Creating Good Habits

(Adapted from Becoming Buoyant, 2020, Chapter 5)

Do you like popcorn? For the sake of argument let’s assume that you do. Not only do you like popcorn, you are also an avid cinema goer and like nothing more than a large tub of popcorn to enhance the experience. This is a routine that operates like clockwork and largely without full conscious awareness; you enter the cinema, buy your ticket and then immediately join the queue for the popcorn. You then take your seat and devour the entire lot while you watch the film. This routine constitutes a regular pattern of behaviour developed over time, in other words, it’s a habit.

Do you think you would still eat all the popcorn if it were stale? Stale popcorn isn’t exactly the most enticing cinema snack, it tastes slightly odd and has a weird squishy texture. This is the question Duke University psychologist David Neal and his colleagues asked, designing a rather entertaining study by which to answer it (Neal, Wood, Wu, & Kurlander, 2011). People entering a cinema were given either fresh or stale popcorn and asked to rate the taste when they came out. Not surprisingly, people rated the stale popcorn less favourably, but this wasn’t just a study about the taste of the popcorn. What the researchers were really interested in was whether the taste would have an impact of how much popcorn the filmgoers ate. It turned out the people with a strong popcorn eating habit ate the same amount of the snack even when it was stale, while those who only ate popcorn infrequently ate much less if it wasn’t fresh.

The simple act of going to the cinema is prompting already established habits to eat popcorn and it doesn’t matter what the popcorn tastes like. But perhaps it has nothing to do with the cinema at all and the participants just had a strong popcorn habit? Well, Neal and his colleagues had already thought of that. In a parallel study, they gave fresh and stale popcorn to people on their way to a meeting. When they arrived at the meeting they were shown some music videos. The purpose of this was to alter the environment and eliminate the ‘going to the cinema’ cue by creating a context where one wouldn’t normally eat popcorn. As predicted, participants ate less stale popcorn than those in the cinema condition, implying that it was the cinema that activated the popcorn eating behaviour.

Some habits, therefore, can derail our attempts to change our behaviour. If, like me, you tend to settle down in front of the television in the evening with a few biscuits or some other snack, eliminating this habit feels impossible. I turn on the television, make myself a cup of tea and instinctively grab a snack, and it matters little if I’ve skipped my evening meal or just consumed a huge bowl of pasta. Simply sitting down on the settee with a hot drink activates the urge to go for the chocolate Hobnobs.

Habits are curious things, so much so that sometimes we aren’t even aware of them and often we have to rely on other people to point them out. Even if we have had them pointed out to us, and even if those habits appear strange and totally without purpose, we’ll probably continue with them anyway. Which brings me to another curious thing about habits; they are incredibly difficult to break.

Habit Theory

A habit has been defined as a learned disposition to repeat past responses (Wood & Neal, 2007). This definition is based on the premise that daily actions tend to be patterned into sequences that are repeated at particular times in specific situations or locations, that is, habits are often triggered by cues in the environment. When we get into the car, one of the first things we do is fasten our seatbelt, it’s a habitual response, something we do without consciously thinking about it (what we technically call a cold cognitive association). If we don’t fasten our seatbelt it’s often because something has disrupted our normal routine and the habitual response has failed, perhaps we got into the car and the neighbour spoke to us or we realised it was bin day and had to exit the car to wheel the bin down the driveway. Driving is a good example when discussing habits, because it involves a pre-set sequence of events punctuated by actions that are unique to that particular journey. Indeed, driving to a familiar place (such as the morning journey to work) becomes so habitual that we often arrive at our destination having little memory of the journey itself.

If we consider the act of riding a bike we can see how habits are not only necessary, but also quite difficult to break. Most of us are used to the act of riding a bicycle and the repetitive actions required to stay upright, balanced and heading in the right direction. When we need to stop (perhaps because the traffic lights have turned red) the cyclist instinctively takes their dominant foot off the pedal and places it on the ground to steady themselves. This is a simple habitual task and requires very little thought, especially when the pedals are the simple flat type. Now consider the use of so-called clipless pedals. These type of pedals act in conjunction with special shoes that have cleats attached to the bottom. The cyclist clips the shoe into the pedal where it remains attached until it’s unclipped. Novice clipless cyclists then have to develop the habit of twisting their foot and ankle to release their foot. The problem is that our habitual response is to simply lift the foot off, rather than release it, sometimes resulting in the cyclist coming to a stop at traffic lights, instinctively lifting their foot, finding that it’s attached to the pedal, and toppling over, often to the bemusement of onlookers. The old habit overrides the new one and we have to consciously replace one with another.   

These habituated and repetitive behaviours occupy a substantial chunk of our daily lives, with some estimates suggesting that forty-five percent of all behaviours are repeated in the same location almost every day. Back in 1978 Phil Schoggen recorded children’s everyday activities in a small US town, noting the high degree of repetition in their daily activities, with the repetitive activities linked to specific environments (see Wood & Neal, 2007). Others have used a technique known as Experience Sampling (ESM) to gather information about habits on a daily and even hourly basis. If we think about our own daily activities; driving to work, preparing meals, attending meetings and so on, it’s likely we, too, will discover that a large proportion of the day is spent engaged in the behaviours that we did yesterday and the day before and the day before that.

School life is no different, in fact these routine behaviour are even more pronounced due to the structured nature of the school day. In many environments these behaviours are, to an extent, dictated; lunchtimes and working hours are imposed upon us rather than being something we have control over. This is why nurturing positive habits in the classroom is so useful; they may take a little time to ‘stick’ but once they have, these habitual responses mean that less cognitive effort is used for them and can, instead, be redirected towards learning.

But habits are also about motivation and choice and often we have little of either when the habit kicks in. Take, for example, the following:

2 + 2 =

Did the number 4 miraculously pop into your head without even having to think about it? Chances are it did because the equation triggers a cold cognitive association. We can’t help but automatically solve it. However, what about the following:

37 x 8 =

Depending on how skilled you are at mathematics, it’s highly unlikely that the answer will have popped into your head in the same way the number 4 did. This equation requires us to be suitably motivated enough to choose to tackle it. This may involve some mental arithmetic, jotting your workings down on a sheet of paper or reaching for the calculator. Whatever we choose to do, we have to think about it. This is one of the many advantages of memorising times tables – automating the process spares up much needed cognitive resources to concentrate on other things. It’s also a lot quicker. 

A Short History of Habits

The study of habits has its roots in behavioural psychology (although they were discussed in a more informal way long before the advent of what we now call psychology). The behaviourists, who dominated the psychological landscape during the first half of the twentieth century, linked habits with associative learning and what was known as stimulus-response associations. Inspired by the early work of Ivan Pavlov and his famous salivating dogs, behavioural psychology posited that all human and non-human action was learned from the environment through repetition. A pigeon, therefore, learned to associate the pressing of lever with the delivery of food, the more the bird pecked at the lever the more often the food would be released, encouraging the pigeon to continue pecking.

But habits are much more than these simple associations, a fact recognised by those who succeeded the behaviourists – the cognitivists (and, more recently, behavioural economists). Cognitive psychology views habits as involving deeper thought processes, habits as tools for future intentions, or the pursuit of goals. During the past decade or so, however, there has been a greater degree of interest in socio-cognitive models of habit formation that accept some aspects of the behavioural approach to habits, particularly the link to events in the wider world and in the past. Habits are therefore linked to cues in the environment but are also automatic expressions of our goals. They also involve wider dispositions that can both help and hinder, such as personality and self-concept. The interaction between habits and goals is complex but, from what is known, we can build a fairly robust explanation of how habits help us achieve our goals.

The Good and the Bad

Habits can both trigger, maintain and disrupt goal pursuit, mainly because not all habits are good habits – in fact, many are not, but also because some habits are left over from older goals that have now become redundant. Many will have experienced the difficulty faced when attempting to pursue a positive life goal but being sabotaged by those annoying habits. Perhaps we’ve decided to set a goal to eat a more healthy, balanced diet, yet we still reach for the double-chocolate muffin when we break for our morning coffee. We might well have started to eat more healthy food and have developed the habit of replacing the surgery cereal in the morning with porridge but the problem is that when we get to work, the environment in which we find ourselves triggers a cue that shouts muffin instead of banana. These are what we call environmentally cued habits, there is something about the specific place that activates the habit, like fastening the seatbelt when we get in the car or locking the front door when we leave the house. Technology has amplified many of these habits. Some surveys suggest that people in the UK check their phones on average 28 times a day, and I suspect this number is set to rise. Emails and social media; Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and all those other networks we use to keep in touch with people, counting our ‘likes’ and checking our notifications have led to the formation of these regularly triggered patterns of behaviour. Often the mere sight of our phone (or a stranger using theirs) can flick the switch and result in us absently reaching for our own. 

This is not to imply that all habits are bad. Many aspects of our lives are guided by these automatic responses; looking both ways before we cross a road or checking the rear-view mirror before we reverse out of our driveway; checking to see if that cyclist has squeezed in beside us as we prepare to turn left. Students have hopefully also developed good habits; remaining silent when the teacher is addressing the class, removing their books and equipment from their bags when they arrive. The most noticeable habit in a school environment is the response to ringing bells (for those schools who still use them). So habitual is this response that confusion often arises when the bell sounds at an unusual time.

Habits can, therefore, be both good and bad; they can also help and hinder goal pursuit or be activated in error. When patterns of behaviour become habitual they can sometimes be triggered at the wrong time. William James, one of the founders of psychology, once described entering his bedroom with the intention of changing for dinner (this was in the 1800s, when people did such things) only to find himself putting on his pyjamas and getting into bed. These errors are more common than people might think and I have often found myself taking my normal route to work or some other destination when I was intending to go a different way. These examples go to show how changing a habit, once formed, is so difficult.

Outsourcing Control

Contexts are important for the maintenance of habits. If I attend the same supermarket on the same day each week and my trolley is usually full of the same produce, this continual pattern of behaviour will become encoded into my long-term procedural memory. Eventually, my weekly shopping trip might become so habitual that I barely have to think about it at all, with my response being triggered the moment I set foot in the building. This is both a useful and problematic. It’s useful because I don’t have to expend too much cognitive effort to do the shopping, problematic because I might want to divert from my usual plan, perhaps by avoiding the biscuit aisle.

Supermarkets understand this all too well, often designing spaces to take into account our habitual responses. In the same way, students might enter your classroom in the manner in which they always enter it, perhaps even instinctively abiding by individual rules set by specific teachers, for example, lining up outside in the corridor and waiting in silence. Indeed, these habitual responses can just as easily be triggered by a specific person as they can a place. When, for example, a teacher has rearranged the furniture, these responses are disrupted and it’s often a little more difficult to settle the class or get them to carry out the tasks they usually do without thinking.

Psychologists describe this process of unconscious habits as the outsourcing of behavioural control. The outsourcing in question is to the contextual cues, that is, the person or the place. Automaticity spares up much needed cognitive resources and sets us on autopilot. This context cuing can arise in two forms, direct and motivated. In the former, the habit is activated due to the association between the cue and the response; the latter is activated because the habit has been triggered by a reward that has been tagged onto it. The pleasure of consuming the double-chocolate muffin would, therefore, act as reward, reinforcing the habit or, in a classroom setting, the habit leads to positive learning outcomes such as a higher grades on a test or praise from the teacher. Direct initiation of a habit is what we normally mean when we describe our behaviour as just a habit, with little awareness of why we carry it out.

Eliminating maladaptive habits

We can think of many habits as being bad or maladaptive, that is, they either serve no positive or useful purpose or they actively lead us away from our intended goals. Take, for example, a student who completes his or her homework every evening after dinner on the computer. The goal is to complete the homework to a high standard and the habit is cued by the time (after dinner) and the environment (in front of the computer). But there is an added maladaptive habit lurking beneath that is triggered by the computer; the checking of social media accounts, emails or checking YouTube for that band someone mentioned at school today. The goal hasn’t changed, but environmental cues have diverted goal pursuit; the student has become distracted. I’ve used the example of a student here, but if we are all being totally honest, we can also see these habits in ourselves.

The bad news is that there is no sure fire way of eliminating bad habits. Try as hard as we might, we still find ourselves putting the chocolate biscuits into the shopping trolley because it feels as if we have little control over our actions. We could avoid the biscuit aisle, but those sneaky supermarkets put the caramel digestives on the end, and how do you avoid that?

Habits and the pursuit of goals

Because behaviour can be viewed as goal-directed, habits can become the residue of past goal pursuit. This is just a rather overly technical way of saying that even once our goal has been achieved, the habit continues. For example, we might decide to take up cycling in order to reach a target weight. Once that target weight is met, however, we might continue cycling because it has become a habit and not doing it might even cause negative emotions such as guilt. Similarly, a student might develop habitual adaptive study habits in order to pass a test or some other kind of assessment, but once the test has been completed or the assessment handed in, these study habits continue. Obviously, this is the stage we need to reach, where good study habits become automatic or habitual. These study habits more often than not incorporate practical strategies that might be quite general (getting more organised) or more specific (using the principles of spacing, interleaving or retrieval practice).

How do we, therefore, consciously form a new habit? Let’s say I wish to learn a new language. To do this I need to allocate time. The habit I wish to develop, therefore, is time allocation to learn a new language. I first need to consider three elements.

Commitment: I need to commit to the goal I wish to pursue.

Consistency: I need to be consistent in working towards this goal at the allotted time.

Cues: I need something that will allow me to repeat this behaviour in the future; a trigger or a nudge.

I can choose to commit one hour each day in the pursuit of my goal. Furthermore, I will allocate the one hour between 5pm and 6pm and I will set an alarm to remind me. I’m also going to add a situational cue, at least during the habit formation stage. I will, therefore, always sit or stand at my desk when engaged in the activity. This preparation will then set in motion a habit loop that when acted upon each day should lead to eventual automaticity (see below).

How long the habit takes to become automatic very much depends on the kind of habit we are attempting to form, but there is no precise answer. We can’t, therefore, say that a habit will be learned after 7, 10 or even 100 repetitions because habit formation simply doesn’t appear to work like this.

Phillippa Lally and her co-researchers found that automaticity takes from 18 to 254 days, but the longer duration was mainly due to consistency issues (Lally, van Jaarsveld, Potts, & Wardle, 2010). They also found that repetition increased automaticity but followed what is called an asymptotic curve, that is, there comes a point at which further repetition makes little difference to the automaticity of the behaviour. The average time to plateau is around 66 days. The type of task can also impact time. Pleasurable habits form quicker than less pleasurable ones, so the length of time needed to form a habit to learn a new language will greatly depend on how much I like learning the language.

In Action

Changing, eliminating or nurturing habits can be difficult and often requires a high level of effort. As we have seen, however, developing adaptive habits can lead to many positives outcomes, including raising levels of wellbeing, higher levels of academic achievement and an increase in people’s ability to simply get things done. There are several strategies that have proved effective in both classroom environments and non-educational settings, including our personal lives.

Turn off autopilot

The most successful way to break bad habits is to remain mindful of them. This is what we call self-regulation of habits or increasing meta-awareness. We have attempted to do this by avoiding the biscuit aisle but that hasn’t worked out too well for us. Perhaps we could try sticking to the shopping list and focussing our attention on the items there? Or visualising how we might look and feel if we gave up biscuits altogether. Similarly, each time we pick up our phone to check our emails, we can ask ourselves, ‘why am I doing this? I’ve only just checked them.’ When we find ourselves about to activate the habit we focus on the behaviour, rather than away from it, and mentally tell ourselves to stop.

Becoming mindful of our everyday interactions allows us to identify habits, both bad and good. Some time ago I adopted a plant-based diet which forced me to pay more attention to things I bought in the supermarket and the food I consumed. In the process of doing so, I became more acutely aware of my unconscious habitual patterns of behaviour; reaching for items I didn’t need and consuming food I knew was unhealthy. I began to read labels to identify the ingredients, ensuring they didn’t contain powered milk products while others were checked for their protein, iron and sources of vitamin B12. I began to prepare more meals from scratch, and in the process became even more mindful of what I was consuming.

The same occurs when we encourage students to become more aware of the way they are engaging in academic study. Rather than simply going through the motions, students become aware of the process of learning (what is called meta-cognition) and develop more effective ways of monitoring their own progress, holding on to habits that work in their favour, while jettisoning those that are holding them back. This might be simply becoming aware of how often their own mind wanders or when they feel the urge to chat to their classmate. On a more sophisticated level, it might involve becoming more aware of effective study strategies, for example, stopping themselves when they began to re-read a text in preparation for an exam and instead deciding to engage in self-testing.

Effortful Inhibition

Suppressing habits is hard but there are practical ways to go about it. Effortful inhibition is all about self-control, the ability to alter and regulate behaviour in order to avoid undesirable actions. This requires a certain amount of meta-awareness, the stopping for a moment to examine what we have done or are about to do. Pauses are good and silences shouldn’t be awkward, they give us time to collect our thoughts, think about our behaviour and react in more constructive ways. I spend a great deal of time on social media, especially Twitter, and over the years I have developed the habit of pausing for a few moments before hitting that send button. I’ll read my tweet and think, ‘do I really want this to enter the public domain? Will it upset or embarrass others, make me appear unkind or have the potential to come back and bite me in the future?’

A less effortful way to inhibit those negative habits is to outsource them. This is particularly effective when we are trying to prevent triggering habits that are linked to technology, such as checking social media updates, texts or emails. If your habit involves checking your phone, for example, you can turn off all notifications so that you aren’t constantly glancing at the blank screen in the hope that someone has liked your recent Tweet. On a more serious note, notifications continually popping up on our phones does little for our anxiety levels and general wellbeing. A magazine editor I know uses an automated reply for emails, informing people that she only checks them twice a day and just because she hasn’t immediately replied, it doesn’t mean she’s ignoring your recent pitch. Many phones now have a function that stops all incoming calls, texts and notification when it senses you are driving.

Phones are certainly a hot topic in education at the moment and guaranteed to divide opinion. While some advocate a total ban on them in school, others argue that a school’s behaviour policy and wider guidelines should be enough to prevent them from becoming problematic. Phones on silent won’t prevent notifications and I have witnessed students strategically placing their devices in positions where they can keep an eye on them. This constant glancing over to check can impact attention. Bill Thornton and his co-researchers from the University of Southern Maine found that the ‘mere presence’ of a mobile phone can distract (Thornton, Faires, Robbins, & Rollins, 2014). All things to bear in mind when deciding how best to approach technology.

We can also use effortful inhibition to help students deal more successfully with their fear of failure, by making them more aware of their verbal responses. Students low in academic buoyancy tend to display high levels of fear of failure. We can identify such behaviours by identifying their attributional style. A familiar habit displayed by these students is to ruminate on tasks for which they have received disappointing results. This rumination becomes a habit, and we can observe this in their verbal and sometimes non-verbal responses, responses that might include:

‘I’m stupid/unintelligent/thick/etc.’

‘The teacher didn’t explain it properly’

‘The teacher hates me’

‘I hate this subject’

‘I’m going to fail everything’

These responses place the cause of failure (the attribution) both externally and globally of the student.

What our student needs is time to recognise the response and its habitual nature. Our student could simply inhibit the response but this is more likely to result in compliance rather than internalisation (our student still believes that he or she is stupid, it’s just not vocalised). However, this does give us time to replace this rumination with a more adaptive response in the form of questions. Positive responses might include:

‘Did I understand the task?’

‘Did I give myself enough time?’

‘Did a put in enough effort?’

‘How can I improve?’

As our student inhibits the maladaptive responses and repeats the adaptive ones, a new habit gradually forms. If this new habit then results in positive outcomes (higher grade on a essay or test, for example) and moves the student towards a goal (e.g. higher predicted end of year grade) then this new behaviour is reinforced through motivated activation, that is, success acts as a reward.

But there may also be more going on here, something that is specifically tied to academic achievement. Negative rumination, the constant verbal self-abuse, can also be a sign of learned helplessness, a symptom of depression. Certain so-called talking therapies encourage this same change to verbal responses in an attempt to encourage a more adaptive thinking style. Positive responses, once habitual, are often then applied to all situations, rather than the one they were specifically meant for, that is, we have been encouraged to change our global attributional style or the way in which we attribute the causes of what happens to us – rather then a setback being seen as something that is internal and unchangeable, it becomes something that is within our own control and, therefore, can be changed. In other words, it becomes easier to bounce back.

Replace one habit with another

Effortful inhibition is difficult and rarely successful in the long-term but, as we have seen, we can combine it with habit replacement. We will often return to bad habits if we have tried to curtail them and there is nothing to replace them, which is why certain behaviours (such as smoking) are difficult to break. However, Wood and Neal suggest that effortful inhibition does provide a window of opportunity to replace the maladaptive habit with a new more adaptive one. Habits take time to form, meaning that our old habit gradually morphs into a new one, so while we struggle to inhibit behaviour that leads to us grabbing that packet of biscuits, perhaps we, instead, reach out for a healthy alternative (or replacing an unhelpful response to a setback with a more useful one).

In a learning situation, teachers might discourage students from cramming for exams and to space their revision over a longer period of time. This requires much more than just replacing one habit (cramming) with a new adaptive one (distributed practice) and will, no doubt, involve more sophisticated types of time management and planning. One way would be to start early and initially allocate relatively short periods of time to different topics and setting nudges and environmental cues in place to support the behavioural change, such as studying at the same time every day and making sure that distractions are kept to a minimum. It also helps if students study in the same place each time. This last point can be difficult, especially in schools were space is in short supply and the same subject may be taught in different classrooms. Primary school pupils are perhaps at an advantage here because they have a classroom they can call their own and behavioural cues can be built into the environment more easily.

Habit pairing

Habit pairing involves taking two habits and combining them. This can be particularly helpful if we’re attempting to nurture a new habit. Perhaps someone wants to read more but is having problems simply finding the time, however, they always manage to find the time to sit down and have a cup of tea at 3.30 every day. By combining reading with tea drinking, we pair two habits into a single ‘cup of tea and a book’ habit – the tea habit then reinforces the new reading habit. Obviously, some habits may be incompatible (such as reading and watching television) so we must remain mindful about which habits we choose to pair. As a teachers, we can ask ourselves which habitual behaviours can be paired successfully.     

Commitment, Consistency and Cues

Telling other people about the commitment we have made to change a habit can both illicit help and support and make it less difficult to change our behaviour. Also, think about how the behaviour should be triggered. Cues might involve setting an alarm or engaging with the behaviour in a particular setting or with a friend. Good habits are easier to form if the wider environment encourages routine so think about, for example, what you need your students to do when they enter the classroom and reinforce this behaviour by nudging them in the right direction. We can also exploit existing habits, for example, one teacher I know realised that his class would often look at what was written on the board and ask, ‘is that for us?’ He then began writing a series of questions or prompts on the board as the class arrived, nudging the students to immediately prepare themselves for the lesson. This is not an unusual strategy, but viewing it in light of what we now understand about habit formation provides the impetus on which to build other nudges into lessons.

If/then statements

On a very basic level we can use the example of ‘If you have a question/then raise your hand’, thus also encouraging self-control or ‘If I raise my hand/then stop what you’re doing and face the front of the classroom.’ For older students, we might encourage them to think in terms of ‘If it’s 5 o’clock/then I will do my homework.’

Identify and reduce distractions

Spend some time observing your class and make a note of the things that are distracting them. Electronic devices are the most obvious but hopefully there will already be a consistent policy in place to deal with this. Students might be staring at classroom displays, watching people in the corridor or reacting to the behaviour of other students. Other considerations might include low level chatter, feet shuffling and similar minor distractions. How you, as the classroom teacher, deal with these will depend on how disruptive you feel they are and what kind of classroom environment you are comfortable with.

Reward good habits or suppress bad ones

If you decide to reward good habits, what form will the reward take? Praise is the most straightforward and can be surprisingly effective. Rewards are most effective if the aim is to reduce a bad habit rather than encourage a good one. 

Main Points

  • Habits are powerful tools but we must remain mindful that they can be both advantageous and detrimental to our goal pursuit (everything from academic success to general wellbeing).
  • Habits are also slow to form and must be repeated often if they are to provide us with maximum advantage.
  • Bad or maladaptive habits are difficult to eradicate but can provide an opportunity for new habit formation.
  • Remaining mindful of habits can help to identify those that are useful and inhibiting those that are not.
  • The main advantage of habit formation is that habits aid in the pursuit of goals, which in turn helps students to bounce back when things don’t go according to plan.
  • Once habits are formed we don’t need to think about them too much, which spares up cognitive capacity and reduces anxiety while increasing levels of general wellbeing.
  • In the classroom, useful habits can be encouraged through the nurturing of everyday routines that create a positive and productive environment.


Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C. H. M., Potts, H. W. W., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998–1009.

Neal, D. T., Wood, W., Wu, M., & Kurlander, D. (2011). The pull of the past: When do habits persist despite conflict with motives? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37(11), 1428–1437.

Thornton, B., Faires, A., Robbins, M., & Rollins, E. (2014). The mere presence of a cell phone may be distracting implications for attention and task performance. Social Psychology, 45(6), 479–488.

Wood, W., & Neal, D. T. (2007). A New Look at Habits and the Habit-Goal Interface. Psychological Review, 114(4), 843–863.

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