavior, they provide a basis for generalization from laboratory and clinical studies to the development of novel behavioral therapies to reduce behaviors in excess and government policies to limit the illegal consumption of controlled substances.

STEVEN R. HURSH (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine/SAIC)
Dr. Steven R. Hursh has over thirty years experience as a researcher and is author of over 50 articles, book chapters and books. He is a former associate editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. His seminal article on economic concepts for the analysis of behavior is considered one of the most significant articles in the history of the journal. Dr. Hursh has been a key figure in the establishment of behavioral economics as a major conceptual area. His research papers have introduced into the behavioral vocabulary a number of “household terms” in behavioral psychology: open and closed economies, demand curves and demand elasticity, unit price, normalized demand, substitution and complementarity, Pmax, Omax, and an equation for demand and responding that has broad generality across species and reinforcers. His extensions to drug abuse and the framing of drug abuse policy have had a major impact on the research direction of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, which now funds a variety of studies on the behavioral economics of drug abuse. Dr. Hursh continues to make contributions as a consultant on research at three major university medical schools looking at behavioral economic processes with humans and non-human primates.



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