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J Exp Anal Behav. 1980 Sep;34(2):219-38.

Economic concepts for the analysis of behavior.

Abstract

A review of the relationship between schedule of reinforcement, response rate, and choice suggests that certain unifying concepts from economics can contribute to a more complete science of behavior. Four points are made: 1) a behavioral experiment is an economic system and its characteristics-open or closed-can strongly determine the results; 2) reinforcers can be distinguished by a functional property called elasticity; 3) reinforcers may interact as complements as well as substitutes; 4) no simple choice rule, such as strict matching, can account for all choice behavior.

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