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Habit in Personality and Social Psychology.

ABSTRACT

Habits are largely absent from modern social and personality psychology. This is due to outdated perspectives that placed habits in conflict with goals. In modern theorizing, habits are represented in memory as implicit context-response associations, and they guide responding in conjunction with goals. Habits thus have important implications for our field. Emerging research shows that habits are an important mechanism by which people self-regulate and achieve long-term goals. Also, habits change through specific interventions, such as changes in context cues. I speculate that understanding of habits also holds promise for reducing intergroup discrimination and for understanding lay theories of the causes for action. In short, by recognizing habit, the field gains understanding of a central mechanism by which actions persist in daily life.