The role of the basal ganglia in habit formation

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Jun;7(6):464-76. doi: 10.1038/nrn1919.


Many organisms, especially humans, are characterized by their capacity for intentional, goal-directed actions. However, similar behaviours often proceed automatically, as habitual responses to antecedent stimuli. How are goal-directed actions transformed into habitual responses? Recent work combining modern behavioural assays and neurobiological analysis of the basal ganglia has begun to yield insights into the neural basis of habit formation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Habits*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological