The Role of Radical Behaviorism in the Explanation of Consumer Choice

Gordon R. Foxall, Cranfield Institute of Technology [Cranfield School of Management, Bedford, England.]
ABSTRACT - Insofar as the psychodynamic assumptions which currently dominate consumer research exclude alternative explanations they impede scientific progress. In line with Feyerabend's advocacy of the proliferation of tenaciously-held, incommensurable theories as essential to progress, this paper maintains that an important role of radical behaviorism in consumer research is the provision of a critical stance, a counterpoint to the prevailing paradigm. Radical behaviorism exposes the taken-for-granted assumptions that underpin current explanations and suggests an alternative interpretation based on different assumptions.
[ to cite ]:
Gordon R. Foxall (1986) ,"The Role of Radical Behaviorism in the Explanation of Consumer Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, eds. Richard J. Lutz, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 187-191.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 13, 1986      Pages 187-191


Gordon R. Foxall, Cranfield Institute of Technology [Cranfield School of Management, Bedford, England.]


Insofar as the psychodynamic assumptions which currently dominate consumer research exclude alternative explanations they impede scientific progress. In line with Feyerabend's advocacy of the proliferation of tenaciously-held, incommensurable theories as essential to progress, this paper maintains that an important role of radical behaviorism in consumer research is the provision of a critical stance, a counterpoint to the prevailing paradigm. Radical behaviorism exposes the taken-for-granted assumptions that underpin current explanations and suggests an alternative interpretation based on different assumptions.


The theory-ladenness of observation raises problems for theoretical and scientific progress (Peter and Olson 1983; Popper 1980). A theory ultimately has meaning and explanatory significance only within the paradigm wherein it is derived and there is no consensus on how theories belonging to separate paradigms might be compared or how competing paradigms can be comparatively evaluated (Borger and Cioffi 1970). Neither the view that paradigms are successively established (Kuhn 1970) nor the suggestion that research programs can be systematically compared (Lakatos 1970) appears appropriate for the social sciences. The approach to scientific progress adopted here owes more to the 'epistemological anarchy' of Feyerabend (1975). He argues that scientific progress depends on the deliberate proliferation of competing explanations, engendering an 'active interplay of tenaciously held views', forcing into open articulation the taken-for-granted assumptions which underlie conventional wisdoms, and thus stimulating critical comparison and debate. Contradictory, even incommensurable perspectives-are thus to be welcomed since the evidence required to test one may not be generated but for another. The alternative approach, in which one paradigm assumes a preeminent status, encourages adherence to fixed viewpoints and methodologies; it is inimical to progress because it restricts the scope of intellectual enterprise. The resulting 'anything goes' approach involves the purposeful development of novel explanations and the resuscitation of those which appear outmoded and even irrational. Complete knowledge requires that nothing be excluded.

This paper is intended to contribute to the progress of consumer theory by considering (i) an analysis of choice which accords explanatory power exclusively to environmental consequences of behavior, denying causative significance to intrapersonal events: radical behaviorism; and (ii) the relationship between that analysis and the prevailing paradigm for consumer research which derives principally from the cognitive psychology of human information processing. The focal point of recent interest in radical behaviorism's potential role in marketing has been the search for novel prescriptions for managerial action, notably the more effective exploitation of promotional stimuli based on operant conditioning principles. Whether radical behaviorism can play a significant role in improving managerial practice or modeling consumer choice remains an unanswered empirical question. Behavior modification through operant conditioning has been most demonstrable in small, manageable situations and with individuals - in therapeutic and training communities, for example. The manager or researcher has little control over purchase and consumption which are governed by many competing stimuli. The import of this paper is that radical behaviorism has much to offer the explanation, rather than the manipulation of consumer choice.


The prevailing approach to the explanation of consumer behavior may be characterized as teleological (in that its explananda are assumed to exhibit purpose and design) and psychodynamic (in that the predominant sources of explanation are found in antecedent mental events and processes). This stance assumes two types of concepts: those which relate to an observable realm of consumer behavior from which explananda are derived, and those which relate to an unobservable mental or conceptual realm of prebehavioral, intrapersonal events in terms of which the explicans is couched.

The comprehensive models of consumer choice are firmly founded on this duality, taking for granted that cognitive processes determine consumer choice. The explanation of consumer choice in terms of information processing and its outcomes extends beyond these models, however, and includes the near-ubiquitous assumption that cognitions and cognitive changes are inevitable precursors of behavior and behavioral change.

The philosophical stance offered by this psychodynamic paradigm is often uncritically accepted despite mounting contrary evidence. In the twenty years of comprehensive modeling which has formed the backbone of the paradigm, several intellectual challenges have arisen which might have led to a thorough reassessment of its fundamental assumptions. For instance: models have been extensively criticized, notably for their lacking correspondence rules necessary for empirical testing (Bagozzi 1984); where empirical testing has been possible, it has produced fragmentary and disappointingly weak support (Holbrook 1974); empirical investigations in social psychology generally as well as consumer research reveal low correlational consistency between measures of the central, prebehavioral components of those motels (attitudes, intentions) and overt choice (Foxall 1984); some research points unambiguously to the prior explanatory significance of behavioral measures over cognitive intermediaries (Fredericks and Dossett (1983); it has been persuasively argued that consumers make smaller and less rational use of information than the paradigm assumes and the whole notion of consumer decision making has been called into question (Olshavsky and Granbois 1976); the assumption that consumers are ego-involved while purchasing and consuming has also been queried (Krugman 1965); and sequences other than cognition-affect-conation have been shown to describe more accurately the consumer choice process (Ray 1973).

Some limited change has been accommodated within the paradigm but its assumptions have remained intact. Models have been revised without deviating from their basic philosophical stance and even the potentially subversive concept of low involvement consumer behavior has been integrated into the existing framework and explained in terms of cognitive mediation (Engel and Blackwell 1982). The possibility that low involvement might be represented as the direct result of environmental stimuli has been overlooked or ignored by modelers and textbook writers.

The dominant status of the paradigm is evident above all from its adherents' response to the intellectual challenge of alternative paradigms based on antithetical assumptions about the explanation of behavior, eg. radical behaviorism. Writers who have seriously employed this paradigm (e.g. Berry and Kunkel 1970) have been largely ignored.

Recent advocates of behavior-based perspectives (Nord and Peter 1980; Peter and Nord 1982; Rothschild and Gaidis 1981) have avoided commitment to radical behaviorism itself, opting for social learning theories (e.g. Bandura 1977) which admit cognitive mediation; their principal quest has, in any case, been for managerial prescriptions rather than explicative systems. Authors who have discussed radical behaviorism have distorted its character by failing to emphasize the rejection of mentalistic causation demanded by its philosophical stance: some consciously or unconsciously blend cognitive concepts such as needs and attitudes with their accounts of operant conditioning; some misdefine and confuse basic concepts such as negative reinforcement and punishment; some appear to think that operant behavior is under conscious control yet claim that radical behaviorism fails to consider internal states (see variously Engel and Blackwell 1982; Hawkins et al. 1983; Loudon and Della Bitta 1983; Markin and Narayana 1976; Nord and Peter 1980; Schiffman and Kanuk 1983).

This state of affairs constrains and impedes scientific advance which depends on paradigms responding to, rather than absorbing intellectual challenges. The psychodynamic paradigm which now provides the normal science component of consumer research avoids effective confrontation with alternative philosophies. The first stage in the constructive criticism of that paradigm is the clear statement of the nature of an alternative explanatory mode such as radical behaviorism.


The experimental analysis of behavior comprises three separable elements: operant conditioning (the influence of environmental factors on behavior); a single subject research strategy (which proceeds inductively through the intensive study of individuals); and a philosophical stance, radical behaviorism (which explains responses by reference to their contingent consequences) (Blackman 1983). Radical behaviorism thus presents a philosophical base which is antithetical to the psychodynamism of the prevailing paradigm and thus a standpoint from which the assumption of the current models of consumer behavior can be exposed and subjected to criticism in the manner suggested by Feyerabend. Social behaviorism (Bandura 1977) assumes the reciprocal determinism of individual and environment and is thus less parsimonious and more complex in its approach to explanation. Because it includes the cognitive mediation of behavior, social behaviorism does not provide so unambiguous a yardstick. Second, radical behaviorism has certain advantages over methodological behaviorism and the classical conditioning on which it rests experimentally. Radical behaviorism does not exclude intrapersonal events but reinterprets them as responses rather than as causes of behavior. It also makes central explanatory use of the concept of reinforcement and is thus of greater relevance than other behaviorisms to the analysis of consumer choice which is usefully explained in the marketing context by reference to its consequences.

Radical behaviorism proceeds from the assumption that once the environmental factors which affect the rate at which behavior occurs have been identified the behavior in question has been explained (Skinner 1950). Notions of intrapersonal causes may have provided useful 'mental way stations' before the establishment of a behavioral analysis, but the latter can now replace cognitive hypotheses with statements which link the performance of behavioral responses to their contingent consequences; as the contingencies investigated have become more complex they have taken over 'the explanatory functions previously assigned to personalities, states of mind, feelings, traits of character, purposes and intentions' (Skinner 1972, p.18). When the probability of a response's being repeated under similar conditions increases, its contingent consequences are termed 'reinforcers' and the response is known as an 'operant'. Reinforcement refers always to the strengthening of a response, i.e. to an increase in the probability of its being repeated. A contingent consequence which is followed by a decrease in the frequency of response is a 'punisher'. Operants and reinforcers/punishers are, therefore, defined in mutually dependent ways: responses are not operants unless their rate of emission is influenced by their consequences; and no event is a reinforcer or punisher unless it consistently affects the rate of emission of a preceding response. Since reinforcers/punishers are functionally related to operants in this way, it is incorrect to speak of them as having intrinsically rewarding, pleasant or painful properties.

The contingencies of reinforcement which provide the basis of radical behaviorist explanation comprise the behavior in question, the setting conditions or situation in which it occurs, and those of its consequences which affect the rate at which it is subsequently performed. Skinner (1953) defines a three term contingency in which the action of the reinforcing stimulus (Sr) is contingent on the emission of a response (R). Any element of a situation in the presence of which that response has previously been reinforced may come to signal the availability of reinforcement in future; such an element or setting condition is known as a discriminative stimulus (Sd). The individual performs the response only in its presence, discriminating behaviorally between situations in which it is present and others. The three term contingency, usually depicted as Sd + R + Sr, summarizes the paradigm.

It is important to emphasize that the explanation of behavior in terms of contingencies of reinforcement is distinct from that based on classical conditioning (McSweeney and Bierley 1984). In classical conditioning, the pairing of two antecedent stimuli results in each separately having the ability to elicit a given response, whereas previously only one did so. By contrast, in operant conditioning, 'Behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences' (Skinner 1972, p.18). More technically, the rate of emission of a response is explained in terms of reinforcement contingencies. While, within the radical behaviorist framework, behavior may be described as coming under stimulus control when responses are differentially reinforced in the presence of separate antecedent stimuli, the relationship between a discriminative stimulus and an operant does not involve automatic elicitation of reflex behavior as is the case in classical conditioning. Rather, the discriminative stimulus is represented as increasing the probability of an individual's emitting the operant. If the accompanying reinforcing stimulus is withdrawn, the response will cease (extinguish).

Because operant behavior is said to be emitted by the individual rather than elicited by a preceding stimulus, it is sometimes said to be 'voluntary' but (pace Nord and Peter 1980, p. 38) this does not imply that it is under conscious control. When the other variables which control behavior (notably succeeding reinforcers) are known, that behavior can be fully explained in terms of environmental factors. Like the involuntary behavior which is elicited in the course of classical conditioning, operant responses are externally controlled; in neither case is consciousness involved in the explanation of behavioral causation and the only difference is in the sort of external control assumed (Skinner 1953, p. 112). While radical behaviorism rejects explanation in terms of unobservables, it is not accurate to depict it as failing to consider (pace Nord and Peter 1980, p. 36) covert and private processes within the individual. It interprets feelings and sensations as aspects of the physical body, responses which are subject, like their publicly ascertainable and verifiable counterparts, to environmental control (Skinner 1974).

Some radical behaviorists have argued for a clearer statement of their paradigm. Terms such as 'discriminative stimulus' and 'punishment' are both emotive and open to misinterpretation (as attempts at delineating the paradigm in the marketing literature show only too well). Blackman (1980) introduces a less elaborate formulation of the three-term contingency: A:B:C, in which A=antecedent conditions (the setting in which behavior occurs), B= behavior, and C=consequences. Of greater importance than the simpler terminology is the novel relationship between behavior and consequences proposed. The colons denote a correlational relationship in each case, the first fully-supported in Skinner's (1953) statement, the second additional to it. The import of the second colon is to relax the assumption of automaticity found in most accounts of radical behaviorism.

Because operant responses and reinforcing/punishing stimuli are traditionally functionally defined, radical behaviorists have often been accused of circular reasoning in their explanations. Blackman points out that reinforcing or punishing consequences may follow behavior only occasionally or after delay; they may fail to reinforce behavior or decrease rather than increase its rate of emission. The formulation of reinforcement contingencies presented earlier in terms of Sd, R and Sr is simply a subset of Blackman's A:B:C, that in which the antecedent conditions act as discriminative stimuli and in which the consequences of behavior reinforce it. The import of this reasoning is to stress that behavior and its consequences are related in a correlative rather than contiguous way (Baum 1973).


Theory in Radical Behaviorism

Radical behaviorism does not avoid theory as long as it is couched in similar terms to those in which observations are described. But it denies emphatically that explanations of observed behavior in terms derived from another realm of discourse or understanding are necessary. It rules out mental, neural or conceptual explanations on two grounds. First, while apparently explaining observed behavior, they simply raise the necessity of explaining the neural or mental event in terms of which the explanation itself proceeds. Second, they encourage wasteful research since they are based upon 'explanatory fictional, mental events which are simply inferred from the behaviors they purport to explain, thereby precluding investigation of more directly available (environmental) determinants of action (Skinner 1950, 1963).

These general criticisms could well be applied by radical behaviorists to consumer research. The comprehensive models exclude the possibility of explaining behavior by direct reference to the effects of environmental factors: having accepted from the start the assumption that causation is mental, they apparently obviate the necessity of looking for other possible sources of influence. Such models are replete with abstract unobservables which, according to a behavioral analysis, add nothing to observation but simply redescribe it. Herein lies the danger of the prevailing paradigm and the source of its impediment to theoretical development. Once its psychodynamic assumption has been accepted, ready-made 'explanations' of any observed behavior can be effortlessly found in alleged intrapersonal causes conveniently inferred from the behavior itself. As Skinner (1963, p. 957) comments, 'It is too easy to say that someone does something "because he likes to do it", or that he does one think rather than another "because he has made a choice".

Consumer Decisions

Some of the implications of this perspective for explaining consumer choice are apparent from consideration of its treatment of two central building blocks of the comprehensive models, information and choice. Advertising and other persuasive/informative messages embody discriminative stimuli which signal the availability of reinforcement contingent upon the operant performance of specified purchase and consumption behaviors. Such discriminative stimuli take the form of rules, norms, promises, prompts and various additional verbal and nonverbal descriptions of contingencies. Although these antecedent stimuli exert partial control over behavior, the contingent consequences of operant responses are the principle source of behavioral control since, in their absence, the response will extinguish. Thus, the individual must have some tendency to behave in the advocated manner before the stimuli contained in the message can exert any control by marking the occasion for reinforcement. The individual's unique reinforcement history determines whether a message's discriminative stimuli signal reinforcing, punishing or neutral contingencies and, unless the appropriate behavioral discriminations have already been learned, advertising cannot alter behavior.

There is thus no need to posit unobservable mental processes to explain cons = r choice. In contrast to cognitive psychology in which the formation of attitudes and intentions is a necessary mechanism of prebehavioral choice, behaviorism has no place for concepts of underlying or true mental processes which consistently mediate verbal statements of attitude and intention as well as overt behavior. The problem of attitudinal-behavioral relationships thus disappears in a behavioral analysis: behaviors which belong to different classes, such as the consumer's verbal responses to an attitude questionnaire and his actual purchasing, will be consistent only when the contingencies applicable in each situation are functionally equivalent (DeFleur and Westie 1963).

Nor need choice itself be conceived as an outcome of internal cognitive deliberation or decision making. It is simply a behavior, the only way of acting in a given set of circumstances defined by the prevailing contingencies. Situations in which individuals report that they have to make choices are those in which several responses are equally probable. Since such situations are usually aversive, any behavior which is followed by the strengthening of one response or another is reinforced (Skinner 1974, p. 22-23). Freedom thus consists in the avoidance of aversive consequences (Skinner 1972).

Consumer Innovativeness

The radical behaviorist critique of psychodynamic approaches can be further illustrated by reference to Midgley and Dowling's (1978) conceptualization of consumer innovativeness. These authors argue that the various measures of consumer innovativeness and their apparent relationships to distinct definitions of this construct Robertson and Myers 1969; Summers 1971) indicate degrees of innovativeness: each extent of innovative behavior measured requires explanation in terms of successively more abstract constructions of a personality trait, 'innovativeness'. At the observational level, 'actualized innovativeness' is adequately represented by the idea of the relative time of adoption (Rogers 1983, p. 22). The adoption of several innovations within a product category (Robertson and Myers 1969) must be explained by a deeper and more abstract construct of innovativeness. Consumer innovation across several product fields (Summers 1971) necessitates a third, yet more abstract construct, 'innate innovativeness'.

Innate innovativeness is 'the degree to which an individual makes innovation decisions independently of the communicated experience of others', where 'decision-making' is an unobservable, a prebehavioral event not accessible to measurements of overt behavior, yet it is assumed to be possessed to a degree by all individuals.

As noted, radical behaviorism objects to theory of this kind on the grounds that it raises new problems of explanation which are usually not pursued and that it leads to wasteful research which ignores the controllable determinants of behavior. How is 'innate innovativeness' itself explained ? Midgley and Dowling (1978, p. 235) say only that it is 'plausible to view it as a function of a number of (yet to be specified) dimensions of the human personality'. Yet the belief that behavior has been explained by this device can easily direct attention from other interpretations, explicative variables and the environmental factors that control the extent of new product purchasing.

Radical behaviorism would draw attention to the external antecedents and consequences of consumer choice, the contingencies of reinforcement, rather than to conceptual traits of character. Complex innovative behavior does not suddenly appear. It is shaped as successive approximations to the terminal response of new product purchasing are differentially reinforced. A consumer who appears suddenly to purchase a wardrobe of fashionable clothes does not do so spontaneously but as the endpoint in a process in which increasingly similar behavior has been successively reinforced. The investigator would look for a pattern of responses (say, the purchase of fashionable shoes, a trend-setting suit, and so on), a pattern of antecedent discriminative stimuli and succeeding reinforcing stimuli, to explain and predict the purchase of new clothes.

Managers actively use shaping in order to increase the likelihood of a final response by such means as the distribution of free samples. Their expectation is that the consequences of usage will increase the probability of subsequent purchases. Initial purchase of newly-marketed products is also differentially reinforced by means of coupons, offers and other promotional deals; consumer behavior is thereby shaped, as the terminal response - purchase of the brand at the full retail price - becomes more likely. Complex behavior, which appears innovative to onlookers who are not familiar with the individual consumer's reinforcement history, may also be explained as the final link in a chain of reinforced responses which culminate in the observed response; the chain is created and maintained as discriminative stimuli come to function as conditioned reinforcers (Skinner 1953, p. 91; cf. Kazdin 1980. P. 39).

The endpoint of either shaping or chaining might be the purchase of one or more products in one range or more. The extent of purchasing can also be viewed in terms of the extent to which discriminative and reinforcing stimuli determine the generalization of responses. Studies of operant conditioning have drawn attention for several decades to the tendency for humans to discriminate and generalize in their behavior. A response may only ever be performed in the presence of a specific Sd (discrimination) as when an employee works hard only when his boss is there. Another response having been reinforced in the presence of one Sd may subsequently be performed in the presence of similar stimuli even though immediate reinforcement is not available (stimulus generalization): a child who is praised for singing by a teacher may do so in the presence of any adult. Sometimes several similar responses, one of which has been reinforced in the presence of an Sd, may be emitted when that stimulus is available (response generalization): a neighbor whose wave is returned may smile and chat when next we see him (Kazdin 1980).

The extent to which consumers' purchases of recently-launched products comes under stimulus control, and the circumstances in which discrimination and generalization occur with respect to such items is unknown and is likely to remain so as long as consumer researchers are satisfied that innovative behavior is explained by innate traits. How many consumers only buy specific new products from one store, or when a given person is present ? How often is a new product bought from a range of stores and what element of the buying situation is similar in each case ? Under what circumstances do consumers who have purchased a new product at a store return to talk about, try on or try out and/or buy similar new items ? In each case, what are the stimuli which control discrimination and generalization ? Only the adoption of an alternative perspective is likely to generate research which makes the environmental control of purchasing intelligible.

The adoption of that perspective offers other insights intO the interpretation of observed buyer behavior. The radical behaviorist analysis of consumer new product purchasing suggests a reevaluation of the concept of innovativeness. If the purchase of recently-launched products within and across product ranges can be explained in terms of the generalization of existing responses, the whole notion of innovative behavior is called into question. If 'new' patterns of purchasing consist in whole or part of existing behavioral elements, in what sense are they new Radical behaviorism tends to play down the whole idea of innovation because its explanation stresses the continuity which results from a relatively stable controlling environment. In the case of discontinuous products, novel responses may be learned accidentally in a process akin to that of the evolutionary development of the species (Skinner 1974, p. 114). But there is little discontinuity in practice. Most products permit trial in which the consequences of purchase and consumption become apparent before adoption or rejection occurs.

The analysis of new product purchasing in terms of its environmental consequences anchors the researcher's frame of reference more closely to observable behavior than does analysis in terms of inborn personality traits. The authors cited by Midgley and Dowling actually disconfirm the hypothesis that personality variables strongly influence purchase behavior and draw attention to the need to investigate situational influences. Midgley and Dowling's own quest for the situational factors that influence consumer behavior appears to have lost out to the attempt to explain innovation by reference to innovativeness.


The existence of a well-defined paradigm providing the normal component of scientific inquiry has had advantages for the development of consumer research. Yet the very success of the psychodynamic paradigm now threatens to impede theoretical progress. New bases of explanation are required which offer a standpoint from which to conduct a critique of the taken-for-granted assumptions on which psychodynamic explanation rests. Models derived within alternative paradigms should be amenable to the rigorous empirical testing which has often proved elusive in the case of the comprehensive models. It is important, therefore, that unobservables have greater empirical content than hitherto and that any core of theoretical assumption which cannot be directly subjected to empirical test should be logically evaluated by reference to competing explanations.

The most obvious contribution that radical behavioral analysis can make to the development of empirically-testable consumer theory stems from the relative closeness of its explanations to observed behavior. It promises to be a source of hypotheses which are amendable to relatively straightforward and unambiguous empirical test, e.g. with respect to the comparative efficacy of primary vs. secondary, and immediate vs. delayed reinforcers (Rothschild and Gaidis 1981). Its lesson is that theoretical development does not necessarily require high levels of abstraction: whatever unobservables are necessary for explanation should not be treated as immutable but so constructed as to allow their critical evaluation. Unobservables are a convenience to researchers and ought not to be used to reify currently-fashionable modes of explanation. If this is recognized, then radical behaviorism may provide a more direct route to understanding than paradigms which rely excessively on untestable hypothetical constructs.

The usefulness of radical behaviorism in consumer research depends, however, on researchers' capacity to recognize the totally different nature of its philosophical stance from that generally employed. In every instance in which cognitive and trait psychologists speak of changing behavior by acting on states of mind, the radical behaviorist speaks of changing the probabilities of action through the manipulation of reinforcement contingencies. As a result, many of the familiar analytical terms disappear and are replaced with concepts more closely related to observation (Skinner 1972, p. 94).

This is not to argue that radical behaviorism be pursued to the exclusion of other perspectives. First, like any way of seeing, radical behaviorism involves ways of not seeing; it rests like any paradigm, on an incomplete model of man. It offers explanation of a particular aspect of behavior, the rate at which responses are emitted; the extrapolation from simple to complex actions on which its explanations of human conduct often rely involves extensive theory-dependency and, therefore, limitation. Second, insofar as scientific progress requires a proliferation of competing views, other paradigms will undoubtedly be needed to express fully the diverse nature of consumer choice. Methodological and social behaviorism have a role here. Nor has the paper argued against psychodynamic explanation per se. Apparent human capacities - for self-consciousness, for verbalizing the attention given to contingencies of reinforcement, and for modifying those contingencies to produce specific behaviors - encourage teleological explanation.

But, while so much consumer research is marked by an uncritical psychologistic reasoning, based on the automatic assumption that overt behavior implies intrapersonal causation, it will be necessary to prescribe an antidote. Just as radical behaviorism has provided a counterpoint to the 'loose mentalism' sometimes apparent in general psychology (Valentine 1982), so it now offers to play a similarly constructive role in consumer research.


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