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How We Form Habits and Change Existing Ones, University of Southern California Study



8/20/2014 7:56:37 AM

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Much of our daily lives are taken up by habits that we've formed over our lifetime. An important characteristic of a habit is that it's automatic-- we don't always recognize habits in our own behavior. Studies show that about 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations. Habits emerge through associative learning. "We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response," Wendy Wood explains in her session at the American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention.

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