Intrinsic Rewards, Fruit/vegetable Consumption, and Habit Strength: a Three-wave Study Testing the Associative-Cybernetic Model
A.U. Wiedemann1, B. Gardner2, N. Knoll1, S. Burkert3
1Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2University College London, London, UK
3Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Habit formation is thought to lead to long-term maintenance of fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC). Habits develop through context-dependent repetition, but additional variables such as intrinsic reward of behaviour may influence habit strength. Drawing upon the Associative-Cybernetic Model, this study tested pathways by which intrinsic reward may influence FVC habit strength. In a threewave study of FVC in the general population (N = 127 adults), intrinsic reward, intention, and self-efficacy were assessed at baseline, FVC and intrinsic reward 2 weeks later, and habit strength another 2 weeks later. Direct, indirect, and moderation effects of intrinsic reward on habit were tested simultaneously in a moderated mediation model. Intrinsic reward had positive indirect effects on habit through its influence on FVC frequency. Further, the relationship between FVC and habit was stronger where consumption was considered more intrinsically rewarding. Findings highlight the potential relevance of intrinsic reward to habit. Intrinsic rewards from behaviour may not only facilitate habit via behaviour frequency, but also reinforce the behavioural repetition and habit strength relationship.