Category Archives: Brain

How do habits work and what is controlling our behavior?

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HabitsIn my research habits play a large part in managing distraction. When we are distracted, we fall back on our habits, and if they aren’t well developed ones, we increase our exposure to a mishap. Let me reiterate this VERY important concept – our habits are important, because when we get distracted, we most likely will revert to our habits. We know we will be distracted by something during the course of a task, which further builds on the importance for having good habits. One way to build a good habit is by repetition – doing something the same way over and over until it becomes naturalized, which if you’ve been reading other posts of mine is the highest order of the Skill taxonomy in the Psycho-motor learning realm (Bloom’s Taxonomy.)

Check out a different blogger’s post on Duhigg’s book regarding creating habits through repetition here.

Let’s learn about Habits

From “The Power of Habit

Every habit has three parts:

  1. Cue – a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode
  2. Routine – physical, mental, or emotional
  3. Reward – determines if this loop is worth remembering for the future

The cue and reward become intertwined until a powerful sense of anticipation and craving emerges, and eventually, a habit is born.

Duhigg also speaks about a particluar framework to understand and control habits better:

  • Identify the routine
  • Experiment with rewards
  • Isolate the cue
  • Have a plan

Other thoughts on why humans act the way we do

I have an HU-minded friend who keeps reminding me how awesome Simon Senek’s bodies of work are and open and available on YouTube, including this video called, “Why Leaders Eat Last.”

Sinek explains the chemicals that control our brain in positive and noticeable ways, and the power they have over us and our behavior. He’s right – Sinek is phenomenal in his instruction and application – it will open your eyes to chemical processes happening within you:

Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin (as well as Cortisol) all play important parts in controlling our behavior. This video explains how they affect us, and how they control our behavior and habits.

Looking for lessons on Human Behavior?

Watch all of these amazing Simon Sinek Videos (if you’re in a position with people working for you, consider taking notes):

Why Leaders Eat Last

Love your Work

First Why and Then Trust

Start with Why