Contingency management and deliberative decision-making processes

Paul S. Regier, David Redish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Contingency management is an effective treatment for drug addiction. The current explanation for its success is rooted in alternative reinforcement theory. We suggest that alternative reinforcement theory is inadequate to explain the success of contingency management and produce a model based on demand curves that show how little the monetary rewards offered in this treatment would affect drug use. Instead, we offer an explanation of its success based on the concept that it accesses deliberative decision-making processes. We suggest that contingency management is effective because it offers a concrete and immediate alternative to using drugs, which engages deliberative processes, improves the ability of those deliberative processes to attend to non-drug options, and offsets more automatic action-selection systems. This theory makes explicit predictions that can be tested, suggests which users will be most helped by contingency management, and suggests improvements in its implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number76
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Regier and Redish.


  • Addiction
  • Addiction treatment
  • Contingency management
  • Decision-making
  • Deliberation
  • Impulsivity
  • Neuroeconomics


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