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.

chapter |8 pages


ByPeter K. Levison

chapter 1|39 pages

Self-Control: The Role of Environmental and Self-Generated Cues

ByJudith Rodin, Deborah Maloff, Howard S. Becker

chapter 4|27 pages

A Control System Approach to Alcohol Intake

ByGerald E. McClearn

chapter 5|26 pages

The Intimate Contest for Self-Command

ByThomas C. Schelling