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Then A Miracle OccursFocusing on Behavior in Social Psychological Theory and Research$
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Christopher R. Agnew, Donal E. Carlston, William G. Graziano, and Janice R. Kelly

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377798.001.0001

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Habit: From Overt Action to Mental Events

Habit: From Overt Action to Mental Events

(p.68) 5 Habit: From Overt Action to Mental Events
Then A Miracle Occurs

Bas Verplanken

Oxford University Press

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

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