Action-Oriented Predictive Processing as a Bellwether for Ecological and Psychological Research in Alcohol Misuse

Hill, K. (Speaker), Michael Pilling (Speaker), David R Foxcroft (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Behaviour change theories aimed at understanding and preventing health-risk behaviours are underpinned by psychological theory. Many of these models view cognitive attributes (e.g. beliefs, attitudes and intentions) as the primary mediator of behaviour, based on the assumption that the brain guides behaviour. However, many of these approaches have been found to be limited. Another conceptual position is that the environment is a key determinant of behaviour and that cognitive processing is secondary to this. Instead of explaining behaviour in terms of brain functioning, a focus is on how behaviour emerges from the direct and unmediated transactions between individuals and their environments. These ideas have been associated with action-oriented predictive processing, which provides a challenging alternative basis for prevention research. This suggests individuals respond automatically to available opportunities for action in their environments, without mediation or conscious awareness. Consequently, when action potentials in a particular environment are inconsistent with prior expectations, individuals might be motivated to change their behaviour. This could lead individuals to form habits, beliefs or expectations from experience. This presentation will focus on the possibility that action-oriented predictive processing and affordances could explain and prevent health risk behaviour, or enable individuals to make better health choices. These ideas will be discussed using findings from a programme of research which explored affordances for alcohol consumption. As a bellwether for ecological and psychological research, these ideas are conceptually and methodologically challenging, but have potentially substantial implications for prevention science and for understanding a range of health risk behaviours.
Period17 Oct 2014
Event titleFifth European Society for Prevention Research (EUSPR) Conference and Members’ Meeting: null
Event typeConference
LocationPalma, Majorca, Spain
Degree of RecognitionInternational