Automaticity and the Graduate Student

If you’re not familiar with the concept of automaticity in the mind, it’s relatively easy to explain. You know how you’ve had those moments where you’ve been driving somewhere and your mind drifts? And suddenly, you’re several miles down the road, but you’ve made numerous lane changes and speed changes? That’s automaticity in a nutshell. We learn methods of doing things and get to the point of doing them intuitively without thinking about how to do them.

You can, of course, go back to doing things with thinking, but it actually takes work. Imagine that while you’re driving so automatically, in the previous example, that a car near you merges into your lane almost running you off the road. Very likely for at least a few minutes, you’ll be very focused on every single aspect of your driving.

So, given that I’m currently doing work in graduate school, and I spend a lot of time in the library databases, it’s not surprising when I go just to check the library’s hours to see if they’re open tomorrow and at what times, I ended up all of the way into PsycInfo, wondering what I needed to type into the search bar.

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