Ipsos Encyclopedia - Habit

In the COM-B framework, habits fall under 'Motivation' as an automatic processes.

Definition

In the COM-B framework, habits fall under 'Motivation' as an automatic processes. Although habits are not listed as a separate source of behaviour, we provide a detailed definition here. While often used as a synonym for frequent or customary behaviour, within psychology, ‘habits’ are defined as actions that are triggered automatically in response to contextual cues that have been associated with their performance e.g. putting on a seatbelt (action) after getting into the car (contextual cue). Popular discussions of habit often suggest that all habits involve a cue, action and reward. While rewards can be helpful in initiating habitual behaviours they are not required to maintain established habits and can disrupt established habits if they interrupt automatic performance of a behaviour. A key aspect of habits is that because they are automatic, they override intentional behaviour. This means that as a habit becomes stronger, it becomes harder to perform a different action, even if you intend to do so. Habits are therefore likely to persist over time; because they are automatic and so do not rely on conscious thought, memory or willpower.

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