There is a misunderstanding about the meaning of behaviorism in recent discussions on the history of economics and psychology. This essay explores that “behaviorist myth” by highlighting the role of “control” as defined by behaviorists and contrasting their views against those of economists. It then uses “control as a viewpoint” from which to study the history of the two disciplines. It reveals why behaviorism did not meet consumer demand theory during the “ordinalist / revealed preferences revolution” of the 1930s (i.e., the behaviorist myth), despite common methodological references to Percy Bridgman's operationalism. Applying this new viewpoint, this essay also joins the general topic of this volume by exploring early American institutionalism and recent behavioral economics as specific instances in which psychology and economics meet (or do not).
Skip Nav Destination
December 1, 2016
Marina Bianchi Neil de Marchi
Research Article| December 01 2016
Behaviorism and Control in the History of Economics and Psychology
History of Political Economy (2016) 48 (suppl_1): 170–197.
José Edwards; Behaviorism and Control in the History of Economics and Psychology. History of Political Economy 1 December 2016; 48 (suppl_1): 170–197. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-3619262
Download citation file:
Don't already have an account? Register
You could not be signed in. Please check your email address / username and password and try again.
Could not validate captcha. Please try again.
Sign in via your InstitutionSign In