Bas Verplanken

Bas Verplanken
University of Bath | UB · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

128
Publications
237,315
Reads
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15,361
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2006 - present
University of Bath
Position
  • Professor of social psychology; Head of Department
September 1998 - October 2006
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Position
  • Professor
September 1990 - October 1998
Radboud University
Position
  • Assistant/associate professor

Publications

Publications (128)
Article
Understanding human behavior lies at the heart of responses to climate change. Many environmentally relevant behavior patterns are frequent, stable, and persistent. There is an increasing focus on understanding these patterns less in terms of deliberative processes and more in terms of habits and routines embedded in everyday life. Examinations of...
Article
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Qualifications such as "global warming hysteria" and "energy policy schizophrenia" put forward by some climate change skeptics, usually outside the academic arena, may suggest that people who seriously worry about the environment suffer from psychological imbalance. The present study aimed to refute this thesis. While habitual worrying in general i...
Article
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Although worry is in essence an adaptive mental activity, habitual worrying (repetitive and automatic worried thinking) is dysfunctional. Two studies investigated whether mindfulness mitigated adverse consequences of habitual worrying. The beneficial role of mindfulness was hypothesized on the basis of two key features: a focus on the immediate exp...
Article
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In 8 studies, the authors investigated negative self-thinking as a mental habit. Mental content (negative self-thoughts) was distinguished from mental process (negative self-thinking habit). The negative self-thinking habit was assessed with a metacognitive instrument (Habit Index of Negative Thinking; HINT) measuring whether negative self-thoughts...
Article
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Impulsive buying grossly violates the assumptions of homo economicus. A variety of perspectives on impulse buying are presented, which have been put forward in consumer, economic, social, and clinical psychology. These include heuristic information processing, time-inconsistent preferences, personality traits and values, self-identity, emotions, co...
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Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic saw promotion of novel virus transmission-reduction behaviours, and discouragement of familiar transmission-conducive behaviours. Understanding changes in the automatic nature of such behaviours is important, because habitual behaviours may be more easily reactivated in future outbreaks and disrupting old habits ma...
Article
Physical distancing remains an important initiative to curb COVID‐19 and virus transmission more broadly. This exploratory study investigated how physical distancing behaviour changed during the COVID‐19 pandemic and whether it was associated with identity with virus transmission avoidance and physical distancing habit strength. In a longitudinal,...
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When people talk about their values they refer to what is meaningful to them. Although meaning is associated with life satisfaction, previous studies report inconsistent results regarding the association of values and well-being. A cross-sectional study (N = 276) addresses the research question, do values influence experiences of meaning and subjec...
Article
Many climate-relevant behaviours are habitual. Habits are memory-based propensities to respond automatically to specific cues, acquired by repetition of behaviours in stable contexts. Socio-cognitive models are widely used to predict climate-relevant behaviours, but by positing behaviour as intentional, provide a poor account of habitual behaviours...
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Background: Evidence from observational studies suggests an association between anxiety disorders and anorexia nervosa (AN), but causal inference is complicated by the potential for confounding in these studies. We triangulate evidence across a longitudinal study and a Mendelian randomization (MR) study, to evaluate whether there is support for an...
Preprint
Social norms have been shown to be an effective behaviour change mechanism across diverse behaviours, demonstrated from classical studies to more recent behaviour change research. Much of this research has focused on environmentally impactful actions. Social norms are typically utilised for behaviour change in social contexts, which facilitates the...
Article
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Previous research has firmly established that some individuals experience shame more frequently than others. This study employed a cross-sectional design to explore factors that are related to the experience of shame. In this study, 240 participants completed self-reported assessments of parental care and expectations, maternal attitudes toward neg...
Article
This chapter presents the benefits of exercise benefits. Stronger exercise habit is beneficial because it should increase the likelihood of frequent exercise, as is supported by the commonly observed association between self‐reported habit and exercise frequency. Having strongly formed exercise habits makes it less likely that people will seek out...
Article
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Purpose Compulsions surrounding restrictive eating, exercise, and weight monitoring are thought to maintain abnormal eating behaviour in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN). This study aimed to determine if AN psychopathology and trait anxiety explain the presence of restrictive eating, exercise, and weight monitoring compulsions in a mixed samp...
Article
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Seemingly insignificant daily practices, such as sugar usage in tea, can have a great accumulated impact on societal issues, such as obesity. That is why these behaviours are often the target of nudge interventions. However, when these behaviours are performed frequently they may turn into habits that are difficult to change. The aim of the current...
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Two studies investigated associations between habits and identity, in particular what people consider as their “true self.” Habit-identity associations were assessed by within-participant correlations between self-reported habit and associated true self ratings of 80 behaviors. The behaviors were instantiations of 10 basic values. In Study 1, signi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Habits are invisible and difficult to measure. Yet, they are pervasive in everyday life. In this chapter we describe what habits are and what they do, such as effects on information processing, the relationship with intentions, and the “stickiness” of habits. We review methods to measure habit strength and present the Self-Report Habit Index. Final...
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Mindfulness has been proposed as an effective tool for regulating negative emotions and emotional disorders. However, little is known about the relationship between mindfulness and shame. The purpose of the current study was to investigate associations between mindfulness, self-compassion, and shame. One-hundred and fifty-nine participants complete...
Article
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The current study aimed to establish whether anxiety predicts subsequent anorexia nervosa onset and maintenance. A systematic review of longitudinal studies assessing the association between stable anxiety exposures (e.g. trait anxiety/anxiety disorder pathology)and anorexia nervosa development or maintenance was undertaken. Eight studies met inclu...
Article
Objectives: The ability to accept painful feelings is associated with decreased distress and better functioning. We set out to design an instrument that specifically measures acceptance of shame and embarrassment, as this may be important for the social functioning and mood of people with chronic conditions. Methods: An item set was presented to 41...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives To assess bidirectional effects of anxiety and anorexia nervosa (AN) phenotypes. Design Two-sample Mendelian randomization. Setting Genome-wide association study (GWAS) summary statistics from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC), analysis of the UK Biobank sample, and Anxiety Neuro Genetics Study (ANGST) consortium. Participants...
Article
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Self-control is one of the essential components of self-regulation contributing to individual’s success in many areas of behaviour. The present study aimed to investigate the differences in operation of trait self-control and domain-specific self-control (i.e. sexual restraint) as applied to oral sex behaviour and psychological well-being (PWB). 18...
Article
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Background: Several aetiological models of anorexia nervosa (AN) hold non-eating/weight-gain-related anxiety as a factor relevant to the onset and maintenance of the disorder. Longitudinal studies that allow assessment of this hypothesis have been conducted; however, the evidence has not yet been aggregated in a systematic manner. The proposed stu...
Chapter
Considerable progress has been made in clarifying theoretical understanding of habit. Research across diverse sub-disciplines including neuroscience, learning paradigms and social psychology has contributed to an understanding that habits are behaviours elicited by cues, and which may occur independently of goals or current motivational state. Cue...
Chapter
In this chapter, we put forth a theory-based set of criteria for a ‘good’ habit measure, encompassing predictive validity, discriminant validity, convergent validity, and reliability. We apply these criteria to evaluate prevalent measures of habit including past behaviour, frequency in context measures, and the Self-Report Habit Index and its deriv...
Book
This unique reference explores the processes and nuances of human habits through social psychology and behavioral lenses. It provides a robust definition and theoretical framework for habit as well as up-to-date information on habit measurement, addressing such questions as which mechanisms are involved in habitual action and whether people can rep...
Chapter
There are periods where we undergo a significant change, such as transitions from school to work, starting a family, moving house, or retirement. This chapter discusses the idea that these moments of change provide opportunities for more effective behaviour change interventions; people may be more sensitive to helpful information, or simply ‘in the...
Article
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The current study examined the issue of vulnerability in oral sex as perceived by female university students. Five focus group discussions were conducted with an aim to look at different sides of young females’ experiences of fellatio and cunnilingus. The study revealed that vulnerability in oral sex was perceived by females as physical and emotion...
Article
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The US National Institute of Mental Health's Research Domain Criteria (NIMH RDoC) advocates the study of features common to psychiatric conditions. This transdiagnostic approach has recently been adopted into the study of anorexia nervosa (AN), an illness that can be considered compulsive in nature. This has led to the development of an account of...
Article
Behaviours of individuals and households have major and cumulative impacts on the ecology and sustainable development. A generic segmentation model of sustainable behaviour is presented based on three fundamental drivers of behaviour: motivation, opportunity and habit. Four segments of consumers are distinguished: low motivation/low opportunity, hi...
Article
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The aim was to determine the cross-cultural applicability, reliability, construct and convergent validity of the WHOQOL-SRPB in the Chinese community, and to compare the quality of life of contrasting spiritual groups. The WHOQOL-SRPB and Importance measures were administered to community participants (n = 445) in Hong Kong. The spiritual well-bein...
Article
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If in-home displays and other interventions are to successfully influence people's energy consumption, they need to communicate about energy in terms that make sense to users. Here we explore householders' perceptions of energy consumption, using a novel combination of card-sorting and clustering to reveal shared patterns in the way people think ab...
Research
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This study tested the habit discontinuity hypothesis, which states that behaviour change interventions are more effective when delivered in the context of life course changes. The assumption was that when habits are (temporarily) disturbed, people are more sensitive to new information and adopt a mind-set that is conducive to behaviour change. A fi...
Article
Although personality is a key determinant of consumer purchasing decision making, the role of personality traits in impulse buying and variety seeking is not conclusive. This research uses a personality perspective to determine the unique associations among impulse buying tendency (IBT), variety seeking tendency (VST), and the Big Five personality...
Article
Full-text available
This study tested the habit discontinuity hypothesis, which states that behaviour change interventions are more effective when delivered in the context of life course changes. The assumption was that when habits are (temporarily) disturbed, people are more sensitive to new information and adopt a mind-set that is conducive to behaviour change. A fi...
Article
Unhealthy or negative perfectionism has been identified as both a risk and maintaining factor for a range of psychological difficulties. A cross-sectional online study with a predominantly student population (n = 381) investigated cognitive processes suggested to mediate the relationship between unhealthy perfectionism and distress. Hypothesised co...
Article
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The present study aims to explore the relationship between conscientiousness and the consumption of healthy versus unhealthy main meals. Impulsive eating was tested as a mediator in this relationship, as well as direct effects of age on those constructs. A nationwide representative sample of 1,006 Norwegian adults (18-70 years) within a prospective...
Chapter
This study tested the habit discontinuity hypothesis, which states that behaviour change interventions are more effective when delivered in the context of life course changes. The assumption was that when habits are (temporarily) disturbed, people are more sensitive to new information and adopt a mind-set that is conducive to behaviour change. A fi...
Article
Full-text available
Workers at a pro-environmental charity in the United Kingdom were evaluated 19 months before the organization moved its headquarters to another town, and then evaluated again 1 and 4 weeks after the move. Travel habit (behavioral automaticity) weakened immediately after the move, and this was equal for those who changed travel mode during the reloc...
Article
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Background: Physical inactivity and a poor diet predict lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer. Marked declines in physical activity occur during late adolescence, coinciding with the point at which many young people leave school and enter the workforce and begin to take greater control over their...
Article
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Self-categorization theory suggests that inter-group comparisons inform individual behaviour by affecting perceived in-group stereotypes that are internalized by group members. The present paper provides evidence for this chain of effects in the domain of environmental behaviour. In two studies, inter-group comparative context was manipulated. Stud...
Article
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An agency-communion model of narcissism distinguishes between agentic narcissists (individuals satisfying self-motives of grandiosity, esteem, entitlement, and power in agentic domains) and communal narcissists (individuals satisfying the same self-motives in communal domains). Five studies supported the model. In Study 1, participants listed their...
Article
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Nostalgic memories can be pleasant, albeit bittersweet, and have been found beneficial for well-being. This study demonstrated that for individuals who habitually worry, nostalgia may not be such a nourishing experience. Nostalgia was experimentally induced using a visual imagery task and resulted in positive affect. Although this was also the case...
Chapter
A closer analysis of everyday behaviour shows that many things we do during the day qualify as potentially automatic behaviours. This chapter introduces habits as an important predictor of such behaviours. It discusses the theoretical background of habits and outlines how habits influence information processing. The chapter discusses different appr...
Article
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This study proposes that snacking behaviour may be either reflective and deliberate or impulsive, thus following a dual-process account. We hypothesised that chronic individual differences in food related self-control would moderate the relationships between reflective and impulsive processes. The reflective route was represented by an attitude tow...
Article
Moderating effects of involvement and need for cognition in the relationships between beliefs, attitudes and behavioural intentions towards large-scale use of nuclear energy and large-scale use of coal in The Netherlands for the production of electricity were investigated in a survey (n = 2439). Using moderated multiple regression analyses, moderat...
Article
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Habit is often treated as a construct of marginal interest in the literature on attitude–behaviour relations. We argue that this is undeserved, particularly given the current interest in principles of automaticity in social psychology. Basic features of habits, such as goal-directed automaticity, their dependency on situational constancy, and funct...
Article
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Thinking negatively about one's appearance may be a major source of unhappiness. It was investigated whether the habitual quality of negative body image thinking constitutes an additional vulnerability factor, i.e. when such thinking is repetitive and automatic. The cognitive content of negative body image thinking ('what') was distinguished from t...
Chapter
Many behaviors that matter in the domain of behavioral medicine are habitual. This chapter first focuses on the definition and conceptualization of habit. Contrary to the prevalent practice of equating habit with frequency of past behavior, habit is described here by three key features: frequency of occurrence, automaticity, and the fact that habit...
Article
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Objective: Habit might be usefully characterized as a form of automaticity that involves the association of a cue and a response. Three studies examined habitual automaticity in regard to different aspects of the cue-response relationship characteristic of unhealthy and healthy habits. Design, main outcome measures, and results: In each study, h...
Article
In this chapter, the author makes the case both for the ubiquity of habitual behaviors and for their non-conscious nature. The author discusses a meta-analysis suggesting that past behavior is the dominant predictor of frequently performed behaviors, though intention is the dominant predictor of infrequent behaviors. This discussion helps to deline...
Article
This paper investigated the effect of goal and mindset specificity on goal-related behavior in the environmental domain. Two studies demonstrated that goal-related behavior was maximized when participants focused on an abstract goal in combination with a specific mindset, or when they focused on a specific goal in combination with an abstract minds...
Article
Three experiments demonstrated structural properties and dynamic effects of self-construal on the processing and use of values. In Study 1, it was found that self-focus during encoding caused spontaneous cognitive clustering of individualistic versus relational values. Study 2 demonstrated that self-construal affected the implicit weight of a value...
Article
Full-text available
Two studies focused on impulsive purchase experiences. Feelings, considerations and ratings of purchase impulsiveness were measured with respect to a recent purchase by means of interviews immediately after the purchase in the shopping environment (Study 1) and through shopping diaries (Study 2). Feelings and considerations were measured by open-en...
Article
Two studies focused on impulsive purchase experiences. Feelings, considerations and ratings of purchase impulsiveness were measured with respect to a recent purchase by means of interviews immediately after the purchase in the shopping environment (Study 1) and through shopping diaries (Study 2). Feelings and considerations were measured by open-en...
Article
ABSTRACT This study investigates students' need for a web-based cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) intervention program for preventing depression, the mental health status of those who felt a need for such a program, and underlying factors of the intention to use web-based self-help. A conceptual model for explaining intention to use web-based self-h...
Article
Negative body image thinking can be broken down into cognitive content (body dissatisfaction thoughts) and the way such thoughts occur. The present study focused on negative body image thinking as mental habit, i.e., the degree to which such thinking occurs frequently and automatically [Verplanken, Friborg, Wang, Trafimow, & Woolf, 2007]. In a samp...
Article
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The habit discontinuity hypothesis states that when a context change disrupts individuals’ habits, a window opens in which behavior is more likely to be deliberately considered. The self-activation hypothesis states that when values incorporated in the self-concept are activated, these are more likely to guide behavior. Combining these two hypothes...
Article
The limited success of behavioural strategies in injury prevention has been attributed to failure to properly apply behaviour change models to intervention design and the explanation of safety behaviours. However, this paper contends that many health behaviour change interventions do not succeed because they fail to take into account the habitual q...
Article
ObjectivesHabit has been an undervalued concept in the behavioral sciences during the past few decades. One reason may be that habit has been equated with behavioral frequency. This leaves out an important characteristic of habits, i.e., the fact that repeated behavior may acquire a degree of automaticity. The present study aimed to demonstrate tha...
Article
Crises in obesity and changes in the environment illustrate the need to change problematic behaviors and lifestyles in large segments of the population. This article uses social psychological theory and research to understand methods for facilitating lifestyle change. A basic assumption in the social psychological perspective is that the environmen...
Article
Progress in habit theory can be made by distinguishing habit from frequency of occurrence, and using independent measures for these constructs. This proposition was investigated in three studies using a longitudinal, cross-sectional and experimental design on eating, mental habits and word processing, respectively. In Study 1, snacking habit and pa...
Article
The role of ethical motives in consumers' choice of organic food was investigated. A self-administered questionnaire was conducted on a representative sample of 1283 Norwegian adults. The relations between ethical food choice motives, attitudes and intention to consume organic food was studied by estimating a structural equation model. Environmenta...
Article
Two studies demonstrated that identical numerical probabilities of the occurrence of hazards are judged as higher when these involve potential catastrophes compared to noncatastrophic hazards. Fifteen hazards were presented that involve a potential catastrophe and 15 noncatastrophic hazards. Each hazard was given a numerical probability, which was...
Article
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Interventions to change everyday behaviors often attempt to change people’s beliefs and intentions. As the authors explain, these interventions are unlikely to be an effective means to change behaviors that people have repeated into habits. Successful habit change interventions involve disrupting the environmental factors that automatically cue hab...
Article
To study predictors of fruit intake in a sample of 627 adults. Potential predictors of fruit intake were assessed at baseline, and fruit intake was assessed at two-week follow-up with self-administered questionnaires distributed by e-mail. The study was conducted among Dutch adult members of an Internet research panel. A random sample of 627 adults...
Article
The role of habit strength and past behaviour were studied in order to gain a better understanding of seafood consumption behaviour. A sample of Norwegian adults (N=1579) responded to a self-administered questionnaire about seafood consumption habits, past frequency of seafood consumption, and attitude towards and intention to eat seafood. Structur...
Article
Full-text available
Health psychologists have given surprisingly little attention to consumer behavior. This study focuses on the relationship between an impulsive consumer style and unhealthy eating. In a survey, moderate to strong correlations were found between low self-esteem, dispositional negative affect, impulse buying tendency, snacking habit, and eating distu...