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Behavioral and Social Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits Essay

The behavioral and social-cognitive approaches to forming habits are different in many ways. Social cognition is the idea that people use their knowledge of what others do in order to decide how they should act. This means that if you see your friend doing something, you might think that it may be a good idea for you too. On the other hand, behavioral theories argue that people form habits because these behaviors are reinforced by positive rewards. They also argue that negative reinforcement can cause people to form habits as well if they experience pain when not performing them. These two schools of thought have led researchers to come up with some practical solutions on how we can help ourselves form better habits more easily!

Essay 1


Personalities are formed and developed based on both biological and environmental factors. These elements, along with humanistic ones, are quite important in the formation and development of particular personality characteristics in a person.

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People try to imitate a specific prominent figure in society and seek to embody the individual’s unique personality, which helped them achieve their goals. Maslow’s theories to esoteric cognitive approaches have all been discussed in many ways that aim at establishing this subject for the sake of easier comprehension.

When one copies a behavior that has not been biologically acquired, it may be rather tough to break away, just like with other genetic tendencies. It is critical for this individual to regulate the humanistic elements that influence habit formation. Habit modification might be required, particularly if it has a bad impact on the person’s lifestyle. It is critical for an individual to evaluate their habits and determine where they belong: either in cognitive or behavioral theoretical worldviews.

Analysis of One of My Habits

I began smoking cigarettes when I was in the sixth grade because I resided with my uncle, who was a heavy smoker. My uncle was a successful businessman in the transportation sector and had numerous friends who were smokers, which is why I picked up this habit. He ran several trucks that he hired out for transporting petroleum products.

My uncle was a huge drinker, so I often went with him to one of the pubs where he met up with his pals for fun and relaxation. One of his buddies offered me $200 if I finished a full packet of cigarettes, which my uncle could not refuse. With great enthusiasm, I accepted the offer and ate the entire packet within an hour. I was given 200 dollars as a reward, which was a sum that I had never possessed before. I began smoking to avoid having difficulties when I was subsequently confronted with comparable opportunities. As a result of this, my uncle, his friends and the availability of cigarettes all influenced my smoking behavior.

I’ve tried my best to break this bad habit but have yet to succeed. Last year, I attempted going to a rehabilitation facility, but after two weeks I quit. It’s a bummer that everyone of my pals smokes, yet they continue to control my choices. All of my friends smoke marijuana, and it’s very difficult for me to quit while still maintaining ties with them.

The behavioral personality approach tries to explain how a person can acquire a particular habit through intermittent reinforcement. Because I smoked the whole packet after receiving a big reward, I began smoking. My friends told me they were playing lottery games in which someone would get a certain amount of money after completing numerous cigarettes. The arrangement comprised cards, with the winner receiving a whole pack of cigarettes and then receiving a specific sum of money after winning the game.

According to the social cognitive theory, one can learn the consequences of a particular habit from another person (Tetreault, 2010: 2). External and internal factors play a significant role in determining how a habit develops; that is why we have field dependent people and field independent people (Friedman & Schustack, 2009: 223). Any external influences on their decisions will be disregarded by field independent individuals.

External factors have a stronger influence on those with a Contrasting dialectical behavior approach. External variables have the potential to sway us, as we are inclined to learn from the mistakes of others. I should be able to assess the impact of cigarette addiction on others and quit this habit by learning from other people’s errors. This habit grew as a result of being rewarded for smoking a whole packet of cigarettes. The adverse effects, however, were far more dangerous than I had imagined.

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Using a technique that uses operant conditioning to combat this behavior of smoking is a good strategy. A reward or punishment system might be quite useful in attaining this aim. As a result, restricting the reinforcement may be an appealing option in comparison to resolving it (Friedman & Schustack, 2009:200).

Controlling the reinforcements that keep someone hooked on such behaviors as smoking will help to control their behavioral habits, which serves as an inhibiting influence for this habit. For me, cutting down my time spent with my pals at the joints will act as an inhibiting factor and prevent me from smoking. Because I grew up smoking and acquired it through partial reinforcements, I am inclined to the behavioral approach.


Behavioral theory is said to be important in the formation of habits. As a result of this, a particular habit might be formed as a result of fractional reinforcement. Conditioning and extinction are other elements that contribute to the growth and development of specific habits. It’s worth noting that maintaining control over these behaviors is critical since certain variables may contribute to the development of a negative habit, which can harm an individual.

These habits may also induce various health concerns. Addictions are one of the results of these behaviors. Although addiction treatment centers can help you overcome your habit, it might take a long time and be rather difficult. As a result, it is more effective to prevent particular behaviors rather than attempting to deal with the issues that arise in rehabilitation programs. It’s also crucial to understand cognitive and behavioral theoretical aspects of a certain habit-forming in someone since this knowledge can help them address the problem sensibly.

Essay 2


The social cognitive theory offers dynamic or reciprocating views of human behaviors, in which the personal variables, conduct, and environment are all interacting. Self-efficacy is one of the key elements in explaining the psychological dynamics behind behavior change. Self-efficacy is confidence in one’s ability to take action with the goal of influencing behavior. People’s decisions and activities are determined by their expectations regarding self-efficacy.

Expectations also define the amount of effort required to participate in a particular activity as well as persistence standards. According to several theories, the degree of self-efficacy is dependent on the participant’s level of engagement for any specific task.

A person’s view of his or her performance or success is that it is solely determined by personal ability, the complexity of a project, and so on. Self-esteem, personal control skills, and behavior are all connected to one’s performance.

Social/Cognitive Theory

The social/cognitive theory is a more abstract way of interpreting an individual’s emotional understanding and personal conduct in order to detect changes in personal behavior. Second, the hypothesis serves as proof for studying new behavioral modifications, particularly in the health industry.

The overall objective of the social/cognitive hypothesis is to offer an explanation for how people acquire and retain their distinct cognitive behavioural patterns. These behavioral modifications are influenced by a variety of factors, including personality, behavior, and the environment.

The environment is a person’s natural habitat, and it has an impact on their actions. The environment may be defined as a social setting such as a family made of relatives or friends who are the most powerful influences. The physical look of things, such as the size of the houses, the temperature of the food, and so on, are included in the term “environment.” Both physical and social elements form the basis for an individual’s power to determine behavior development.

According to Friedman and Schustack (2006), the living situation and environment provide a person’s behavioural pattern. The environment is viewed as both a social/cognitive as well as a mental perspective, which might impact conduct. Behaviours are thus affected by influences on each other owing to the fact that they are influenced by one another. When it comes to maintaining communication within my family, I am quite capable.

Thus, through imitation of the parents and grandparents’ behavioural patterns, this habit is passed down from generation to generation. The parents and grandparents are critical influences in molding our habits, and observing them provides me with useful tips on how to improve my performance techniques and the significance of a habit such as good communication. The acquired concept encodes coded information that may be utilized in future situations.

Latent actions are influenced by simulated behavioural characteristics, especially when the habit is acquired early. According to the social cognitive theory, the inner forces or eternal stimuli do not command the habit. Cognitive, behavioral, and environmental events collaborate to present the impression that it is critical to communicate frequently with family members so as to keep track of their status and activities, particularly for those who have children.

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Formation of habit using the social/cognitive approach

The concept of temperaments is a good basis for the design of health-related behavioral programs, since it explains how to gain and maintain particular behavioral outlines, particularly regarding personality formation. It’s also a source for intervention strategy creation.

Humans have a self-recognition system that enables them to measure their control of their thoughts, actions, or feelings. The personality structure includes the capacity to symbolize, learn from others, develop a strategy for addressing difficulties, and utilize methods for regulating personal behaviors.

Social cognitive theory is also crucial in developing referential mechanisms for identifying, evaluating, and normalizing behavior. This implies that external sources influence the self-conceptualization system, resulting in an interaction between the two. As a result of this self-evaluation system, people can regulate functions and provide themselves with the capacity to change or control the environment that influences their actions or decisions.

Components of social/cognitive theory

The social cognitive theory, created in the 1960s by Professor Albert Bundara, is a surveillance system for how human beings utilize observation techniques to study other people’s behaviors while learning. The elements make up the main plan for developing a habit (John el at, 2008).

The learning process is therefore the first element of the theory. According to (Friedman and Schustack, 2006), people learn vicariously by watching other people’s activities and behaviors.

For example, I try to comprehend the experiences of my parents and grandparents, who have had various successful partnerships or have been able to solve a variety of tough circumstances. Observing others’ success in undergoing change might aid you achieve your objectives. It’s also a transformational contributing factor to understand that the partner’s or friend’s inputs are important. The cognitive technique is the second element.

The social cognitive theory also requires an understanding of mental involvements to appreciate the value of successfully executing the behavior that one learns. The cognitive approach aids in the development of personal beliefs about reality and problem-solving methods in response to the surroundings. Interaction with others who have similar life experiences helps people to realize existence.

Third, the components of self-efficacy imply that individuals need to have a personal sense of confidence and desire to participate in activities or experiences inspired by role models (Friedman and Schustack, 2006). Engagement with the urge for behavioral change is required. It’s critical to have a self-regulatory mechanism in place.

When one is able to learn behaviors from others, a self-guideline system aids in the continuous practice of the conduct, especially as individuals strive to overcome external constraints. Self-regulation is all about how one deals with limitations or obstacles to behavioural learning. Finally, it’s critical to grasp the issues surrounding social cognitive theory. The theory may be used to improve behavioral techniques for reversing negative actions that produce bad or undesirable consequences.

Formation of habit using the behavioural approach

The agents of socialization are the primary instruments for enhancing personal engagement and maintaining the open communication practice. The agents of socialization, according to behavioral personality theory (Laurent, 2008), are aspects that influence behavior and the desire to maintain one’s public image, such as through experience.

The family is a critical agent with the most influence on an individual’s behavior. According to Laurent (2008), “most people simply rely on their parents, who are the primary caregivers for fundamental necessities from infancy onwards…”

They then mimic their actions and behaviors in order to establish their own, which are subsequently strengthened through self-concepts. The environment provides new and unique data, as well as a system of rules and experiences that push performance, yet antiquated habits are firmly entrenched in one’s behavior according to the behavioral hypothesis. According to the behavioral hypothesis, my personality is defined by having a self-conceptualization of obtaining stated goals.


Personal attribution of a situation or activities determines personal sentiments, which in turn influence how much effort people put forth to accomplish them. Attributing failure to low personal ability or task complexity, for example, makes matters worse.

On the other hand, based effects on performance outside variables such as luck encourage one to continue seeking for success, therefore several factors influence behavioral patterns. Attitude is a straightforward influence on action. The act of behaving is determined by one’s desire as a personal element that is very specific and reliant on direct experience.

Essay 3

A habit is a learned behavior pattern that develops through frequent repetition and physiological exposure and manifests itself in regularity or improved performance. A behavioral pattern created by frequent repetition or physiologic presence that shows up in shape or increased ability of accomplishment.

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People’s personalities are frequently linked to the way they act as a result of their childhood and environment. Behaviorists such as B. F. Skinner hold that personality development is caused by learning experiences. The environment has the most influence on our personality during these formative years, according to behavioral theorists like B. F. Skinner . Positive or negative reinforcement reinforces this effect.

Many behavioral reaction patterns are caused by outdated conditioning. When a person receives positive reinforcement for a behavior (reward), they become dependent on that behavior. A person will continue to execute an action because of the reward at the end of the action. An Actor is given a Grammy for outstanding performance.

That star will try to repeat this action in the next film he/she appears in. On the other hand, negative reinforcement (punishment) will elicit a reaction in the form of not doing it again. If you put your finger into an electric socket and get shocked, you won’t do it again. John B. Watson was important in developing behavioral learning theory. Watson believed in the experimental approach, and if psychology were to be considered a science, only measurable behavior should be accepted as valid (Friedman & Schustack, 2009).

He looked for observable actions that may be trained and controlled by the therapist. Watson employed animals rather than human subjects during his research. He thought he could get the same results with animals that others obtained using humans. Behaviorism distinguishes between two types of conditioning: classical behaviorist psychotherapy recognizes two sorts of conditioning, one being operant conditioning.

Repeated experience of an unconditioned stimulus that elicits an unconditioned response, as well as a neutral stimulus, is called standard conditioning. The same reaction can be produced by the conditioned neutral stimulus. B. F. Skinner developed the more extreme technique of Operant conditioning (also known as behaviorism).

The concept of operant conditioning was first coined by B.F. Skinner in the early 20th century and is based on his philosophy that each behavior has an opposite (Burger, 2010). Operant conditioning occurs when a behavior is followed by reinforcement or punishment (Burger, 2010). Behaviorism, Basic Concepts of Conditioning, Social Learning Theory, and Social-Cognitive Theory are four major types of behavioral and social learning theories.

Social-emotional learning is “behavioral,” which refers to attitude changes, language acquisition, psychotherapy, student-teacher interaction, problem solving, gender roles, and job satisfaction. “Thoughts,” “morals,” “expectancies,” and “individual insights” are all aspects of social learning (Burger 2010).

According to Albert Bandura’s Social-Cognitive theory, children learn from observation through thinking and symbolic learning. Behaviorism believes that individuals are conditioned or trained to respond in a certain way by rewards and punishments. According to Bandura, people may learn simply by watching others if there is a method for them to do so without having to study everything by means of monotonous trial-and-error (Krapp, 2005).

People learn by watching others, with the environment, behavior, and cognition all playing a role in determining growth. These three aspects are not static or self-sufficient; instead, they are interconnected.

According to social learning theory, modeling has an informative impact on learners’ development. We retain a portion of the modeled behavior after observing it, which subsequently serves as a template for future actions. This form of learning includes four elements: attention, retention, motor, and motivational processes that may help us understand why people copy socially desirable behavior (Krapp, 2005). Habits are formed from childhood through adulthood. During this period, individuals form good and bad behaviors, as well as social influences, based on previous experiences.

In today’s culture, our undesirable behaviors are more obvious than our commendable ones. We’re constantly trying to persuade someone from doing something we wouldn’t do or say, yet we have no idea why they act the way they do. Some families establish long-term traditions that may be handed down from generation to generation. These early life habits are difficult to break and take a long time to rewire. Some of them become a part of your routine.

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