Habit, information acquisition, and the process of making travel mode choices

B. Verplanken, H.A.G. Aarts, A.F.M. Knippenberg, van

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Three studies examined the role of habit on information acquisition concerning travel mode choices. On the basis of Triandis' (1980) model of attitude–behaviour relations it was expected that habit strength attenuates the elaborateness of choice processes. The studies focused on different phases in the choice process, namely the appreciation of situational cues and appreciation of choice option information. In line with expectations, it was found that, compared to weak habit participants, those who had a strong habit towards choosing a particular travel mode acquired less information and gave evidence of less elaborate choice strategies. It was attempted to break effects of habit by manipulating either accountability demands or level of attention. Although accountability demands raised the level of information acquisition, no interactions with habit were found. Enhanced attention to the choice process initially did override habit effects in a series of choice trials. However, in spite of this manipulation, chronic habit effects emerged during later trials. The results demonstrate the profound effects that habit may have on the appreciation of information about choice situations and choice options.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-560
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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