Francesca Emiliani Giannino Melotti

Are habits only automatic behaviours? A study about common knowledge

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This study aims at analysing the notion of habit in the common knowledge, taking a temporal perspective. It examines descriptions and functions ascribed to this notion both in the past and in the present. For what concerns the past, the study analyzes 112 works (novels, tales, etc.) of classic authors from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. For the present, free-association assignments have been given to a sample of university students. Within social/cognitive psychology, some emerging opinions consider habit as an automatic behaviour, devoid of any affective and emotional implications, particularly for what concerns the Self. The results of the present research show that habit is a multifaceted notion which refers to a complex affective-behavioural organization. This organization is not necessarily unconscious; it is functional to the stability and regularity of daily life and rich with Self implications.


  • Habitus
  • automatic behaviour
  • common knowledge
  • novels
  • students


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