Document Detail

A cost-benefit analysis of demand for food.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  3209958     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Laboratory studies of consumer demand theory require assumptions regarding the definition of price in the absence of a medium of exchange (money). In this study we test the proposition that the fundamental dimension of price is a cost-benefit ratio expressed as the effort expended per unit of food value consumed. Using rats as subjects, we tested the generality of this "unit price" concept by varying four dimensions of price: fixed-ratio schedule, number of food pellets per fixed-ratio completion, probability of reinforcement, and response lever weight or effort. Two levels of the last three factors were combined in a 2 x 2 x 2 design giving eight groups. Each group was studied under a series of six FR schedules. Using the nominal values of all factors to determine unit price, we found that grams of food consumed plotted as a function of unit price followed a single demand curve. Similarly, total work output (responses x effort) conformed to a single function when plotted in terms of unit price. These observations provided a template for interpreting the effects of biological factors, such as brain lesions or drugs, that might alter the cost-benefit ratio.
S R Hursh; T G Raslear; D Shurtleff; R Bauman; L Simmons
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior     Volume:  50     ISSN:  0022-5002     ISO Abbreviation:  J Exp Anal Behav     Publication Date:  1988 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1989-02-23     Completed Date:  1989-02-23     Revised Date:  2010-09-09    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0203727     Medline TA:  J Exp Anal Behav     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  419-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
Division of Neuropsychiatry, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100.
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MeSH Terms
Appetitive Behavior*
Conditioning, Operant
Feeding Behavior
Probability Learning
Rats, Inbred Strains
Reinforcement Schedule*
Erratum In:
J Exp Anal Behav 1989 Sep;52(2):96

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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