Human Ecology

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 59–83

Modeling hunter-gatherer decision making: complementing optimal foraging theory

  • Steven J. Mithen

DOI: 10.1007/BF01047652

Cite this article as:
Mithen, S.J. Hum Ecol (1988) 17: 59. doi:10.1007/BF01047652


While optimal foraging theory has been of considerable value for understanding hunter-gatherer subsistence patterns, there is a need for a complementary approach to human foraging behavior which focuses on decision-making processes. Having made this argument, the paper proposes the type of modeling approach that should be developed, using decision making during encounter foraging as an example. This model concerns the individual decision maker attempting to improve his foraging efficiency, rather than maximize it, under the constraint of limited information and with conflicting goals. This is illustrated by applying it to the Valley Bisa hunters using computer simulation.

Key words

Optimal foraging theorydecision makingcomputer simulationValley Bisa

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Mithen
    • 1
  1. 1.Cambridge