behavior approach

Behavioral and Social-Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits


Analyze one of your habits. How did you develop this habit? Were there role models for this habit? Which people influenced the adoption of this habit?

Why do you continue it? Has there been a time when you have attempted to break this habit?

Use the behavioral personality theory to explain why you have this habit.

Describe components of social-cognitive theory that explain why the habit formed.

Develop a plan that applies operant conditioning to change this habit.

Between the behavioral and social-cognitive theories, which one do you find best explains your personality?



Bad Habit- smoking

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Analyze smoking habit

One bad habit that I had since I was 11 years old was smoking. I remembered I started smoking at a young age in school because all of my friends were doing it. I also watched my mother smoke as well. Peer pressure is what got me started and then a couple years later I became addicted. I would smoke when I was bored or stressed out over school work or my parents fighting. I would steel my mothers cigarettes from her. The role models I had for this habit where family and friends, they were doing it so I thought it was okay to do it as well. My friends at school were my biggest influence in adopting this habit.

This behavior approach was influenced by my environment and social life.


Continue the habit, attempted to break the habit

I continued to smoke until I turned 21, I would try off and on to stop smoking but I just couldn’t kick this habit. I smoked because it relaxed me,. It helped me feel better when I was stressed and it also helped me eat less when I was bored.

Time to quit this habit.

Continue the habit, attempted to break the habit- continued

When I was 21 I found out I was pregnant and this is what helped me quit. I did not want to smoke with a baby in my womb so I finally kicked my smoking habit. I believed I used positive reinforcement to quit because I knew I would have a healthier baby.

I did not feel I was greater then my addiction but I did feel that my baby was greater then my addiction so I quit.


Behavioral personality theory

According to “Personality Psychology Study Guide” (n.d.),  “Behavioral theories suggest that personality is a result of interaction between the individual and the environment. Behavioral theorists study observable and measurable behaviors, rejecting theories that take internal thoughts and feelings into account.”

The reason I had this habit was because I watched others do it and I thought it was cool if they were doing. I learned by watching others, and modeling what they did mostly because I wanted to fit in.


A lot of personalityds or behaviors come from environmental or social factors. We do as we see.



I smoked for 11 years almost and I was able to quit because I got pregnant. I did not want my baby to suffer in the womb because of me smoking so I believe if I hadn’t got pregnant I would still be smoking because it was something I enjoyed.


Wood, W., & Neal, D. T. (2007). A new look at habits and the habit-goal interface.Psychologicalreview,114(4), 843.

Personality Psychology Study Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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