Breaking habits with implementation intentions: A test of underlying processes

Marieke A. Adriaanse, Peter Gollwitzer, Denise T D de Ridder, John B F de Wit, Floor M. Kroese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Implementation intentions specifying the replacement of a habitual response with an alternative response in a critical situation can overrule habits. In three experiments the cognitive effects of such counterhabitual implementation intentions were investigated. Results showed that implementation intentions eliminated the cognitive advantage of the habitual means in the "horse race" with the alternative response. That is, in the control condition, the habitual means was more accessible than the alternative means on encountering the critical situation, but this was no longer the case when implementation intentions were formulated. However, the cognitive advantage of the habitual means was not immediately replaced by an automatic activation of the alternative means. This suggests that formulating counterhabitual implementation intentions increases individuals' flexibility to choose which behavior to perform in the critical situation but that actual behavior will depart from their habits only to the extent that individuals have strong alternative goal intentions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-513
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

Fingerprint

Habits
Horses

Keywords

  • Accessibility
  • Associations
  • Breaking habits
  • Critical situation
  • Implementation intentions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Breaking habits with implementation intentions : A test of underlying processes. / Adriaanse, Marieke A.; Gollwitzer, Peter; de Ridder, Denise T D; de Wit, John B F; Kroese, Floor M.

In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 37, No. 4, 04.2011, p. 502-513.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Adriaanse, Marieke A. ; Gollwitzer, Peter ; de Ridder, Denise T D ; de Wit, John B F ; Kroese, Floor M. / Breaking habits with implementation intentions : A test of underlying processes. In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2011 ; Vol. 37, No. 4. pp. 502-513.
@article{236f1fa4a72a47c69e33c605cef2debe,
title = "Breaking habits with implementation intentions: A test of underlying processes",
abstract = "Implementation intentions specifying the replacement of a habitual response with an alternative response in a critical situation can overrule habits. In three experiments the cognitive effects of such counterhabitual implementation intentions were investigated. Results showed that implementation intentions eliminated the cognitive advantage of the habitual means in the {"}horse race{"} with the alternative response. That is, in the control condition, the habitual means was more accessible than the alternative means on encountering the critical situation, but this was no longer the case when implementation intentions were formulated. However, the cognitive advantage of the habitual means was not immediately replaced by an automatic activation of the alternative means. This suggests that formulating counterhabitual implementation intentions increases individuals' flexibility to choose which behavior to perform in the critical situation but that actual behavior will depart from their habits only to the extent that individuals have strong alternative goal intentions.",
keywords = "Accessibility, Associations, Breaking habits, Critical situation, Implementation intentions",
author = "Adriaanse, {Marieke A.} and Peter Gollwitzer and {de Ridder}, {Denise T D} and {de Wit}, {John B F} and Kroese, {Floor M.}",
year = "2011",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1177/0146167211399102",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "37",
pages = "502--513",
journal = "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin",
issn = "0146-1672",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Breaking habits with implementation intentions

T2 - A test of underlying processes

AU - Adriaanse, Marieke A.

AU - Gollwitzer, Peter

AU - de Ridder, Denise T D

AU - de Wit, John B F

AU - Kroese, Floor M.

PY - 2011/4

Y1 - 2011/4

N2 - Implementation intentions specifying the replacement of a habitual response with an alternative response in a critical situation can overrule habits. In three experiments the cognitive effects of such counterhabitual implementation intentions were investigated. Results showed that implementation intentions eliminated the cognitive advantage of the habitual means in the "horse race" with the alternative response. That is, in the control condition, the habitual means was more accessible than the alternative means on encountering the critical situation, but this was no longer the case when implementation intentions were formulated. However, the cognitive advantage of the habitual means was not immediately replaced by an automatic activation of the alternative means. This suggests that formulating counterhabitual implementation intentions increases individuals' flexibility to choose which behavior to perform in the critical situation but that actual behavior will depart from their habits only to the extent that individuals have strong alternative goal intentions.

AB - Implementation intentions specifying the replacement of a habitual response with an alternative response in a critical situation can overrule habits. In three experiments the cognitive effects of such counterhabitual implementation intentions were investigated. Results showed that implementation intentions eliminated the cognitive advantage of the habitual means in the "horse race" with the alternative response. That is, in the control condition, the habitual means was more accessible than the alternative means on encountering the critical situation, but this was no longer the case when implementation intentions were formulated. However, the cognitive advantage of the habitual means was not immediately replaced by an automatic activation of the alternative means. This suggests that formulating counterhabitual implementation intentions increases individuals' flexibility to choose which behavior to perform in the critical situation but that actual behavior will depart from their habits only to the extent that individuals have strong alternative goal intentions.

KW - Accessibility

KW - Associations

KW - Breaking habits

KW - Critical situation

KW - Implementation intentions

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=79953699354&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=79953699354&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0146167211399102

DO - 10.1177/0146167211399102

M3 - Article

VL - 37

SP - 502

EP - 513

JO - Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

JF - Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

SN - 0146-1672

IS - 4

ER -