Behavioral Posology: A Novel Paradigm for Modeling the Healthy Limits of Behaviors

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John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
(c) 2023 The Author/s
CC BY 4.0
One of the challenges faced by behavioral scientists is the lack of modeling methodologies for accurately determining when a behavior becomes problematic. The authors propose “behavioral posology” as a novel modeling paradigm for quantifying the healthy limits of behaviors through the concept of behavioral dose. As an example of this paradigm, a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model of a hypothetical digital behavior is presented, based on opponent process theory. The generic model can be adapted to simulate Solomon and Corbit's model of affective dynamics from 1974, and the model predicts features of addiction such as hedonic allostasis, withdrawal, and apparent tolerance. A behavioral frequency response analysis (BFRA) of the model demonstrates how behavior repetition may result in a hormetic dose–response relationship that depends on the frequency of the behavior. The model can be experimentally validated using Ecological Momentary Assessment, allowing researchers to hypothesize, model, and test causal mechanisms for behavioral addictions. The potential for behavioral posology to be applied as a clinical support tool in psychological medicine is discussed, as this modeling framework may help to detect and limit behaviors being performed too frequently based on factors such as the person's moral beliefs.
Henry N, Pedersen M, Williams M, Donkin L. (2023). Behavioral Posology: A Novel Paradigm for Modeling the Healthy Limits of Behaviors. Advanced Theory and Simulations. 6. 9.