a theory of foraging behavior stipulating the idea that natural selection has produced optimal plans for food selection and for choosing the right time to leave a specific patch to look for resources in other places. Several facets of it have been examined empirically using operant conditioning with varied schedules of reinforcement and degrees of reward.

OPTIMAL FORAGING THEORY: "In accordance with optimal foraging theory, humans and animals alike are innately equipped with the know-how required to find food for survival."