Substitution and caloric regulation in a closed economy

Richard A. Bauman, Thomas G. Raslear, Steven R. Hursh, David Shurtleff, Laurence Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Three experiments were conducted to study the effect of an imperfect substitute for food on demand for food in a closed economy. In Experiments 1 and 2, rats pressed a lever for their entire daily food ration, and a fixed ratio of presses was required for each food pellet. In both experiments, the fixed ratio was held constant during a daily session but was increased between sessions. The fixed ratio was increased over a series of daily sessions once in the absence of concurrently available sucrose and again when sucrose pellets were freely available. For both series, increases in the fixed ratio reduced food intake, but body weight was reduced only in the no-sucrose condition. In the sucrose condition, body weight and total caloric intake (sucrose plus food) were relatively unaffected by increases in the fixed ratio. At all fixed ratios, food intake was proportionally reduced by the intake of sucrose. In Experiment 3, monkeys obtained food or saccharin by pressing keys; the fixed ratio of presses per food pellet was increased once when tap water was each monkey's only source of fluid, again when each monkey's water was sweetened with saccharin, and a third time when each monkey had concurrent access to the saccharin solution and plain water. Increases in the fixed ratio, but not the intake of the saccharin solution, reduced each monkey's food intake. Because neither rats' sucrose nor monkeys' saccharin intakes affected the slope of the respective demand curves for food, monkeys and rats increased their daily output of presses and thereby defended their daily intake of those complementary elements of food. However, sucrose reduced rats' food intake. The relative constancy of body weight and total caloric intake in the sucrose condition is consistent with the possibility that rats tended to regulate caloric intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)401-422
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Closed economy
  • Demand
  • Lever press
  • Monkeys
  • Rats
  • Regulation
  • Substitution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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