Chapter 39 Addiction is not (only) in the brain:  Molar behavioral economic models of etiology and cessation of harmful substance use


This chapter summarizes the molar behavioral economic approach to studying harmful substance use and substance use disorder, a prevalent addictive behavior.

General features of behavioral economics as a scientific framework for understanding behavior in context are described, followed by consideration of measurement issues involved in translating basic behavioral economic research findings to human behavior. Human studies are then summarized that have established the utility of molar behavioral economics to understand key features of harmful substance use, including initiation and prevention, maintenance, and cessation of harmful use.

This body of translational work is robust across multiple levels of analysis and application and offers a compelling framework for understanding and changing harmful substance use. The perspective is compared and contrasted with the reductive brain disease model of addiction.


Samuel F. Acuff - ORCiD:

Jalie A. Tucker - ORCiD:

Rudy E. Vuchinich - ORCiD:

James G. Murphy - ORCiD:


Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction is available from: