Habit formation viewed as structural change in the behavioral network

Kota Yamada, Koji Toda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Habit formation is a process in which an action becomes involuntary. While goal-directed behavior is driven by its consequences, habits are elicited by a situation rather than its consequences. Existing theories have proposed that actions are controlled by corresponding two distinct systems. Although canonical theories based on such distinctions are starting to be challenged, there are a few theoretical frameworks that implement goal-directed behavior and habits within a single system. Here, we propose a novel theoretical framework by hypothesizing that behavior is a network composed of several responses. With this framework, we have shown that the transition of goal-directed actions to habits is caused by a change in a single network structure. Furthermore, we confirmed that the proposed network model behaves in a manner consistent with the existing experimental results reported in animal behavioral studies. Our results revealed that habit could be formed under the control of a single system rather than two distinct systems. By capturing the behavior as a single network change, this framework provides a new perspective on studying the structure of the behavior for experimental and theoretical research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number303
JournalCommunications biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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