This collection of original essays by members of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Substance Abuse and Habitual Behavior offers innovative perspectives on self-control over the use of habituating substances and related types of behavior. The authors review the powerful social-psychological influences of normative rules and interpersonal circumstances in developing individual capacities for self-control in, for example, the use of heroin. They also look at experimental contingencies under which animals engage in self-harming behavior; the induction of exaggerated consumption behavior, such as massive fluid drinking by laboratory rats; and studies of environmental and genetic influences on neurophysiological sensitivity to and preference for alcohol in laboratory mouse strains. The concluding chapter presents an unorthodox perspective on ways of self-governing the consumption of cigarettes and other substances, recognizing the peculiarities of the processes of human choice. In his introduction, volume editor Peter Levison contrasts the diverse approaches reflected in the book with the common-sense notion of self-control.
Table of Contents
About the Series -- Introduction -- Self-Control: The Role of Environmental and Self-Generated Cues -- Maintenance of Behavior by “Schedules”: An Unfamiliar Contributor to the Maintenance of the Abuse of Substances and the Like -- Excessive Behavior and Drug-Taking: Environmental Generation and Self-Control -- A Control System Approach to Alcohol Intake -- The Intimate Contest for Self-Command
Peter K. Levison, study director of the Committee on Substance Abuse and Habitual Behavior of the National Research Council, has primary research interests in the experimental analysis of behavior, especially the effects of drugs, psycho-therapy, and modifications in the environment. Currently he is a visiting research psychologist at the Walter Reed Institutes for Research. He is editor of several NRC reports on controlled-substance use and reduced tar and nicotine cigarettes.