The Automaticity of Habitual Behaviours: Inconvenient Questions

  • David TrafimowEmail author


It is widely accepted that habits are automatic. In turn, automaticity often has been taken as implying (a) a lack of use of resources, (b) inevitability, and (c) a lack of intentions. All three characteristics of automaticity create conceptual difficulties, at least in the context of habits. Inconvenient questions arise from a careful consideration of each of the implied characteristics habits are said to have, based on an acceptance of the basic premise that habits are automatic. Also of importance, there are underappreciated limitations of research that ostensibly supports the automaticity of habits. These pertain to dissociations, the measurement of behavioural intentions, a dependence on null hypothesis significance testing to draw conclusions, and the lack of validity of mediation analyses for testing real mediation.


Habit Automaticity Intentions Efficiency Inevitability 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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