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The goal dependent automaticity of drinking habits

Sheeran, Paschal, Aarts, Henk, Custers, Ruud, Rivis, Amanda, Cooke, Richard and Webb, Thomas L. (2005) The goal dependent automaticity of drinking habits. British Journal of Social Psychology, 44 (1). pp. 47-63. ISSN 0144-6665

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In recent treatments of habitual social behaviour, habits are conceptualised as a form of goal-directed automatic behaviour that are mentally represented as goal-action links. Three experiments tested this conceptualisation in the context of students’ drinking (alcohol consumption) habits. Participants were randomly assigned to conditions where either a goal related to drinking behaviour (socialising) was activated, or an unrelated goal was activated. In addition, participants’ drinking habits were measured. The dependent variable in Experiments 1 and 2 was readiness to drink, operationalised by speed of responding to the action concept “drinking” in a verb verification task. Experiment 3 used uptake of a voucher to measure drinking behaviour. Findings supported the view that when habits are established, simply activating a goal related to the focal behaviour automatically elicits that behaviour. These findings are consistent with a goal-dependent conception of habit. Possibilities for interventions designed to attenuate undesirable habitual behaviours are considered.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2005 The British Psychological Society. This is an author produced version of a paper published in British Journal of Social Psychology. This paper has been peer-reviewed but does not include the final publisher proof-corrections or journal pagination.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Paschal Sheeran
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2005
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2014 15:08
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/014466604X23446
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1348/014466604X23446
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/704

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