Re: poly: Why Oldies Stations?

From: Perry E. Metzger <>
Date: Fri Apr 03 1998 - 10:55:59 PST

Robin Hanson writes:
> >> 3) People invest in integrating this stuff into their lives, and so
> >> choices get entrenched. ... one's clothing
> >> wardrobe may be coordinated with one's makeup style.
> >
> >4) People have trouble changing their habits, and once they get used
> >to one set of foods or a particular style or what have you, they have
> >trouble breaking the habit.
> >
> >The distinction between 3 and 4 is that I don't think its a question
> >of needing to invest in changing (trying a new food is a fairly low
> >effort activity) as it is a question of simply being too habituated to
> >change.
> I'm not sure there is a distinction here. Ask yourself: what does
> "habituated" mean,

I brush my teeth before I shave in the morning, out of habit. There is
no real function to doing so before shaving vs. after shaving,
however. None the less, I would have difficulty shifting the order --
not because it would cause any real disruption in my life, but because
I'm too "used" to the other way around. I may continue to do this so
long as I have teeth to brush and a beard to shave.

This is not an "investment". This is a stereotyped behavior of the
type that animals (and we are animals) are good at forming and not
good at changing. It is, in short, a habit -- a "learned

Sometimes these serve purposes, as when one learns the habit of
looking both ways before crossing the street -- one may then avoid
having to think about the behavior, thus risking making a mistake and
not looking both ways (and getting killed). Sometimes, however, the
mechanism just kicks in for no reason, as with my tooth
brushing/shaving order.

3) implied that it was an investment in behaviors that at least once
served a purpose. One thing I am noting is that some habits may not
have a purpose, but may just be habits. The habit forming mechanism
has a purpose, but not all habits do.

> and what function does it serve? Are there any other functions
> other than to avoid costs of changing and of making decisions?
Received on Fri Apr 3 18:58:34 1998

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