Attitudes, habits and behavior change

Bas Verplanken, Sheina Orbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efforts to guide peoples’ behavior towards environmental sustainability, good health, or new products have emphasized informational and attitude change strategies. There is evidence that changing attitudes leads to changes in behavior, yet this approach takes insufficient account of the nature and operation of habits, which form boundary conditions for attitude-directed interventions. Integration of research on attitudes and habits might enable investigators to identify when and how behavior change strategies will be most effective. How might attitudinally driven behavior change be consolidated into lasting habits? How do habits protect the individual against the vicissitudes of attitudes and temptations and promote goal achievement? How might attitudinal approaches to change habits be improved by capitalizing on habit discontinuities and strategic planning? When and how might changing or creating habit architecture shape habits directly? A systematic approach to these questions might help move behavior change efforts from attitude change strategies to habit change strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Psychology
Early online date29 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022


  • Habit Architecture
  • Habit Formation
  • Habit Discontinuity
  • Attitude-Behavior Relation
  • Automatic Processes
  • Self-Regulation


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