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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Behavioral economics construes addiction as a pattern of pathological decisions favoring consumption of drugs versus healthy reinforcers. This chapter introduces basic behavioral-economic concepts and reviews results from operant laboratory studies, purchase task studies, and clinical studies that validate the concepts’ utility in addiction research. Research and theory about the economic significance of the delay to receipt of a chosen commodity (delay discounting) is reviewed. Additionally, research bearing on the validity of the competing neurobehavioral decision systems hypothesis, a neuroeconomic theory, is considered by drawing on a diversity of data including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fRMI) and genetic studies. This new theory proposes that addiction is due to hyperactive impulsive and hypoactive executive systems in the brain. Future directions for research and treatment are reviewed.

Keywords: Behavioral economics, delay discounting, neuroeconomics, choice, reinforcement

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