A Caltech Library Service

Determining the effects of training duration on the behavioral expression of habitual control in humans: a multi-laboratory investigation

Pool, Eva R. and Gera, Rani and Fransen, Aniek and Pérez, Omar D. and Cremer, Anna and Aleksic, Mladena and Tanwisuth, Sandy and Quail, Stephanie and Ceceli, Ahmet O. and Manfredi, Dylan A. and Nave, Gideon and Tricomi, Elizabeth and Balleine, Bernard and Schonberg, Tom and Schwabe, Lars and O'Doherty, John P. (2021) Determining the effects of training duration on the behavioral expression of habitual control in humans: a multi-laboratory investigation. . (Unpublished)

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF (Preregistration) - Other
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


It has been suggested that there are two distinct and parallel mechanisms for controlling instrumental behavior in mammals: goal-directed actions and habits. To gain an understanding of how these two systems interact to control behavior, it is essential to characterize the mechanisms by which the balance between these systems is influenced by experience. Studies in rodents have shown that the amount of training governs the relative expression of these two systems: behavior is goal-directed following moderate training, but the more extensively an instrumental action is trained, the more it becomes habitual. It is less clear whether humans exhibit similar training effects on the expression of goal-directed and habitual behavior, as human studies have reported contradictory findings. To tackle these contradictory findings, we formed a consortium, where four laboratories undertook a pre-registered experimental induction of habits by manipulating the amount of training. There was no statistical evidence for a main effect of the amount of training on the formation and expression of habits. However, exploratory analyses suggest a moderating effect of the affective component of stress on the impact of training over habit expression. Participants who were lower in affective stress appeared to be initially goal-directed, but became habitual with increased training, whereas participants who were high in affective stress were already habitual even after moderate training, thereby manifesting insensitivity to overtraining effects. Our findings highlight the importance of the role of moderating variables such as individual differences in stress and anxiety when studying the experimental induction of habits in humans.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemCode
Pool, Eva R.0000-0001-5929-1007
Gera, Rani0000-0003-1888-4337
Pérez, Omar D.0000-0002-4168-5435
Nave, Gideon0000-0001-6251-5630
Schonberg, Tom0000-0002-4485-816X
Schwabe, Lars0000-0003-4429-4373
O'Doherty, John P.0000-0003-0016-3531
Additional Information:License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International. This work was supported by a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant (1R01DA040011) to J.P.O., by an Early Postdoctoral Mobility fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (P2GEP1162079) to E.R.P. and by a grant from the NHMRC of Australia to BWB (GNT1079561). L.S. received funding from the Landesforschungsförderung Hamburg (FV38). G.N. thanks Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz for ongoing support. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. The authors would like to thank Dr. Ben Meuleman and Dr. Yoann Stussi for their thoughtful advice on statistical analysis. Author asserted no Conflict of Interest. Data and code availability: Data from the study and code for the experimental task and the statistical analysis are available through the GitHub repository:
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)P2GEP1162079
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)GNT1079561
Landesforschungsförderung HamburgFV38
Subject Keywords:Amount of training; Anxiety; Devaluation; Goal-directed; Habits; Stress
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210421-090739193
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Pool, E., Gera, R., Fransen, A., Perez, O. D., Cremer, A., Aleksic, M., … O'Doherty, J. (2021, March 20). Determining the effects of training duration on the behavioral expression of habitual control in humans: a multi-laboratory investigation.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108778
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:21 Apr 2021 21:12
Last Modified:21 Apr 2021 21:12

Repository Staff Only: item control page