We’re All Creatures of Habit

You probably have a few favorite places you return to time and again.  You probably have about 25 of them.  Most people do.

In a first of its kind study, researchers examined habits of 40,000 people from different countries and different cultures and found a universal tendency of all people to frequent the same 25 places over and over.

“We are definitely creatures of habit in almost everything we do,” says UT at Austin Psychology professor Dr. Arthur Markman.  “If you look at most people, they will pick the same dishes at restaurants when they go to them repeatedly, and they’ll go to the same restaurants repeatedly.”

Compare that to your life.  Whether the office, a grocery store, the cleaners, a friend’s house – we all average about 25 places.  When one gets dropped from this list, which happens frequently, we’ll replace it with another we’ve adopted.

Why?  Dr. Markman says it’s because the brain conserves energy.  “The way it does that is by doing what you’ve done in the past as often as possible.  If it’s easier to remember what to do than to think about what to do then you’re conserving time and energy.”

We are, he insists, entirely creatures of habit.

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