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Can Brain Science Help Us Break Bad Habits?

Can Brain Science Help Us Break Bad Habits?

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the task of sustaining positive behaviors and quelling negative ones as involving an interplay of decisions and unconscious factors. Our minds... have “multiple separate but interconnected mechanisms ... we are aware only of our decision-making ability... the “introspection illusion”... may be why we overestimate its power...

someone learning a task shows activity in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus... decision-making and executive control. With repetition ... brain activity moves into ... putamen and the basal ganglia... There, a task is turned into a habit...demand less of our mental energy. Whole sequences of actions become linked... “chunking.”...

our actions are habitual forty-three per cent of the time... why public-health initiatives that educate people about healthy choices tend to fail... informing us ... doesn’t work, because so much of our eating, cooking, and shopping is governed by habit...

A few tweaks to our environment may enable us to emulate people who seem more disciplined... covering up the marshmallow... achieve situational control... by finding ways to take will power out of the equation...“friction”... make bad habits more inconvenient...

loops of cue and reward are powerful... identifying the trigger ... five categories...: time, place, emotional state, other people, and the action immediately preceding the habitual one... come up with new rewards as substitutes

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