Chapter

Habit: From Overt Action to Mental Events

Bas Verplanken

in Then A Miracle Occurs

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780195377798
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199864522 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377798.003.0005
Habit: From Overt Action to Mental Events

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In this chapter, the author makes the case both for the ubiquity of habitual behaviors and for their non-conscious nature. The author discusses a meta-analysis suggesting that past behavior is the dominant predictor of frequently performed behaviors, though intention is the dominant predictor of infrequent behaviors. This discussion helps to delineate some of the boundary conditions for different mediators of behavior covered in this section of this book. The author observes that habitual behaviors tend to be externally cued, formally recognizing that habit cannot be equated solely with past behavioral frequency, as the processes underlying that frequency also matter. Finally, the author discusses relationships among motivation, goals and habits, suggesting that higher-level aspects of behaviors (e.g., goals) can become habitual even when lower-level aspects (execution of the behavior) are not.

Keywords: behavior; behavioral frequency; goals; habit; mental events; social psychology

Chapter.  8639 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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