Habits—A Repeat Performance
Authors: Neal, David T.; Wood, Wendy; Quinn, Jeffrey M.
Source: Current Directions in Psychological Science, Volume 15, Number 4, August 2006 , pp. 198-202(5)
Habits are response dispositions that are activated automatically by the context cues that co-occurred with responses during past performance. Experience-sampling diary studies indicate that much of everyday action is characterized by habitual repetition. We consider various mechanisms that could underlie the habitual control of action, and we conclude that direct cuing and motivated contexts best account for the characteristic features of habit responding—in particular, for the rigid repetition of action that can be initiated without intention and that runs to completion with minimal conscious control. We explain the utility of contemporary habit research for issues central to psychology, especially for behavior prediction, behavior change, and self-regulation.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Duke University
Publication date: August 2006