Bridging the Intention-Behavior Gap (aka Akrasia)

by [anonymous]1 min read1st Aug 20173 comments


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Your link doesn't lead anywhere. :-)

I guess there is a gap between the OP's intention and his/her behaviour? Intended to link to something but actually just self-links?

Short summary: In the psychological literature, the "intention-behavior" gap is used to refer to instances where people want to do something...but don't get it done. (EX: People who know exercise is good for them but don't do it.) It also roughly parallels our LW formalization of akrasia.

I bumped into this paper when looking for additional research for Habits 101. I think it does a very good job of summarizing interventions to combat this at different stages in just a few pages (~9). Goal monitoring and implementation intentions (aka TAPs by CFAR) are mentioned.

There's also this very good graphic showing the different things you might want to try, depending on where you are in relation to your goal. Plus, the authors do reasonable things like acknowledge that ego depletion is on shaky ground when they mention willpower as a potential factor.

Here's another pretty sensibly cynical quote:

However, few people monitor their household energy consumption (Webb, Benn, & Chang, 2014), check their bank balances regularly, or keep track of what they are eating ( for a review, see Webb, Chang, & Benn, 2013). This motivated avoidance of progress monitoring is termed “The Ostrich Problem” and appears to be rooted in people’s desire to maintain favorable views of themselves and their standing with respect to the goal (Webb et al., 2013).

I really, really like this paper.