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1. Psychol a learned behavioural response that has become associated with a particular situation, esp one frequently repeated
2. Botany Zoology the method of growth, type of existence, behaviour, or general appearance of a plant or animal
3. Crystallog short for crystal habit
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an established mode of behavior whose performance by an individual in a certain situation becomes a need. Habits arise from the repeated practice of an action. In contrast to such practice, however, the decisive moment in the formation of a habit is not so much the mastering of an ability or a mode of action as it is the development of a new, functional need to practice this ability under certain conditions. An example is the alleged need to wash one’s hands before eating.

Habits are usually involuntary and for the most part unconscious. They may be the result of upbringing, but they often arise spontaneously. They may be restricted to certain situations, such as the habit of turning off a light when leaving a room, or they may characterize an individual’s overall behavior; examples are the habit of walking rapidly or of speaking softly. Habits develop in all types of activity and embrace all aspects of life. In terms of both social behavioral norms and personality formation, some habits are valuable, leading to the formation of positive character traits. Others are harmful and may develop into undesirable proclivities. Certain habits, particularly those relating to morals, may become permanent character traits.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A repetitious behavior pattern.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

habit, habit of growth

The distinctive appearance and pattern of growth of a plant.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
1 Choose a behaviour you want to convert into a habit, such as going to a yoga class after work twice a week.
If you are having trouble changing your habits, the problem is not you.
If you already have something you do regularly say, go to school or work, then that is supposed to make it easier for other habits to stick, particularly if you use the previous, older habit as a cue for the next, newer one.
"Much of what we do is driven by habits, yet how habits are learned and formed is still somewhat mysterious.
Replace the routine with something better and healthier and you're on your way to building habits that will help you achieve your New Year's resolution to become the better you.
After an MBA and a few attempts to launch online businesses, including an iPhone app and a small business marketing site, Clear started writing about habits and behaviour change six years ago, fuelled by reading, interviews with researchers, and his own experience recovering from a life-threatening sports injury in high school.
Therefore, this study helps not only in revealing effectiveness of intellective strategies in building productive study habits of students but also proves to be significant in highlighting the contribution of various teaching styles.
It comes down to breaking desired actions into small, bite-size behavior changes, tweaking your environment, and trying things like "habit stacking" and "temptation bundling," Clear says.
The most common feelings associated before committing the habits mentioned in the questionnaire were irritability, frustration or anger (n=84, 15.3%), followed by emptiness or boredom (n=83, 15.1%) and sadness (n=69, 12.6%).
Clearly, developing new habits depends on a wide set of variables with no simple, single answer.
Habits are hard to break and new habits are difficult to form.
Gardner and his colleagues discuss a few outside studies to support their concept for forming healthy habits. One study they discuss reported a steady increase in self-reported habit strength for an average of 66 days after participants chose a healthy habit in response to a once-daily time cue.