On 11th July 2018, Sanne de Wit from the University of Amsterdam will give a talk in the Social Psychology & Motivation research colloquium. It takes place at 1.30 pm in D 436.
The development of habits has been studied experimentally by animal researchers by devaluing an outcome following instrumental training, and testing whether subjects immediately adjust their behaviour. After relatively short training, rats are able to flexibly adjust their performance, but this ability to act in a goal-directed manner is compromised after extensive training. If we can translate this experimental approach to human psychology this has the advantage of offering an objective measure of the habitual status of behaviour, as opposed to having to rely on self-report. Therefore, in a series of experiments, we attempted to translate this paradigm, both within the lab using computerized tasks, and more recently outside the lab using highly controlled protocols. I will discuss promises and pitfalls of this approach.