Du, Yue; John W. Krakauer and Adrian M. Haith

How do habit and skill relate to one another? We review current frameworks for skills and habits, and suggest a way of relating them through the notion of automaticity. Though various types of habit have been studied, we suggest that “slips-of-action” habits, such as habitually pressing a wrong key on a foreign keyboard, are the kind of habit most relevant to skill. Skilled behaviors rarely become habitual in their entirety, but instead specific component computations become habitual – or, equivalently, automatized – improving performance speed but at the cost of flexibility. We lastly consider the essential role of habits in learning complex skills given limited cognitive resources, and interpret deliberate practice as a process of breaking and restructuring habits to optimize performance.