Quantitative Analysis of Behavior

Quantitative Analysis of Behavior

Quantitative Analysis of Behavior is the quantitative form of the experimental analysis of behavior. This has become the dominant scientific approach to behavior analysis. It represents behavioral research using quantitative models of behavior. The parameters in the models hopefully have theoretical meaning beyond being used to fit models to data. The field was founded by Richard Herrnstein (1961) when he proposed single-alternative equation from his description of choice in concurrent schedules of reinforcement Herrnstein (1970)introduced the Matching Law. The field is extremely integrative having integrated models from economics, zoology, philosophy, and other branches of psychology, especially Mathematical psychology of which it is a branch. The emphasis is on animal behavior and the continuity or discontinuity of humans and other animals. The field is represented by the Society for Quantitative Analysis of Behavior. Two major aspects of the field are Stimulus control and Reinforcement Control. Quantitative Analysis of Behavior addresses the following topics among others: Behavioral economics, Behavioral momentum, numbers, Connectionist systems or Neural networks, integration, Hyperbolic discounting, Foraging, Hunting, Errorless learning, Creativity, Learning, scatology, and the Rescorla-Wagner model, Matching law, Melioration, Scalar expectancy, Signal Detection, neural hysteresis, and reinforcement control. The field is a branch of Mathematical psychology, a branch of psychology from which it integrates models.


Herrnstein, R. J. (1961). Relative and absolute strength of response as a function of frequency of reinforcement. "Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior", "4", 267-272.

Herrnstein, R. J. (1970). On the law of effect. "Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 13": 243-266.

Influential People in Quantitative Analysis of Behavior

* William Estes
* John Gibbon
* Richard Herrnstein
* R. Duncan Luce
* John Anthony Nevin
* Howard Rachlin
* J. E. R. Staddon

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