Habitual, outcome-insensitive behaviours have been found to be prioritized over goal-directed, outcome-sensitive behaviours in various psychological disorders with persistent, dysfunctional behaviours, such as drug addiction, autism spectrum disorder, and OCD, as well as under stressful conditions in healthy humans and animals. A habitual component has also been proposed to be a potentially relevant contributing factor in avoidance, but empirical evidence remains scarce. We investigate the balance between habitual and goal-directed behaviour in cognitive conflicts between avoidance and approach. In doing so, we are aware of recent criticism on methodological approaches in the study of habitual behaviour.
Exemplary and suggested publications:
Pittig, A., Trenor, M., LeBeau, R., & Craske, M. G. (2018). The role of associative fear and avoidance learning in anxiety disorders: Gaps and directions for future research. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 88, 117-140.
Arnaudova, I., Kindt, M., Fanselow, M., & Beckers, T. (2017). Pathways towards the proliferation of avoidance in anxiety and implications for treatment. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 96, 3–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2017.04.004
Moors, A., Boddez, Y., & Houwer, J. de. (2017). The Power of Goal-Directed Processes in the Causation of Emotional and Other Actions. Emotion Review, 9(4), 310–318. https://doi.org/10.1177/1754073916669595
Wirz, L., Bogdanov, M., & Schwabe, L. (2018). Habits under stress: Mechanistic insights across different types of learning. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 20, 9–16. doi.org/10.1016/j.cobeha.2017.08.009