Behavioral economics is a recent popular topic. In brief, because we sometime do not behave based on economically rationale, the behavioral economics is studied based on such non-rational behavior. For example, dumping stocks and foreign currencies in decreasing current of these prices might be analyzed psychologically rather than economically. "Paradox of happiness" is very interested (1). It is a phenomenon that gross national (subjective) happiness is constant in spite of improvement in the quality of life (economic gains), which is observed in Japan and the other countries. Dr. Tsutsui in Osaka Univ. told in a chairman speech of the 2nd annual meeting of Association of Behavioral Economics and Finance "the paradox of happiness" might suggest that all economic activities are not in use because increases in economic gains do not bring happiness according to the paradox. However, he introduced a relative gain theory and an acclimation theory from the results that he critically studied the paradox of happiness. The former is the theory that a relative level of the gains is important to feel happiness rather than absolute level of the gains. The latter is the theory that we soon do not feel happiness when we have reached the purpose level of the gains and it is applicable for decreases in the gains. Such psychological studies for economy are behavioral economics.

 "Behavioral Sciences" is one of the articles in United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). I think from several blogs for USMLE by Japanese students in USA that it is a science to catch the troubles suffered by patients and study appropriate countermeasures to solve the problems and to change the patients' behaviors. Psychological problems will be appeared in behaviors and understanding meanings of his behaviors is an important step to determine a therapeutic policy. Changes of bad behaviors for health to good (behavioral change) are necessary for the therapy to lifestyle-related diseases (adult diseases). Effective approach to change behaviors is psychological one according to each stage of behavioral changes (2).

 Sciences to study human behaviors are necessary to know causes for phenomena in human societies and establish effective methods to change the societies.

 Many behaviors reflect psychological states. We laugh in a pleasant state, cry in a sad state, and change voices and facial expressions in an angry state. We can use and analyze "words" to express our mind states as well as behavioral observations for psychological studies in human. However, in animals the behavioral observation is a sole technique. The behavioral observations are also used to study brain activities in animals, intellectual activities such as learning and memory and perceptions of pain and taste sensation as well as mind states. I would like to introduce "Behavioral Pharmacology" which I have studied and worked for long time.

 Behavioral pharmacology is the science to study pharmacology by measurement behaviors in animals, especially rodents (rats and mice), and it is used to study brain sciences. Animal experiments are necessary for pharmacology to make clear mechanisms of actions and to develop novel effective drugs. Behavioral pharmacology has been developed for usable methods in evaluation of the drugs to affect brains because behavioral observation is effective for research in this field. For example, behavioral pharmacology is used to evaluate therapeutic drugs for psychological diseases such as anxiolytics, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. It is also used for screening and evaluation of therapeutic drugs to improve learning and memory for dementia, to suppress emesis which is a problem in anticancer chemotherapy. Furthermore, it is effective for screening and evaluation of analgesics and for studies of dependence by dependent drugs such as cocaine, morphine, and nicotine. Preference (like) and aversion (dislike) for objects such as foods (positive and negative reinforcing effects or rewarding effects) are also studied by behavioral pharmacology like studies on dependent drugs.

 I will introduce behavioral pharmacological methods for following articles.

  1. Anxiolytics (released on Nov. 2011)
  2. Antipsychotics (released on Nov. 2011)
  3. Antidepressants (released on Nov. 2011)
  4. Nootropics (Learning and Memory) (released on Nov. 2011)
  5. Analgesics (released on Nov. 2011)
  6. Nausea and Vomiting (Pica) (released on Nov. 2011)
  7. Dependence and Preference (released on Nov. 2011)
  8. Locomotion and Food Intake (released on Dec. 2011)
  9. Forced Exercise (released on Dec. 2011)
  10. Motor Dysfunction (released on Mar. 2012)New


  1. Yoshiro Tsutsui (2009) Journal of Behavioral Economics and Finance R2(2) Does economics of happiness improve traditional economics and social welfare? (summary in English and full in Japanese)
  2. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, e-health net "Transtheoretical model of health behavior change" (in Japanese)